The Madeleine Brand Show for August 7, 2012

New Music Tuesday: Redd Kross

Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival 2008 - Day 1

Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Musician Steve McDonald from Redd Kross performs during day 1 of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Field on April 25, 2008 in Indio, California.

Music critic Drew Tewksbury is back for another installment of New Music Tuesday. This week, he reviews the album "Researching the Blues" from Redd Kross.

Redd Kross are back with their first new record in 15 years called Researching the Blues. In case you don’t remember, Red Kross was one of those alt bands that showed up on late-night MTV in the 90's.

They fit right in with the alternative sound, you know, that slightly off kilter, snarky rock sound that the musical outliers laid out.

Redd Kross was formed in the late 70's in Hawthorne, California, by Jeff and Steven McDonald, who were 15 and 11 at the time. Their first show was opening for punk legends Black Flag at a middle school graduation party.

Their brand of Ramones-style pop punk earned them airplay, but they never quite became a household name. Their new album may win them some new fans though. Their music is meaty, and it has a nice bit of gristle. It's like Pixies had a baby with Weezer. There's harmonized big guitars of the Boston-variety, and the drums are fit for arena shows.

But what really makes Red Kross so catchy, is an unlikely dash of warped doo wop. The grunge bands of the 90s each took pop and vintage rock song structures, and gave them an amped-up twist. Like Nirvana and the Pixies who gave us a fuzzy update on rock and roll standards. Redd Kross does the same thing, focusing on juicy hooks and electric guitars.

As Red Kross head into their fourth decade of music-making with their new album, "Researching the Blues," the guys may be getting older, but their power-pop sound hits just as hard.

"Researching the Blues" streaming at NPR


With contributions by Raghu Manavalan

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