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!

50SHR #31: Femme Fatale (New Mexico)


Band: Femme Fatale
Release: Femme Fatale
Year: 1988
Line-up: Lorraine Lewis (vocals), Bill D'Angelo (lead guitar), Mazzi Rawd (guitar, keyboards), Rick Rael (bass), Bobby Murray (drums).

Track Listing:
1. Waiting for the Big One  
2.  Falling in and Out of Love  
3.  My Baby's Gun  
4.  Back in Your Arms Again  
5.  Rebel  
6.  Fortune and Fame  
7.  Touch and Go  
8.  If  
9.  Heat the Fire  
10.  Cradle's Rockin'  

Fletchanator's comment: Female-fronted melodic hard rock outfit Femme Fatale originally formed in Albuquerque, New Mexico before moving to Los Angeles and releasing this, their debut album. A second album was recorded in 1989, but never released, although there has been talking of it being released in the near future.
Sadly guitarist Bill D'Angelo passed away in 2006, reportedly of a drug overdose. Bassist Rael, Lewis' brother, was at last report working for Budweiser back in Albuquerque, while Mazzi Rawd - Lewis' ex-husband - is apparently some kind of doctor under his real name, Cliff Lewis.
Today Femme Fatale is back together in name only, with Lorraine Lewis putting together an all-female line-up which includes Courtney Cox (not the actress) from The Iron Maidens and Athena Lee (sister of Motley Crue's Tommy Lee). This line-up released an album, One More For the Road, earlier this year. As well as performing with Femme Fatale, Lewis also produces a Canadian reality TV show called "Ex-wives of Rock".
Back to their debut album, we get a brand of melodic hard rock with female vocals, akin to Vixen, Chrissy Steele, Lita Ford and the like, while Lewis' voice has a Pat Benatar quality to it. If you like any of the aforementioned artists you'll dig this.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

50SHR #30: Arson (New Jersey)


Band: Arson
Release: Arson
Year: 1988
Line-up: Unknown

Track Listing:
1. EZ Street 04:33 
2. Rock 'N' Roll Dreamin' 04:05  3. Love's a Gamble 04:44 
4. Waitin' On the Light 04:18 
5. Don't Push Your Luck 04:15 
6. Spoiled Rotten 04:51 
7. Pretty Face 05:27 
8. Fight for Rock 04:10

Fletchanator's comment: In collecting rare music I often come across obscure releases that, upon hearing them, I can see why they are obscure. Other times I hear an unsigned band and wonder why the hell they didn't ever make it big. Arson is definitely in the latter camp. They're so obscure I couldn't find out the name of the band members. They were never signed to a major record company, releasing this cassette on a tiny indy label.
With the kind of success fellow New Jersey-ites Bon Jovi were enjoying in the mid-to-late 80s, it's a wonder no one signed Arson simply on the fact they were from the same state and played the same kind of music. Not only that, they are damn good! Talk about a major missed opportunity.
A warning - the sound on this recording is extremely crappy. But through the shitty sound shines a band whose music is on par with the likes of Dokken, Bon Jovi and Tesla. The singer's voice reminds me a lot of Paul Rodgers from Bad Company.
I can't recommend this one enough - Arson is one of the true lost gems of the hard rock genre!

50SHR #29: Dio (New Hampshire)


Band: Dio
Release: Sacred Heart
Year: 1985
Line-up: Ronnie James Dio (vocals), Vivian Campbell (guitar), Jimmy Bain (bass), Vinny Appice (drums), Claude Schnell (keyboards)

Track Listing:
1.  King of Rock and Roll  3:49
2.  Sacred Heart  6:27
3.  Another Lie  3:48
4.  Rock 'n' Roll Children  4:32
5.  Hungry for Heaven  4:10
6.  Like the Beat of a Heart  4:24
7.  Just Another Day  3:23
8.  Fallen Angels  3:57
9.  Shoot, Shoot  4:20

Fletchanator's comment: Are you ready for another slight cheat? I couldn't find any hard rock/hair metal bands from the tiny New England state of New Hampshire, but hard rock/heavy metal legend Ronnie James Dio (R.I.P.) was born there, which gave me an excuse to post some Dio in this spot. And who doesn't love a bit of Dio?
Sure, Dio is usually associated more with heavy metal than hair metal/glam rock, but on this, their third album, they were definitely getting very radio friendly and poppy in their sound, while also retaining that harder edge. Two of the big hits - Rock 'n' Roll Children and Hungry for Heaven - sound a lot like Dokken, with future Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell pulling out some great hard rock riffs.
If you don't have this album you need it (along with everything else Dio released).

50SHR #28: Jillson (Nevada)


Band: Jillson
Release: Deadly Girl
Year: 1990
Line-up: Don Jillson (vocals), Terry Ripley (guitars), Dale Borden (bass), Jamie Warren Borden (drums)

Track Listing:
1.  It's Emotion
2.  Deadly Girl
3.  Goodbye
4.  Make Love
5.  Bad Side
6.  All I Can
7.  Again
8.  Take Me
9.  One Thing   
10.  On My Own
11.  Mean What You Say
12.  The End

Fletchanator's comment: Jillson were a four-piece out of Las Vegas who originally released a four-track EP and then this, their only album. It originally came out in 1990 and more recently received a Retrospect Records reissue.
The name of frontman Don Jillson may not mean anything to you, but if you're a diehard hair metal fan you've no doubt heard of Tommy Paris, who replaced Dean Davidson in the band Britny Fox and recorded two studio albums with that band - 1991's Bite Down Hard and 2003's Springhead Motorshark. Why do I mention this? Well, Don Jillson and Tommy Paris are one in the same person.
If you're familiar with Tommy Paris/Don Jillson's singing with Britny Fox (or his solo album, 2009) you know that he has a great voice. Musically Jillson is quite similar to Bite Down Hard-era Britny Fox as well, playing a catchy brand of glammy hard rock. On the ballads Goodbye, Take Me and Mean What You Say they stray into definite AOR territory, ala Chicago or Journey.
It should be noted that this is the original CD release, which doesn't have the three bonus live tracks that Retrospect Records' reissue has.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

50SHR #27: 3D In Your Face (Nebraska)


Band: 3D In Your Face
Release: Midnight Devils
Year: 2013
Line-up: Alan "Hot Rod" King (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Chris "Sniper" Hineline (lead guitar), Sam "Spade" Morris (bass), Jeremy "Playboy" Deans (drums).

Track Listing:
1.Forbidden City 03:40  
2. Generation Durt 03:55  
3. In Your Face 04:03  
4. Midnight Devils 04:02  
5. Always Brings Me Back 05:12  
6. Sleeping in Omaha 03:43  
7. Bleed Betty Bleed 04:21  
8. Underneath the Stairs 04:29  
9. Time We Had Our Fun 03:51  
10.  Radar Guided Love Bomb 04:42  
11.  Squeeze Me Dry 02:52  
12.  I Still Believe in Rock and Roll      06:43  

Fletchanator's comment: From amidst the cornfields of Nebraska comes a band with the colourful name of 3D In Your Face. Formed in 1999 in Omaha, they describe themselves as part covers-band, part originals. Their live show includes a lot of the stock standard 80s crowd-pleasers, but they have also released four albums of original material.
This is their third album and it definitely feels straight out of the late 80s and early 90s. You're not going to get any surprises here, just good, solid glam metal in the vein of Poison, Dokken and Skid Row. Another good comparison would be Steel Panther minus the comedic lyrics/antics. Give it a listen and if you dig what you hear, support the band at

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

50SHR #26: Great White (Montana)


Band: Great White
Release: Hooked
Year: 1991
Line-up: Jack Russell (vocals), Mark Kendall (guitars), Michael Lardie (guitars, keyboards), Tony Montana (bass), Audie Desbrow (drums)

Track Listing:
1.  Call it Rock N'Roll  3:56
2.  The Original Queen of Sheba  4:39
3.  Cold Hearted Lovin'  4:19
4.  Can't Shake it  4:41
5.  Lovin' Kind  4:44
6.  Heartbreaker  6:44
7.  Congo Square  6:57
8.  South Bay Cities  5:24
9.  Desert Moon  4:32
10.  Afterglow  5:49

Fletchanator's comment: So far in this series I've had to do a couple of slight cheats in order to fill slots, but this is the most cheatiest cheat I've done so far. Desperate times call for desperate measures and I couldn't for the life of me find any hard rock/hair metal bands from the sparsely-populated northwest state of Montana. So I present to you Great White, a California band, with a bassist named Tony MONTANA *hangs head in shame*. Besides sharing his last name with the state, he also has the same name as the main character from the movie Scarface.
Even the most casual of rock music fan will be familiar with Great White's big hit Once Bitten Twice Shy. Most will also be aware of the infamy the band gained due to the fatal club fire at one of their shows in 2003. Thankfully they have moved on from that tragedy, albeit in a splintered faction, with singer Jack Russell fronting Jack Russell's Great White (with Montana also in the fold) and Kendall, Lardie and Desbrow playing in... Great White. Can't we all just get along guys?
But let's head back to 1991 for their fifth studio album, when all the boys were still functioning together. Following on the heels of the hugely-successful Twice Shy album (with the aforementioned big hit), Hooked had a lot of expectations riding on it. It didn't reach the heights of its predecessor, lacking a big hit single, but did reach #18 on the Billboard charts and was well-received by fans and critics.
Hooked is a fine album, continuing the polished sound from Twice Shy, while ramping up the bluesy elements. Desert Moon, Original Queen of Sheba and Heartbreaker are the standout tracks in my opinion, while their cover of Small Faces' song Afterglow is another highlight. Highly recommended!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

50SHR #25: Frontrunner (Missouri)


Band: Frontrunner
Release: Up-N-Cummin'
Year: 1994
Line-up: Stephen T Allen (vocals), Steve Paul (guitars), Shaun Andree (bass), Patrick Cunningham (drums)

Track Listing:
1.  Climb N' Scream intro 
2.  Roller Coaster 
3.  Face the Music 
4.  Straddle Dance 
5.  Search Your Heart 
6.  Up-N-Cummin' (In Your Face) 
7.  Get Off Your Rocker 
8.  Fraulein 
9.  What R the Chances? 
10.  Money Talks 
11.  Anything Anytime 
12.  The Devil Went Down to Georgia  Cover: Charlie Daniels
13.  Roller Coaster (Reprise) 

Fletchanator's comment: From the Gateway to the West - St Louis, Missouri - come glam metal four-piece Frontrunner. This is their second album (their debut streeted in 1989) and as far as I know their last.
Music-wise this album reminds me alot of Warrant, with the slight funkiness of Extreme thrown into the mix. Vocalist Stephen T Allen reminds me of a young Jon Bon Jovi, although his voice isn't quite as strong. Notable is the funk-ified cover for The Devil Went Down to Georgia (I still prefer Primus' version).
Solid mid-90s hard rock with plenty of glam and funk, definitely worth checking out.

Monday, August 15, 2016

50SHR #24: Biloxi (Mississippi)


Band: Biloxi
Release: III In The Wake of the Storm
Year: 2007
Line-up: Mark Allen Lanoue (lead vocals, guitars), Clyde Holly (lead vocals on tracks 11 and 13, guitars, keyboards), Dave Melton (bass), Rob Gronkonski (drums), Stephan Prescott (keyboards)

Track Listing:
1.  Here Alone 
2.  World 
3.  Broken 
4.  15 Minutes 
5.  Saints and Angels 
6.  On the Other Side 
7.  Right the Music 
8.  Empty Road To Nowhere 
9.  The River 
10.  I Pray 
11.  Pray For Rain 
12.  Fly Into The Sun 
13.  Synchronicity II 
14.  Mercy (Bonus Track)  

Fletchanator's comment: Technically Biloxi aren't a Mississippi band, despite being named after the state. However, original lead vocalist/guitarist Clyde Holly was a native of the city of Biloxi MS, who moved to LA in the late 80s and formed this band there with musicians from New Jersey, West Virginia and New York.
Holly was the only constant in the band through the years, releasing a second album in 2003. Holly and co were working on this, the third album, in 2006 when sadly the great singer/guitarist passed away in his sleep after a gig. Holly had already recorded the vocals for two tracks - Pray For Rain and the Police cover Synchronicity II - but the rest were yet to be put to tape. So guitarist Mark Allen Lanoue stepped up to the microphone to complete the album.
On their debut album, which you can find here, Biloxi had a big AOR sound like Boston or Night Ranger. Here the sound is less showy, more towards melodic rock with less of the big harmonies. No doubt this is partly because of the absence of Holly (who, as a side note, produced the breakthrough album by fellow Mississippi natives Three Doors Down). Lanoue has a decent voice - nowhere near as good as Clyde, but given the circumstances he does well.
The name of this album actually came from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and was agreed to before Holly died, but given his sudden death and its effect on the band it has a fitting double meaning. The album is a decent sendoff for the band Biloxi (Lanoue is currently in the band Fiction Syxx with Tony Franklin of The Firm/Blue Murder and JK Northrup of King Kobra) and, on tracks 11 and 13 at least, a final chance to listen to the late great Clyde Holly (R.I.P.).

Saturday, August 13, 2016

50SHR #23: Dare Force (Minnesota)



Band: Dare Force
Release: Firepower
Year: 1989
Line-up: Karl Young (vocals), Brian Bart (guitars, keyboards), Johnny O'Neill (guitars), Dean Vallecillo (bass), Paul Peterson (drums).

Track Listing:
1.  Stand Alone  
2.  Firepower  
3.  Cold and Lonely Nights  
4.  Time's Just a Circle  
5.  Hold on Tight  
6.  Middle of the Night  
7.  Walkin' Out the Door  
8.  Give Ya All My Lovin'  
9.  Name of the Game  
10.  Evil Woman  

Fletchanator's comment: Dare Force were an excellent band who came out of the Twin Cities area of Minnesota in the early 80s. They went through a few line-ups, with future Accept/Bangalore Choir vocalist David Reece featuring at one point. By the time they released this, their second album, singer Karl Young had joined and completed one seriously kickass band.
Firepower runs the full gammut of sounds, from melodic metal through to AOR. Most of it is somewhere in the middle, mixing Brian Bart's lightning fast guitar riffs with a smattering of keyboards and outstanding vocal harmonies. Karl Young's voice is eerily reminiscent of Paul Shortino, so if you know Shortino from Rough Cutt and Quiet Riot you know what you're getting - a fantastic voice with a slight rasp and some piercing high notes.
I don't know what happened to the members of this band other than Brian Bart, who is still slinging his axe to this day, having played on two solo albums by ex-Night Ranger singer Kelly Keagy, and Karl Young, who apparently plays covers in Minnesota under the name Mr Whoopee (he has a few videos up on YouTube). Come on guys, how about a reunion?
I love this album and can't recommend it highly enough.

50SHR #22: Klimax (Michigan)



Band: Klimax
Release: From the Hip
Year: 1989
Line-up: Kenny Sweet D (vocals), Jammin' Jimmy McCarley (guitars), Joey D (guitars), Derek (bass), Mitchell G (drums)

Track Listing:
1.  Wild Girls  4:34
2.  Diamonds & Lust  3:26
3.  Pain  4:34
4.  Here Comes the Rain  4:14
5.  From the Hip to the Lip  4:00
6.  In It for Love  4:25
7.  Not Yet  1:27
8.  Twisted in the Mind  2:55

Fletchanator's comment:  I don't have much information on Klimax, other than that they were from Michigan and apparently released just this one album before splitting in 1992. It was an obscure, lost recording until Retrospect Records put it out on CD for the first time in 2006.
Klimax play a style of hard rock reminiscent of bands like Danger Danger, Y&T and Dirty Looks. But while the album is solid from start to finish (From the Hip to the Lip is the standout IMO) there's nothing on here to make it stand out from the pack, a pack that was teeming with similar bands in 1989. Still, it's a nice addition to any hair metal collection and worth giving a spin.

50SHR #21: Grafite (Massachusetts)



Band: Grafite
Release: Grafite
Year: 1994
Line-up: Marco (vocals, rhythm guitar), Busy Pete (lead guitar), Eddie Festa (drums)

Track Listing:
01 - The Evening News.
02 - Change.
03 - No Reason To Cry.
04 - Tearing Me Apart.
05 - So You Think You're Special.
06 - Time.
07 - Whisper.
08 - The Will.
09 - Gigolo.
10 - She's A Pig.
11 - One Thing (acoustic).
12 - One Thing.

Fletchanator's comment: The easy and obvious option when choosing a band from this state would be Extreme, Boston or Aerosmith, but instead here is obscure Boston-area trio Grafite and their self-released 1994 debut album. The story goes that A&M Records signed the band and got them into the studio to record these tracks, but when it was time to release the album the label decided hair metal was dead. After some legal wrangling the band instead put out the album themselves.
This album really does reflect on the time period that it was recorded in, mixing the hair metal sound of the late 80s with more 90s influences. There's a strong funk element in places and a definite attempt at being socially-conscious - the album opens with soundbites of news clips about murders, then goes into the first song called "Changes". By 1994 it wasn't enough to sing about partying anymore, the emergence of grunge had made social commentary and angst the new standard.
Don't worry though because mixed in with the "serious" songs is some good party metal - songs like "So You Think You're Special", "Gigolo", "She's a Pig" and "One Thing". Overall I'd compare their sound with bands like Saigon Kick, Extreme and King's X.