Monday, August 29, 2016

50SHR #38: April Fool (Pennsylvania)


Band: April Fool
Release: Playin' to Win
Year: 1989
Line-up: Dave Stradling (vocals), George Smith (guitars), Rob Lombardi (bass), Walt Kaye (drums).

Track Listing:
1. Cover Girls
2.  Playin' to Win 
3.  Take Away the Heartache 
4.  Bahama Mama
5.  Help Me Understand 
6.  Next Time Around 
7.  Steppin' Out
8.  Borderline
9.  Sleepless Nights 
10.  Bad Boy Willie
11.  Can't Stop Rockin'
12.  Hey Molly
13.  Chain of Love

Fletchanator's comment: April Fool are yet another example of a good band who gained traction in their home area but never cracked it on the national stage. They came out of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania music scene that also produced Cinderella and Britny Fox - in fact that second band would play a part in the creation and destruction of April Fool.
April Fool was formed out of the ashes of a band called World War 3, which among their members had included both "Dizzy" Dean Davidson and Johnny Dee, who of course would later form Britny Fox. After a number of line-up changes, April Fool recorded a four-track EP in 1988 and began building a strong following in the clubs of the tri-state area. In 1989 they went into the studio to record this, their only full-length album, and things really seemed to be looking good for the band.
This is where Britny Fox comes back into the picture. Later in 1989 Dizzy Dean quit that band and April Fool singer Dave Stradling saw an opportunity to become Britny Fox's new vocalist. He quit April Fool to audition for them, but of course that gig went to Tommy Paris, aka Don Jillson from Jillson. April Fool brought in a new singer but never really regained their momentum and, coupled with the changing music landscape, called it quits in the early 90s.
This is the 2014 reissue of the original cassette-only Playin' to Win with two bonus tracks from the 1988 EP. It's good stuff - glammy hard rock in the vein of Poison and Warrant. If you've never heard this band you need to check them out!

50SHR #37: Black 'n Blue (Oregon)


Band: Black 'n Blue
Release: Without Love
Year: 1985
Line-up: Jaime St James (vocals), Tommy Thayer (guitars), Jef Warner (guitars), Patrick Young (bass), Pete Holmes (drums)

Track Listing:

1. Rockin' on Heaven's Door  
2.  Without Love  
3.  Stop The Lighting  
4.  Nature Of The Beach  
5.  Miss Mystery  
6.  Swing Time  
7.  Bombastic Plastic  
8.  We Got The Fire  
9.  Strange Things  
10.  Two Wrongs (Don't Make It Love)  

Fletchanator's comment: I've already shared the 1984 debut album of Portland, Oregon rockers Black 'n Blue on this blog (find it here), and here now is their second release from a year later. While it doesn't have a "hit" on par with the debut's Hold On To 18, I'd argue that this album is better overall. Their sound went slightly downhill after this (with Tommy Thayer's future KISS bandmate Gene Simmons taking over production), so this is their best album in my opinion.
The sound on Without Love is definitely quite poppy. Lyrics were never Black 'n Blue's strongpoint, but who cares because they're all about partying and having fun. I liken their overall sound on this album to what Trixter did in the early 90s - lightweight catchy melodic hard rock.
Highly recommended if you need a pick-me-up, because you can't help but smile as you listen to this album.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

50SHR #36: Erotic Suicide (Oklahoma)


Band: Erotic Suicide
Release: Abusement Park
Year: 1993
Line-up: Rachal Rose (vocals), Kyle St Clair (guitars), Stephan Lauren (guitars), Leslie Kane Blak (bass), DD Rose (drums).

Track Listing:
1. Babylon  
2.  Can't Remember Goin' Down  
3.  Comes Around Goes Around  
4.  Mean Sex Machine  
5.  You're So Cool  
6.  Ties Me Up  
7.  You Get What You Pay For  
8.  Wait a Minute  
9.  Sweet Summer Nights   

Fletchanator's comment: Erotic Suicide are a prime example of a talented band who came along too late in the piece to get any real success. By 1993, when this debut album came out, the writing was already on the wall for their brand of sleazy glam hard rock. They did release a second album in 1998 and I've heard they were recently working on new material, but Oklahoma City's Erotic Suicide are largely a footnote in hard rock history.
It's a shame because like I said, they are talented. Their sound is straight up Sunset Strip sleaze, mixing the likes of Poison, Faster Pussycat and Motley Crue. It's fast, it's full of attitude and singer Rachal Rose has that sleazy rasp to his voice. Definitely recommended for fans of the aforementioned bands and all other LA sleaze metal.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

50SHR #35: Love Gunn (Ohio)


Band: Love Gunn
Release: Bad Love for Sale
Year: 1987
Line-up: Doug Savage (vocals), Steve Dematteo (lead guitar, keyboards), Dave Maraffa (rhythm guitar), Don Ritterer (bass), Mike Hauger (drums).

Track Listing:
01. Bad Love For Sale
02. Sudden Urge
03. The Bitch is Hot
04. Here's Looking At You
05. Too Late

Fletchanator's comment: From Columbus, Ohio - the hometown of my fiancee Heather - comes glam hard rock band Love Gunn and their rare five-track EP Bad Love for Sale.
Love Gunn's sound mixes the likes of Cinderella, Bon Jovi and early Def Leppard. Singer Doug Savage's voice is raspy and raw, like Def Lep's Joe Elliot mixed with Dizzy Dean from Britny Fox, but won't be to everyone's liking as it misses the mark at times. Interestingly he loses the rasp for the last track, Too Late, which is a ballad.
The members of Love Gunn have stayed active in the Ohio music scene through the years, with Doug Savage playing with the bands Evil X and Pink Velvet Krush and Steve Dematteo with Bone Tonic and The Godz (not the New York band).
This slice of rare small-town hair metal should be a welcome addition to any collection.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

50SHR #34: Hollywood Trix (North Dakota)


Band: Hollywood Trix
Release: Hollywood Trix
Year: 1987
Line-up: Gary Smith (vocals), Nate Woolsey (guitars), Bill Crawford (guitars), Jason Forsberg (bass), Ross Cariveau (drums).

Track Listing:
01 - I Don't Want It
02 - Ain't Messin'
03 - Straight Down The Line
04 - Wicked Ways
05 - Fires Of Love
06 - L.A.U.G.H.S.
07 - Game Of Life
08 - Rock And Roll Let Go
09 - Drunk As A Skunk
10 - Red Rum
11 - Arian Dream

Fletchanator's comment: If the name of this band isn't a clear indication of their sound, once you start playing the album and the sounds of a woman, um, thoroughly enjoying herself, hits the speakers there's no doubt. Despite being from the decidedly un-rock'n'roll town of Grand Forks, North Dakota, Hollywood Trix ooze pure Sunset Strip sleaze.
On this (as far as I know their only album) Hollywood Trix do their best impersonation of the big LA bands of the time - Motley Crue, Ratt, LA Guns, Guns 'N Roses etc. While they don't reach the level of any of those outfits, it's still pretty good stuff, especially if you're a fan of sleazy glam metal and are looking for a new band to listen to.

50SHR #33: Blind Taxi (North Carolina)


Band: Blind Taxi
Release: Blind Taxi
Year: 1987
Line-up: Rod Honeycutt (vocals), Chris Manley (guitars), Larry Tobias (guitars), Chuck Lilly (bass), Brian Hall (keyboards), Bert Voswinkel (drums)

Track Listing:
01. A Thing or Two
02. Stay Tonight
03. The Jokes On You
04. I Still Want You
05. Stranger

Fletchanator's comment: Blind Taxi was originally formed out of high school in Charlotte, North Carolina under the name Detour. By 1987 they'd undergone a number of line-up changes and recorded their only release, this five-track self-released EP, which reportedly was financed by the drummer's father.
Blind Taxi's sound can best be described as AOR or melodic hard rock, mixing keyboards and harmonies with the odd rockin' guitar solo. They don't have the pomp of a lot of 80s AOR acts, preferring a straight-ahead rock approach - more Loverboy than Styx.
There's nothing here that'll blow you away, but it's a solid indy release. The best track is I Still Want You.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

50SHR #32: Hittman (New York)


Band: Hittman
Release: Hittman
Year: 1988
Line-up: Dirk Kennedy (vocals), John Kristen (guitars), Michael Buccell (bass), Chuck Korry (drums)

Track Listing:
1. Metal Sport  4:18
2.  Dead on Arrival  3:33
3.  Will You Be There  4:36
4.  Breakout  5:19
5.  Backstreet Rebels  4:28
6.  Caught in the Crossfire  4:22
7.  Secret Agent Man  3:03
8.  Behind the Lines  4:47
9.  The Test of Time  4:24

Fletchanator's comment: The easy choice for this state would be big name bands like Twisted Sister or Danger Danger, but instead I've chosen an obscure Big Apple band by the name of Hittman, who released two albums - this one and 1993's Viva Machine - before folding in 1994.
Hittman's sound is a mix of hard rock and melodic heavy metal. At their most heavy you can hear influences from traditional heavy metal bands (aka Leatherwolf, Lizzy Borden, Raven etc) and the not-so-heavy stuff is akin to Dokken. Singer Dirk Kennedy has a majestic voice, sounding a lot like Geoff Tate from Queensryche and Midnight from Crimson Glory. The sound isn't as progressive as either of those bands, but if you took Tate or Midnight (R.I.P.) and had them sing for a band made up of Dokken and Raven members you'd have a good comparison with Hittman. Needless to say it's excellent stuff!