Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Paris - Before They Were Poisoned (1984)

Country: USA
Year: 1984
Line-up: Brett Michaels (vocals), Matt Smith (guitars), Bobby Dall (bass), Rikki Rockett (drums).

Track Listing:
1. Looks That Kill 04:34  
2. We Belong to the Night 04:21  
3. Lipstick Killer 02:59  
4. Lightning Strikes    04:19  
5. Let's Get Crazy 03:07  
6. Sweet Girl 05:09  
7. Hot Shot 04:00  
8. DOA 04:47  
9. Top Dogs 04:42  
10.  Strutter 02:50  
11.  Jack You Know 03:42  
12.  Get It On    03:42  
13.  You Got Another Thing Coming   04:46  
14.  Night School 03:38
15.  Rock Rock Tonight 05:21
16.  Shout at the Devil 03:22

Fletchanator's comment: As promised, here is the third and final of the poll winners. This is the band Poison when they were still known as Paris and playing covers in small clubs throughout Pennsylvania. These particular live recordings are from a show at a club in Old Forge, PA on January 15, 1984. They feature original guitarist Matt Smith, who would be replaced by CC Deville soon after their move to California and prior to the release of their first album in 1986.
As live bootleg recordings go these are pretty good quality. On them Paris play covers by a variety of bands, including Motley Crue, UFO, Van Halen, Judas Priest and KISS. They also play their first "single", Hot Shot. It's surprising how much they sound like the megastar band they would become, minus of course CC Deville's shredding (Smith is a good guitarist in his own right though).
Definitely a must-have for Poison fans and for any fans of glam hard rock who are curious about what one of the biggest bands of the 80s originally sounded like.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

2nd Heat - Shreddervision (1994)

Country: Germany
Year: 1994
Line-up: Marcel Robbers (vocals), Kai Braue (guitars), Mathias Gollink (bass), Frank Alper (drums).

Track Listing:
1. Homeless Children 02:41  
2. See the Sun 05:09  
3. Words I Say 04:52  
4. Fuel to the Fire 04:06  
5. The Rain 05:30  
6. Electric Dick 05:22  
7. Shreddervision 04:50  
8. Swallow My Load 04:29  
9. Soul Survivor 05:58  
10.  Stripper! 04:33  
11.  You Smell like Mother 02:51  
12.  F..cked Up Slut Groove    03:06  
13.  Eighty Proof Alert 04:14  
14.  Cyan Eyes 04:47

Fletchanator's comment: With the word "shredder" in the album name, it's quite obvious this is going to be a bit harder than your average hard rock. And it is, bordering on melodic heavy metal with bursts of power metal-esque guitar riffs, while remaining entrenched in hard rock due to the lyrics and vocal harmonies. Despite some ridiculous song titles (Electric Dick? Stripper? F*cked Up Slut Groove?) the songwriting is actually pretty solid.
Information on this band is fairly sparse, but as far as I can tell this was their only album, and the band seems to have faded into obscurity (although they do have a MySpace page with some demos and unreleased songs).
If you like metal-edged hard rock with guitar shredding, ala Steeler or Cacophony, this will right up your alley.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Steelheart - Tangled in Reins (1992)

Country: USA
Year: 1992
Line-up: Mike Matijevic (vocals), Chris Risola (lead guitar), Frank DiCostanzo (rhythm guitar), James Ward (bass), John Fowler (drums).

Track Listing:
1.  Loaded Mutha  
2.  Sticky Side Up  
3.  Electric Love Child  
4.  Late for the Party  
5.  All Your Love  
6.  Love 'em and I'm Gone  
7.  Take Me Back Home  
8.  Steelheart  
9.  Mama Don't You Cry  
10.  Dancin' in the Fire  

Fletchanator's comment: Thank you to everyone who voted in the poll about which album I should upload next. The winner was a three-way tie - the first I'm uploading is this, the second album from Steelheart. No surprises that this got so much love, as their debut album is currently the most-downloaded file on this blog.
There seems to be a lot of debate as to whether this album is better than the debut or not. In my opinion it's not, but that's not a knock against this one. It's slightly rockier with less ballads, but is also missing the "hits" of the debut. But it's still a fantastic album. I mean, it's Steelheart! Mike Matijevic has undoubtedly THE most powerful voice in melodic hard rock!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Agentz - Stick to your Guns (1987)

Country: USA
Year: 1987
Line-up: Patrick Dubs (vocals), Jason Sabo (guitars), Jose Ferro (bass), John Cappadona (drums), Tommy Tindall (keyboards).

Track Listing:
1.  Stick To Your Guns  
2.  Don't Tread On Me  
3.  Time Will Tell  
4.  Take A Chance On Love  
5.  Bite The Bullet  
6.  Fire In My Heart  
7.  When The Axe Falls  
8.  Waiting In Vain  

Fletchanator's comment: Agentz were a New York-based hard rock band that existed between 1984 and 1988 and released just this one album, albeit on a French label, Dream Records. Singer Dubs had been the original rhythm guitarist for prog rockers Savatage, but didn't last long with them (and left long before they recorded any material). Despite playing in support of bands like KIX and Cinderella in the US, a year after the album's release Agentz had disintegrated and went their seperate ways.
There is a hard rocking, almost melodic heavy metal core to Agentz' sound, with some pomp added to it courtesy of the keyboards. The songwriting isn't anything special and Dubs' voice takes some getting used to, but if you can look past that most of the tunes are good and there's some nice guitar solos in the mix.

Rox Diamond - Rox Diamond (1992)

Country: USA
Year: 1992
Line-up: Paul Daniels (vocals, keyboards), Kevin Bach (guitars), Ricky Falco (bass), Dwain Miller (drums).

Track Listing:
1.  Heart of Mine  3:29
2.  Nothin' I Won't Do  4:03
3.  Familiar Strangers  4:44
4.  Never Too Late  3:47
5.  Forever Yours  4:07
6.  Get the Lead Out of My Heart  3:39
7.  You're Not the Only One  4:50
8.  Lovin' You  3:42
9.  One Way Street  5:00
10.  Face to Face  3:35
11.  You'll Get What's Coming  3:27

Fletchanator's comment: LA-based Rox Diamond were originally known as Casanova (with a different drummer), but changed the name because of an existing band with the same name in Germany. After asking their original drummer to leave due to performance issues, they added ex-Keel stickman Dwain Miller and recorded this, their debut album. It was originally released in Japan, then Europe. Like a lot of similar bands, they had the rug pulled out from under them by the arrival of grunge, although this line-up has reunited in recent years and started playing and recording together again.
Despite a name that suggests a sleazy sound, Rox Diamond play AOR-ish melodic hard rock. You can definitely hear the influence of bands like Journey and Kansas, but the best comparison I could make is that they sound like Winger if Paul Stanley of KISS took over as singer. It's definitely good stuff, with catchy keyboard riffs, lots of vocal harmonies and some solid guitar work.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Faster Pussycat - Live and Rare (1990)

Country: USA
Year: 1990
Line-up: Taime Downe (vocals), Brent Muscat (guitars), Greg Steele (guitars), Eric Stacy (bass), Mark Michals (drums).

Track Listing:
1.  Bathroom Wall remix  
2.  Poison Ivy edit  
3.  Pulling Weeds live  
4.  Slip Of The Tongue live  
5.  Babylon live  
6.  House Of Pain edit  

Fletchanator's comment: An EP of live tracks and remixes of songs from the first two albums, this doesn't offer anything groundbreaking, but is a good listen for any fan of Faster Pussycat. If you've never heard the band I would suggest checking out the first three studio albums (Faster Pussycat, Wake Me When It's Over, Whipped) before this. You can find the debut album on this blog. But if you've heard their sleazy glam hard rock before and want more, this is worth grabbing.

Faster Pussycat - Belted, Buckled and Booted (1992)

Country: USA
Year: 1992
Line-up: Taime Downe (vocals), Brent Muscat (guitars), Greg Steele (guitars), Eric Stacy (bass), Brett Bradshaw (drums).

Track Listing:
1.  Nonstop To Nowhere  
2.  Too Tight  
3.  Charge Me Up  
4.  You're So Vain  

Fletchanator's comment: A four-track EP released just prior to the band's third studio album, Whipped. It shares the track Nonstop to Nowhere with that album, but is worth having for the remaining three tracks - two outtakes from the Whipped recording sessions and a catchy cover of Carly Simon's You're So Vain.
I don't need to go into details about the sound - it's classic Faster Pussycat. If you like this band (and you should) you'll dig it.


Monday, March 14, 2016

Shout out: Glam 'N Cheese

Hey guys, if you're looking for a great radio station/podcast that plays the kind of music that we feature here at House of Hairspray, you should check out Glam 'N Cheese. It's from here in my native New Zealand and the guys feature a lot of kickass hard rock and glam metal. I'm not affiliated with this show in any way, I just enjoy listening to it.

You can find all the past shows archived at: http://www.glamncheese.com/ and they're also on Facebook.

Check it out!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Black Rose (UK) - Walk It How You Talk It (1987)

Country: UK
Year: 1987
Line-up: Steve Bardsley (vocals, guitars), Pat O'Neill (guitars), Gary Todd (guitars, keyboards), Mick Thompson (bass), Barry Youll (drums)

Track Listing:
1.  Shout It Out  
2.  E.Z.L.Y.  
3.  Honestly Love You  
4.  Don't Fall In Love  
5.  Party Animal  
6.  Want Your Love  
7.  California U.S.A.  
8.  Walk It How You Talk It  
9.  Bright Lights Burnin'  

Fletchanator's comment: There are two hard rock bands called Black Rose - one from Denmark and this UK outfit. This band started out with the name Ice in the late 70s, before changing their name. They were NWOBHM early on, including on their debut album (not available on CD). But by the time their second album rolled around in 1987, they had softened their sound to be more melodic, incorporating keyboards and radio-friendly hooks. Even singer Steve Bardsley had changed his singing style, softening the gravelly edge and hitting more high notes.
This album is extremely hard to find on CD - it sells on eBay for hundreds of dollars. But is it any good? Well, yes it is. I really, really like this album and have played it a lot over the years. It reminds me of a mix between Quiet Riot and High 'N Dry-era Def Leppard - melodic but not overly glammy. It's good stuff - check it out because you're unlikely to ever get hold of the CD!


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Pretty Boy Floyd (CAN) - Bullets & Lipstik (1989)

Country: Canada
Year: 1989
Line-up: Tommy Floyd (vocals), Pete Parker (guitars), Steve Bratz (bass), Sandy Hazard (drums)

Track Listing:
1.  Welcome to the Show   
2.  Four for the Road  
3.  Somewhere (over that rainbow)  
4.  Proud to be Loud  
5.  Raggedy Ann  
6.  Moonshine Daze  
7.  This Gun's for Hire  
8.  Another I.O.U  
9.  Down on the Floor  
10.  Bullets and Lipstik  

Fletchanator's comment: Not to be confused with the more well-known American band of the same name, this Pretty Boy Floyd was from Vancouver, Canada and only released this one album. As the story goes, a legal battle ensued between this PBF and the LA-based outfit - obviously the American band won and this band changed their name to Tommy Floyd but ultimately didn't reach the levels of fame of their namesakes.
While today they might just be a footnote in hard rock history, this Pretty Boy Floyd are actually really good. They sound a bit like a poor man's Kix, and that's not an insult because I'm one of the biggest fans of Kix going around. Tommy Floyd definitely sounds like Kix frontman Steve Whiteman, and while the guitaring isn't on the same level as Ronnie Younkins and Steve Forsythe, the overall sound is damn good. Turn it up and rock on!


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Physical media collection update #3

I was in the city for a couple of days and found a very short window (about half an hour) in which to hit a record store. I wasn't able to find too much but did pick up six solid albums on vinyl for $NZ5 each (about  $US3.35 each). They all play mint. And the one CD I found in a thrift store for $1.

Photo #1:

3rd Stage Alert - 3rd Stage Alert EP (1984)
- The only release by this California melodic heavy metal band, with Mark Edwards (Lion, Steeler, Riot) on drums. Produced by Yngwie Malmsteen. Just five tracks, solid stuff.

Stealer - Stealer (1982)
- Another release comprising the entirity of the band's output, this one by Canadian melodic rockers Stealer. This one has never even been released on CD, so was happy to snag it. Classic rock bordering on hard rock, similar to Foreigner.

Y&T - Earthshaker (1981)
- Third album by this fantastic American hard rock band. I have the three albums that follow this (Black Tiger, Mean Streak and In Rock We Trust) on vinyl but need to get their later 80s stuff still.

TNT - Intuition (1989)
- The fourth album by these Norwegian powerhouse rockers and the second I now own on vinyl (I also have 1987's Tell No Tales). Definitely one of TNT's best.

Photo #2:

Will and the Kill - Will and the Kill (1988) BLIND BUY
- I had never heard of this band but the cover and name caught my attention. It turns out this is quite good bluesy hard rock with an abundance of acoustic guitars.

Hellfield - Hellfield (1978) BLIND BUY
- Another blind pick up based on the name and the band photo. Canadian classic rock with some great guitaring and the kind of organ/keyboards that was big in the 70s.

Ugly Kid Joe - America's Least Wanted (1992) CD
- The breakout album for this band, on the back of the huge hit Everything About You. Great stuff, and I didn't have this on CD (or any physical media for that matter). As a side note, if you haven't checked out the band's 2015 release, Uglier Than They Used Ta Be, do it, it's awesome!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Enuff Z'Nuff - Strength (1991)

Country: USA
Year: 1991
Line-up: Donnie Vie (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Derek Frigo (lead guitar), Chip Z'Nuff (bass), Vik Foxx (drums)

Track Listing:
1.  Heaven or Hell  
2.  Missing You  
3.  Strength  
4.  In Crowd  
5.  Holly Wood Ya  
6.  The World is a Gutter  
7.  Goodbye  
8.  Long Way to Go  
9.  Mother's Eyes  
10.  Baby Loves You  
11.  Blue Island  
12.  The Way Home/Coming Home  
13.  Something for Free  
14.  Time to Let You Go  

Fletchanator's comment: Enuff Z'Nuff is a band that I feel doesn't get enough love these days. In a time when a lot of glam hard rock bands were following a similar formula, this Illinois quartet brought something new to the table. Their mix of glam, hard rock and psychadelic-era Beatles harmonies was a real breath of fresh air and sounds just as good today as it did back then.
This is Enuff Z'Nuff's second album, and while it doesn't contain the hit singles of the debut, in my opinion it's their best release, extremely strong from start to finish. My favourite tracks are Strength, Baby Loves You, Heaven or Hell, Missing You and Mother's Eyes.
If you don't already have this album, you need it!


Pride of Lions - Pride of Lions (2003)

Country: USA
Year: 2003
Line-up: Toby Hitchcock (vocals), Jim Peterik (guitars, vocals, keyboards), Mike Aquino (guitars), Clem Hayes (bass), Ed Breckenfield (drums), Hilary Jones (drums), Christian Cullen (keyboards)

Track Listing:
1.  It's Criminal  4:55  
2.  Gone  4:36  
3.  Interrupted Melody  4:09  
4.  Sound Of Home  4:30  
5.  Prideland  6:16  
6.  Unbreakable  5:04  
7.  First Time Around The Sun  5:10 
8.  Turn To Me  4:48  
9.  Madness Of Love  6:19  
10.  Love Is On The Rocks  4:27  
11.  Last Safe Place  4:39  
12.  Music And Me  5:20  

Fletchanator's comment: Formed by ex-Survivor guitarist/keyboardist Jim Peterik, Pride of Lions released seven albums between 2003 and 2012, starting with this self-titled debut. With Peterik (who co-wrote most of Survivor's big hits, including Eye of the Tiger) the driving force behind the band, it's natural that this band ends up sounding like his old outfit. Young singer Toby Hitchcock sounds a lot like Bobby Kimball from Toto, and some of the songwriting borders on Chicago material, so this is definitely one for fans of polished, hook-laden 80s-style AOR.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

EZO - E-Z-O (1987)

Country: Japan
Year: 1987
Line-up: Masaki Yamada (vocals), Shoyo Iida (guitars), Taro Takahashi (bass), Hiro Homma (drums).

Track Listing:
1.  House Of 1,000 Pleasures  5:10
2.  Flashback Heart Attack  4:07
3.  Mr. Midnight  4:22
4.  Here It Comes  3:15
5.  I Walk Alone  3:36
6.  Destroyer  4:27
7.  Big Changes  3:52
8.  Kiss of Fire  3:26
9.  Desiree  3:31

Fletchanator's comment: If you've heard any of the 1990s albums put out by Japan's biggest glam rock band, Loudness, then you're already familiar with singer Masaki Yamada. Yamada, Loudness' third singer (1992-2000), started in this band, another Japanese hard rock group that tried to make it big in America. Originally called Flatbacker, after releasing three albums in Japan, they changed their name to EZO under the direction of producer Gene Simmons (he of KISS and giant tongue fame) and released this album in 1987 and another in 1989 for Geffen Records before being dropped by the label and splitting up.
In terms of sound, it's hard not to compare EZO with Loudness, but on some of the harder, faster songs I also hear similarities with another Japanese band, X (or X-Japan as they were known internationally). Singer Yamada reminds me of Klaus Meine from Scorpions. And then the Simmons influence is also felt, with the production (and some of the songs) sounding like 80s-era KISS. So yeah, take KISS, Loudness, X-Japan and Scorpions, mix them all together and you get EZO.
Get it while you can, because the CD goes for ridiculous money on eBay.


China - China (1988)

Country: Switzerland
Year: 1988
Line-up: Math Shiverow (vocals), Freddy Laurence (guitars), Claudio Matteo (guitars), Mark Lynn (bass), John Dommen (drums).

Track Listing:
1.  Intro  0:59
2.  Shout it Out  4:11
3.  Back to You  3:42
4.  The Fight is On  4:19
5.  Wild Jealousy  4:26
6.  Rock City  3:08
7.  Hot Lovin' Night  4:44
8.  Living on the Stage  4:11
9.  I Need Your Love  4:15
10.  Staying Alive  3:22
11.  One Shot to the Heart  3:26
12.  Don't Look Back  3:29

Fletchanator's comment: Swiss hard rockers China have become a bit of a running joke in the business for their inability to make it stick with any one lead singer, going through four front men in the space of their first four albums. This is their debut and the only appearance of singer Math Shiverow, who was replaced by ex-Crown vocalist Patrick Mason a year later, then American Eric St Michaels (ex-Trouble), then Douglas McCowan, before St Michaels returned a few years ago. Hell, Krokus singer Marc Storace even fronted this band for a few shows between permanent singers in 1992!
Okay, so despite the fact China went through singers like Spinal Tap went through drummers, what do they sound like? They play a brand of music that I can only describe as melodic hard rock that has AOR tendencies, or AOR that has melodic hard rock tendencies. In other words, their music straddles the line between AOR and melodic hard rock. They remind me of Trixter and Danger Danger - lightweight hard rock with lots of gang vocal harmonies and infectious grooves. It's good stuff, check it out!