Aug 302012

I’ve always had a negative feeling about Redd Kross—just one of the many California hardcore bands. Sorta the way I feel about The Circle Jerks.

The problem is this: I never really listened to Redd Kross. Maybe it was their name. Or I saw a badly art-directed poster. Chock it up to being a close-minded dick.

Well anyways…I heard a cut from their new album yesterday in the car (on WKDU).  And damn, it was pretty darn good. Super poppy, fun and rockin’—sort of the smart/simple hooky pop/rock I love from Sloan.

And this after like a 7-year hiatus!!! These guys are old!!!

So Redd Kross, I’d like to officially apologize for grouping you into a group without really knowing who you were. My bad.

The whole album is really neat btw. Thanks itunes for your instant gratification. I will be buying more of their earlier stuff now.


  22 Responses to “Critical Upgrade: Redd Kross”

  1. I had to laugh at your admission that you’ve long disliked this band while barely ever hearing them. I’ve been the same way. They’re always positioning themselves with that weird intersection of power pop and ’70s cheese-rock culture: Cheap Trick crossed with KISS. I’ve got my issues with the former, and the latter just stinks. They simply give off a vibe of being the sort of rock nerds who turn me off: guys who are too into a certain thing with nothing of their own to bring to the table.

    All that said, this song is good in all the ways you describe. I’ll have to try some more. Maybe they could be like Sloan for me as well, a band that has never hit the heights of Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” (how many bands have) but that can go the length of an album, as Sloan did for me through Navy Blues, avoiding the stuff that really annoys me about Cheap Trick. Sloan would go on to annoy me in similar ways following that 4th album. I know you, machinery, have hung with them over the years.

  2. 2000 Man

    I didn’t know they were a hardcore band. All I’ve got is Neurotica, mostly because I never see their albums anywhere and I don’t order things unless I have to. But Peach Kelli Pop is a killer song from that album.

    I got the new one when I saw the video for Stay Away From Downtown (was that here a week or two ago?). It’s an excellent album, more consistent that a lot of their stuff I’ve heard. A friend of mine had Third Eye, and that was real good, too.

  3. My grudging Redd Kross conversion moment was hearing their cover of Teenage Fanclub’s “Everything Flows.” For me, nervously hitting play on that song for the first time was sort of like lifting the veil off a painting after having commissioned some stranger on the street to paint a portrait of your daughter. No f’ing way I’m going to like this, I thought. I was wrong. RK pushed the hooks way over the top to a very good place.

  4. That’s a cool version of that song. I like how they keep it raw in a different way. It’s got an exciting crappy sound, along the lines of the first Shoes album.

  5. Never liked how they ripped off Redd Foxx.

  6. ladymisskirroyale

    Or Kriss Kross.

  7. cliff sovinsanity

    I’ve always liked Phaseshifter for it’s consistency. Unfortunately it suffers a little from that early 90’s heavy handed grungerama sound that plagued other bands like The Posies.
    Jimmy’s Fantasy, Lady In The Front Row and Visionary are all winners.

  8. Nice!

  9. ladymisskirroyale

    Redd Kross – one of those bands I’d heard of but stayed away from due to the spelling of their name.

    Recently I heard an interview on NPR with the two McDonald brothers about reforming the group so I did a little digging into their more recent antics. I had heard “Redd Blood Cells” when it came out and liked it a lot: The White Stripes’ “White Blood Cells” but with bass from Redd Kross’s Steve McDonald. Here’s a track:

  10. It’s still hard for me to get past their retroposeur shtick, but what I love about RK’s Everything Flows is they found that Neil Young thang that’s buried in a lot of TF stuff and brought it all the way forward.

  11. True confessions I never heard of Red Kross. I did a search for them on It seems not that many rock fans did either. None of their videos received hits even close to 100,000. I am truly impressed with the rather knowledgeable members here.

  12. patrock

    I have and love just about everything Redd Kross has ever done. You can’t really say they were a “hardcore” band just a snotty punk band who, throughout it’s many incarnations, have a unhealthy fascination with 60’s and 70’s pop culture.

    I’d say if you are more of a pure “power pop” fan, the RK albums to stick with are:

    Third Eye: “Bubblegum Factory” and also “Annies Gone”
    Phaseshifter: “Jimmy’s Fantasy” is quintessential big chorus pop/rock
    Show World: probably the most consistant RK album “Teen Competition” and “Mess Around” are stellar plus they did The Quick’s “Pretty Please Me” and for a B-side they do The Quick’s version of “It Wont Be Long” which is fab.

    This new album is so great and I never thought it would ever come out. If you want to dive into the strange world of Redd Kross then check out Jeff McDonalds podcast called “Hit It!” which you can find on iTunes or the RK website.

  13. patrock

    I can totally understand the aversion to the “rock nerd” thing, it’s weird. The things that Redd Kross championed though were so far from “cool” when they came out. But they were smart kids from Hollywood and loved it’s strange culture, so their image kind of hit people like it was some sort of inside joke.

    They are both a sincere and sarcastic band.

  14. I heard this one on my local NPR station and realized I hadn’t though of these guys for years. They kind of fall in between The Descendants and the Offspring in that snotty SoCal punk vein. I don’t listen to this style of stuff much anymore but I liked it at the time.

  15. They seem like a band that I would like I’ve always liked their fashion sensibility more than their music. I’ve just never lied any of their songs (although admittedly, I’ve only heard a handful over the years). I’ll check out some of the ones that patrock suggested, but how many bites at the apple should one band get?

  16. It’s good to hear that they straddle the sincere and sarcastic. I’d always pegged them as the sort of rock guys who would be incapable of doing anything but cite obscure Kim Fowley records if I ever found myself in a room with them.

  17. trigmogigmo

    This is my first exposure to RK, and that is a cracking little tune. Nice. To me it sits at an intersection of Matthew Sweet, Cheap Trick, The Beat, Green Day, etc.

  18. Count me in as a Red Kross fan. The new record is right up there with 3rd Eye in terms of awesome hook-filled tunes all the way through.

    My old band got to open for them a few times back in 1990-1. They put on amazing shows. I got to talk backstage with Steve MacDonald about his obsession with dental hygiene.

  19. ladymisskirroyale

    DO tell!

  20. I’ve always dug ’em. this new album is really great.

  21. Count me too as a big Redd Kross fan. (Gotta check into the townhall more often, as I’m a bit late to the game on this topic.) I love, love, love Third Eye, Phaseshifter, and Show World. Got to see them live just once, when they opened in Madison WI for The Presidents of the United States of America (what a silly band name!) in support of Show World. They played Switchblade Sister when my friend shouted it out to them. That was cool. However, do not judge them by their appearance in Spirit of 76, a “comedy” from 1990, in which the brothers McDonald appear. I really wanted to like it, but it just isn’t funny. Find a copy of Third Eye instead and crank out Elephant Flares!

  22. Edit: Switchblade Sisters, that’s the song they played, not Switchblade Sister. It’s on one of the Yellow Pills collections.

Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube