Redd Kross have always been a band that should have been bigger. Musicians love them. Music critics too. But larger success has always eluded the L.A. power-pop group, despite releasing a pair of great records in the early ’90s. And for a time, it seemed like there might not be any more Redd Kross records. The band’s last album, Show World, was released in 1997 and the band had been pretty quiet, even if its members hadn’t. But alas, all that changed this year when the band released Researching the Blues, a straight ahead rock & roll record, and a return to form for the band, who have always been led by brothers Jeff and Steven McDonald. For the latest edition of Tell Me About That Album, we caught up with the pair to chat about the record, but the conversation turned to lots of other things too, like David Cassidy, Green River and the ghost of Johnny Ramone. Redd Kross play a free show at Chop Suey on Friday.
Of course, Redd Kross were totally amazing at Amoeba last night. What you might not have expected is that they’d play for about an hour! The set was heavy on the supremely catchy and totally ripping new songs (“Downtown,” “Uglier”) which will grow on you like fungus, but dug back to the very oldest and rawest cuts (“Linda Blair,” “St. Lita Ford Blues”) for the old timers who saw the McDonald brothers when they were teenagers. Me? I’m in the middle somewhere, having discovered them on the Neurotica (“Frosted Flake”) tour when they played a free lunchtime show at UCLA.
AllMusic.com writes: “In fact, based on how hooky the songs are, how thrilling the performances are, and how great it all sounds, this may be the band’s best record yet. If only every band that came back from years of inactivity, came back this strong.”
“Among the 10 songs here, not one is anything less than searingly catchy. The hooks are utterly shameless, like early-’70s bubblegum, and that can’t be an accident. These guys know exactly what they’re doing, and we’re lucky that they’ve decided to do it again. So even if it’s utterly and completely out of step with 2012 indie, Researching The Blues arrives right on time”. – StereoGum – album of the week
Official video for “Stay Away From Downtown” by Redd Kross. From the album ‘Researching the Blues’, out August 7, 2012 on Merge Records.
Directed by Jeff McDonald and Dave Markey.
NPR Music writes: “Stuffing 10 songs into 32 minutes, the album just sounds like a big, brash, vital, immaculately produced blast of rock ‘n’ roll. Brothers and core members Steven and Jeff McDonald got their start playing this sort of stuff when they were kids a whopping 34 years ago — they once opened for Black Flag at a party for middle-schoolers — but Redd Kross couldn’t be farther from a dinosaur act in 2012.
Power-pop signposts abound throughout the album, from Cheap Trick to Teenage Fanclub — the latter could’ve fit “Dracula’s Daughter” onto Bandwagonesque and no one would have minded — but Researching the Blues never delves into nostalgia. Who has time, when you’re having this much fun blowing kids half your age out of the water?”
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