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Morella's Forest

Noisepop / Shoegaze
Dayton, Ohio, USA

Morella's Forest was a band from Dayton, Ohio which formed in 1992. They released three albums on Tooth & Nail Records and one with an independent label. Their signature sound is noise pop or space music comparable to Starflyer 59 or The Breeders.

Before signing to Tooth and Nail, Morella's Forest produced two works - a demo called Bass, and an EP entitled Bozur. Their 1995 debut, Superdeluxe, was produced by Steve Hindalong (The Choir) and Chris Colbert (Fluffy). Its sound was characteristic of 1980s style new wave or 1990s shoegazing. Sonically it featured noisy, “dreamy, hypnotic” melodies, and featured Bill Campbell of The Throes as a guest. Morella's Forest appeared on the cover of 7ball magazine in September, 1996. Ultraphonic Hiss and From Dayton With Love were produced by Keith Cleversley. Ultraphonic Hiss features a sound which moves the band slightly away from the noise of their debut. From Dayton With Love features some electronic elements - keyboard and drum machine - and moves their sound to an even more sugary guitar based pop sound, which one reviewer referred to as “space age garage pop.” Some found this sound to be lacking of “solid melodies,” while others found the voice of Sydney Rentz layered over the background lively and fluid.

The band struggled with the Christian music marketplace, finding the struggle between artistic integrity and profitability hard to maintain. After a half-cancelled tour in 1996 the band reported that although they were still “100% about fashion” they would direct their efforts toward the general market and emphasize a radio friendly sound. They told 7ball magazine that the only way to make money was to be like dc Talk or Audio Adrenaline, and as for themselves “We don't want to be some innovative, cool band that's doing something really weird for the Christian market.”

Following their 1998 release drummer Nate McCorkle left to join the Christian rock band Johnny Q. Public. The band went through several drummers and played Cornerstone sporadically, but did not generally tour. In 2002, they produced an album entitled Tiny Lights of Heaven. On this album the writing responsibilities were taken by Shawn Johnson instead of long-standing writer Sydney Rentz. With production help from Jesse Sprinkle their music departs a bit from their signature sound, taking a lighter and more indie pop influenced, radio friendly tone.

Discography

1993 Bozur
1994 Bass Forest Records
1995 Hang Out [ep] Tooth & Nail Records
1995 Superdeluxe Tooth & Nail Records
1996 Ultraphonic Hiss Tooth & Nail Records
1998 From Dayton With Love Tooth & Nail Records
2002 Tiny Lights of Heaven Big Beef Records / Endearing Records

Bozur

1993 Independent

  1. Tranquility
  2. Ethel Stanesbury
  3. Black Mercury
  4. Room

Bass

1994 Forest Records

Sydney Rentz - Singer
Shawn Johnson - Guitar
Sean McCorkle - Bass
Nate McCorkle - Drums

  1. Lush of Spring
  2. Electric Belt
  3. Oceania
  4. Green and Violet Wavecaps
  5. EsQue (version 1)

Hang-Out

1995 Tooth & Nail Records (TND 1039)

Sydney Rentz - Vocals
Shawn Johnson - Guitar
Christopher McCorkle - Bass
Nate McCorkle - Drums

Produced by Chris Colbert and Steve Hindalong
Engineered by Chris Colbert and Bill Campbell

  1. Hang-Out (2:47)
  2. Pasty White (2:06)
  3. Voices Carry (4:22)
  4. Art of Love (3:43)

Super Deluxe

1995 Tooth & Nail Records ‎(TND 1029)

Sydney Rentz - Vocals
Shawn Johnson - Guitar
Christopher McCorkle - Bass
Nate McCorkle - Drums

Produced by Chris Colbert and Steve Hindalong
Engineered by Chris Colbert and Bill Campbell

  1. Hang-Out (2:47)
  2. Lush of Spring (5:03)
  3. Wonder Boy (4:30)
  4. Superstar (2:51)
  5. Oceania (6:17)
  6. Fizzle Kiss (4:40)
  7. Puppy Luv (2:58)
  8. Glowing Green (4:08)
  9. Star Gazer (4:26)
  10. Curl (4:36)

Ultraphonic Hiss

1996 Tooth & Nail Records (TND1063)

Sydney Rentz - Vocals
Shawn Johnson - Guitar
Christopher McCorkle - Bass
Nate McCorkle - Drums

Produced by Keith Cleversley and Morella's Forest

  1. Candy Necklace Kind of Love (2:30)
  2. Glitter (3:27)
  3. Butter Scotch Boy (3:21)
  4. Tangerine Drops (3:38)
  5. Pastel Straws (1:51)
  6. Hula Hoop (2:22)
  7. Big Orange Bubble (2:56)
  8. Lime Velvet Love Seat (2:48)
  9. Silver Syrup (2:07)
  10. 30 Sec. Wheely (2:66)
  11. Gate Called Beautiful (10:49)

From Dayton With Love

1998 Tooth & Nail Records (TND 1109)

Sydney Rentz - Vocals
Shawn Johnson - Guitar, keyboards
Nate McCorkle - Drums

John Schmersal - Electronics

Produced by Keith Cleversley

  1. Water's Overhead (3:29)
  2. Falling (4:03)
  3. Waiting (2:19)
  4. Separate (2:54)
  5. 1:30 Afternoon (2:33)
  6. Bounty Hunter (3:27)
  7. Living on Takeout (3:16)
  8. Instrumental (3:06)
  9. One Glorious Night (2:47)
  10. Kids in America (4:12)
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  33. Untitled (4:39)

Tiny Lights of Heaven

2002 Big Beef Records (BBCD10) / Endearing Records (NDR036)

Sydney Rentz - Vocals
Shawn Johnson - Guitar, keyboards
Joel Votaw - Bass
Jesse Sprinkle - Drums

Nick Kizirnis - Fender steel on tracks 4 and 10
Ed Lacy - Korg on tracks 4 and 6

Produced by Jesse Sprinkle and Shawn Johnson

  1. Running
  2. Shining Stars
  3. Choppy
  4. Lullaby
  5. Love is Blind
  6. Sand and the Sea
  7. Some Other Time
  8. Gentle Go the Hours
  9. Hopeless
  10. Never Let Go
Japanese bonus tracks
  1. Running
  2. Give It Up
  3. Never Let Go (Ti Mo Mix)

Compilation Appearances

Ed. (1994 Dwarf Records)
15) May Sigh

Sweet Family Music - A Tribute to Stryper (1996 Flying Tart Records / Liquid Disc Records)
03) Calling on You (4:14)

Alone In A Room 2 (7-inch) (1998 Devil in the Woods)
03) Power of Air