The fashion for bands playing “complete album” live shows presents a double edged sword. On the negative side, this robs fans of the excitement and mystery of what the night’s setlist might bring. On the plus side, such a practice means that long neglected gems are given a live airing. In the case of Blue Öyster Cult’s ‘45th Anniversary: Live In London’ the latter definitely applies. Not only is their debut record is a stone cold classic, but it features several tunes that aren’t necessarily regular fixtures in their live sets, which lends this recording an instant vitality.
They’ve been fired and they’ve got lost…and now they’re bored. Finding themselves in this situation having been worn down by the corruption of US politics and months of isolation during a global pandemic, The Radio Buzzkills have filled some time recording an EP of covers. It may be a stopgap until live performances resume, but it’s anything but tossed off. In fact, the five tunes draw from a wonderfully broad musical palate, which the Buzzkills remould into high energy slabs of pop-punk that you’ll definitely love if you’ve had any time at all for their previous work.
After Guided By Voices reunited in 2012, the band went into recording overdrive. Robert Pollard’s abilities to be prolific were always known – at any one time, he could be working on a variety of projects – but few would have suspected the band would release three albums of brand new material in a little over ten months. Their comeback disc ‘Let’s Go Eat The Factory’ was a return to many of the ramshackle lo-fi experiments that filled the much-loved ‘Alien Lanes’ and while it sounded great upon release, time has allowed a little rust to set in. Some of the moments that sounded like welcome imperfections now sound like generic GBV filler rather than lo-fi quirks. Thanks to a few amazing tunes – and a really catchy single in ‘Doughnut For A Snowman’ – it’s worth a spin once in a while, but looking at the much bigger picture, it ranks somewhere in the mid table of the band’s vast output.
Upon release in the summer of 2018, the first Glenn Hughes official bootleg box gained a mixed response. Some fans were delighted to have access to several hours’ worth of rare and unreleased live material at a bargain price, while others bemoaned the audio quality. Yes, five of its seven discs were sourced from audience recordings – and in a couple of cases, Hughes sounded as if he were miles away in a very large venue – but it’s hardly like the record company made secret of any audio roughness: the word “bootleg” should have set alarm bells ringing for the kind of audiophiles who consistently expect perfection. The first official bootleg box was rough in places, but for the more obsessive fan (or perhaps those who came to Glenn’s work late) it was a great collection filler. If nothing else, it was worth owning for a handful of spirited performances from a Brazilian show, a disc’s worth of near pristine acoustic tracks and a very welcome reissue of ‘Burning Japan Live’. A second set released in 2019 was similarly of a scattershot quality, but was worth having for a 1996 show promoting the heavy ‘Addiction’ album.
Back in the 90s, Canadian hard rockers Sven Gali released two very enjoyable albums. 1992’s ‘Sven Gali’ cast the band in a similar mould to ‘Slave To The Grind’ era Skid Row on a set of songs with big riffs and bigger choruses, while 1995’s ‘In Wire’ took a heavier direction and – like so many hard rock acts during that era – found the band swimming against the musical tide, despite their best efforts to stay vital. Much like Vince Neil’s ‘Carved In Stone’ released at a similar time, ‘In Wire’ mightn’t have been exactly what fans wanted upon release, but as the years have passed, it has sounded better and better.