Posted by: Necci – Aug 09, 2012
Redd Kross started in Los Angeles over 30 years ago, when founding brothers Jeff and Steven McDonald were still in middle school. Jeff was 14 at the time, and Steven was only 10, but nonetheless, they took the early American punk scene by storm with their 1982 full-length debut, Born Innocent. Over the course of the next decade-plus, they evolved into a self-assured and totally rockin' power pop combo, getting signed to a major label in the post-Nirvana feeding frenzy and releasing underrated yet classic LPs like Third Eye (1990) and Phaseshifter (1994). However, after 1997's Show World, they lost their major label contract and dropped out of sight, with no public signtings for over ten years. Towards the end of the last decade, though, the McDonald brothers reformed the lineup that recorded 1987's Neurotica LP--guitarist Robert Hecker and drummer Roy McDonald (no relation)--and started touring again. Now, in 2012, they've brought us their first LP in 15 years. Researching The Blues was released this week on Merge Records, the North Carolina label owned by the members of Superchunk, and it's every bit as good as their classic late 80s/early 90s output. The video they've dropped in conjunction with the album's release is for "Stay Away From Downtown," which is in my opinion the best song the album has to offer and a perfect showcase for the fact that Redd Kross are still an excellent band after all these years. The video is kind of strange, with the band sporting facepaint I initially figured was a KISS homage. Once I saw all the weird, creepy faces they were making during the video, though, I questioned my interpretation, and a friend of mine helpfully pointed out that the facepaint look they're rocking is closer to that of King Diamond. So think of this video as Redd Kross's black metal moment if that helps it make sense to you, but regardless of what you think of the video, be sure to listen to the song, because it's great. Total 2012 summer jam material, if you ask me. Enjoy! And pick up your own copy of Researching The Blues HERE.
By Andrew Necci