The landscape of hard rock music in 1988 looked very different, in comparison, to that of a decade earlier. When Saxon began their recording career in the late 70s, rock and metal were solely the reserves of the readers of Sounds magazine, the devotees of the Radio One Friday Rock Show and festival goers. By the late 80s, it was no longer considered such a niche genre: bands like Europe and Poison had scored chart success on both sides of the Atlantic; Def Leppard‘s ‘Hysteria’ was one of the biggest selling albums of the era and Guns N’ Roses were on their way to becoming a worldwide, stadium filling phenomenon. Whitesnake‘s ‘1987’ was selling by the bucketload to a broad demographic and even Metallica – a band that only a couple of years earlier seemed entirely marginal – were on the cusp of UK singles chart success, and yet Saxon, in terms of commercial success, appeared to be floundering.
Formed by ex-Screeching Weasel guitarist John “Jughead” Pierson in 2002, Even In Blackouts were formed with the idea of bringing a new acoustic twist to pop-punk sounds. Active for seven years, the band featured a line-up centred around Pierson and vocalist Liz Eldridge.
Contributing members included ex-Screeching Weasel/Rise Against drummer Dan Lumley and former Teen Idles guitarist Philip Hill. The band released four full length albums during their life-span, but none of those were ever issued on vinyl.
Glenn Frey’s fans have always had knowledge of his pre-Eagles band with singer-songwriter JD Souther, but for many years, the Longbranch/Pennywhistle album from 1969 was notoriously difficult to find. In May 2018, the album was reissued as part of the Glenn Frey anthology box ‘Above The Clouds’, but it has been almost half a century since the album was last available on a vinyl format.
Washington’s Dot Dash have been releasing independent albums since 2011, but their current release ‘Proto Retro’ is far and away their best yet. They’ve embraced a more commercial style which really should appeal to the power pop crowd.
Despite being primarily thought of as a very male dominated universe, death metal has spawned some fantastic female-fronted acts over the years. Landmine Massacre – particularly during the Grace Perry era – are one of the finest and better known, but there have been a lot of underground acts truly flying the flag. Here’s another: Brazilian all-female melodic death band Sinaya.
The band’s earlier recordings (2013’s ‘Obscure Raids’ EP and 2015’s ‘Blinded By Terror’ single) showed off more than a fair amount of talent but were marred by low budgets and muddy production. Since then, they’ve had a change in line up, supported thrash legends Exodus and have become a much stronger and better band. Their 2018 album ‘Maze of Madness’ is a release that finally does their studio recordings justice, having the kind of budget and production job that allows some great riffs to breathe and not be smothered by a demo quality sound.