COLUMN: Hidden musical gems

by Darrell Greer- April 6, 2018

Let’s take quick stroll down music lane for this week’s opinion piece, valued readers, and I’d like to start by thanking everyone who has dropped me a line on previous music columns in this space, especially those asking if I can write more in the future.

That is, indeed, sweet music to this old hack’s tune-loving soul.

There has never been a better time to increase your musical library through the purchase of CDs, as downloads have become the domain of the young and tone deaf, and more and more bands are having their back catalogs reissued; many at bargain bin prices.

This week, a look at a couple of hidden gems in the female rock class that, as astute as the Kivalliq is when it comes to music, you may have missed their first time past.

Lillix was a B.C. band that started with all female members in 1997, and they just might be the one that got away for some strange reason.

While the group borrowed heavily from melodic pop, when firing on all cylinders they could rock with Canada’s best of the genre at the time.

If you want proof of their ability to rock, all three of the group’s albums made the Japanese charts. There Falling Uphill (2003) #14 in Japan, Inside the Hollow (2006) #48 in Japan and Tigerlilly, (2010), #283 in Japan, and those folks love their rock and roll.

Should you be so inclined as to check out their musical chops, their albums rate strongest to weakest in the order they were released.

If you want the gals to be a little harder rockin’, the Donnas may be more your cup of tea,

A California-based group, the Donnas released seven albums between 1997 and 2007. They continued to tour until 2012, when they went on “hiatus.”

With their roots in punk, the Donnas hit their stride with a musical attack that combined hard-rock riffs with garage rock intensity at their best, but slipped a bit when reaching too far into melodic rock trying to find mainstream success.

Each of their seven albums has something unique to offer, but, if you feel like checking these gals out, may I suggest 1999’s Get Skintight, 2004’s Gold Medal and 2007’s Bitchin’ as the places to start.

Vixen are another American female band that came oh-so-close to really breaking through in the 1980s, before constant change in their lineup and musical style cost them their fan base.

But when these gals were on, they were really on, and the latest variation of the group plans to release a new album in 2018.

For the best of their studio work, check out 1988’s self-titled debut and 1990’s Rev It UP. But, for the ultimate Vixen experience in front of an appreciative crowd, jump online and order their 2013 release, Live in Sweden (which was actually recorded in 2005), and be impressed by the shredding of lead guitarist Jan Kuehnemund, who sadly passed away from cancer in October of 2013.

While it may not be a “classic” live album, it is a fun-filled rockin’ good musical ride that highlights Kuehnemund’s criminally-underrated guitar playing.

Finally, a tip of the hat to ex-Runaway Lita Ford.

While I can’t imagine too many missed all the fodder from Lisa’s canon completely, if you want a complete encapsulation of what this hard-rocking lass was all about, go out of your way to add her Live and Deadly CD to your collection.

It captures the rocker and her backing band sweating it out in a small club and doing what Lita does best, rocking it for the love of the music.

Well, that’s it for some hidden female rocker gems to check out, Kivalliq music fans.

Hopefully, I’ve pointed you in the direction of something that excites your musical soul!

One Reply to “COLUMN: Hidden musical gems”

    Yes those two Vixen albums of 1988 and 1990 are excellent. As was a lot of the rock music of the 80s. Grunge put an end to a lot of really good rock music.

Leave a Comment: