Sorry for the delay in updates! I was out of the country for a spell and things around here got a little slow. However, this is a sweet little nugget.

As anyone knows, good bands tend to evolve. Sure, maybe The Ramones didn’t change all that much, but besides them…good bands evolve. Often, this leads to backlash. Music fans like their bands to stay consistent. They like what they like and when a band switches gears too quickly on them, it can be a disaster. I know this first hand from my days playing with Franklin. For every person we met that enjoyed our later records and our more dub inspired approach there were at least two more people saying, “Fuck, you guys suck now! Go back to sounding like a band from DC.”

As a musician, it’s always a fine line between evolving and alienating the very people who wanted to listen to you in the first place. Life sucks, right?

Anyway, Aspera Ad Astra were one of those bands that enjoyed evolving. Each of their records changed in a dramatic way. From a more standard shoegaze approach to the almost mind-fuckery of their Sugar & Feathered album to their electronica inspired Oh, Fantastica record. Hell, they even evolved their name choosing to switch from Aspera Ad Astra to just plain Aspera in their later days.

Aspera had a lot folks that really went along for the ride with them, but there were just as many people who probably asked, “Huh?” I was certainly one of them from time to time, but now, going back to some of those records, I’m amazed at just how far ahead of the curve they were at the time and my confusion was my problem and definitely not theirs.

These recordings are from the Aspera vault. Some of their final demos before they disbanded in the spring of 2004. Of particular interest is “New Song Demo” and “New Song Rehearsal”. It’s fun hearing what an Aspera demo sounded like versus a live performance of the same song. Enjoy!

New Song Demo

New Song Rehearsal

Lop Lop Life

Almost To The End

Instrumental 1


Now, that’s not to say everyone everywhere was playing punk music around Philly in the early to mid 90’s.

Justin Tripp was a fella who hung out with the True High Fidelity boys. They introduced Justin to me and we got along fabulously from the start. Justin was one of those guys that was everywhere all the time and into everything that was happening everywhere. You’d see him at a show, the record store, a party…anywhere and everywhere. In fact, I think we discussed calling him “Everywhere” for a short while but sadly, it never caught on. I think Justin and I really bonded when we worked at a gas station together. He worked the register and I handled the full service pump. I only lived about 2 blocks from the station but Justin lived MILES from the station. But it was no biggie, he was everywhere all the time so it was just another somewhere to be.

Justin and Josh Mills’ younger brother Drew started a band called Glory Front. Justin and Drew were more interested in the shoe gaze bands of the day and had their own ideas about the music they wanted to play almost immediately. The great thing was that, we were all friends. It didn’t matter what kind of music you played…we were all attempting to do the same thing. Make music that seemed to make sense to us.

Justin and Drew teamed up with Karen Usner and Mike Robinson and Glory Front was formed. Of course, they didn’t keep the name for long since everyone kinda thought it sounded like some right-wing fascist band.

They would go on to evolve into Aspera Ad Astra and later, just Aspera. A long running, super rad band that would release some truly awesome music in later years.

Here are two out of three songs that appeared on this demo. Sadly, the last song, a 9 minute long slow burn is just way too big to upload.


Poison Oak