Tag Archives: Redd Kross

Mixtape! This is Your Brain On Pop…

Way back in the day – June 1997 to be exact – I slapped this puppy on a C-90 and shared it with my tape swap group. Damned if it still doesn’t sound good now. A nice mix of old and new (new then, anyway), famous and obscure, sweet and bitter. Someday when I have both bandwidth and time I’ll load these on a special tab, but just YouTube or MySpace or Google your way around for now.

This Is Your Brain.

This Is Your Brain On POP!

Any Questions?

The Nerves – “When You Find Out” How can you go wrong when you have not one, not two, but THREE great songwriters in the band? Well, that’s probably two too many…
Ginger – “Feel Like Falling Down” Always a Molson’s Ale in the fridge, always a Canadian pop band on my tapes. Can’t recommend the whole CD but this song is sweet.
Joan Jett – “Indian Giver” Yes, your eyes are working fine. Little Ms. Riot Grrrl does a nice job on this 1910 Fruitgum Company classic.
The Shazam – “Blew It” From Copper Records, the label that brought us the Badfinger tribute, comes this Cheap Trick/Who/Badfinger sounding band produced by Brad Jones, whose influence is strong here (that’s a GOOD thing).
The Clouds – “Aquamarine” An Australian band who I only heard of because they opened up for TPOH – spotty record but this track is killer.
The Guess Who – “Don’t You Want Me” Burton Cummings is a guilty pleasure of mine. This is the second version of this song, from “Road Food”. They could really rock live.
John Hiatt – “Doll Hospital” The greatest living American songwriter. His older stuff is classic; if all you know is “Bring The Family” you are missing a TON of great stuff.
The Chills – “The Male Monster From The Id” Martin Phillips and company – this one’s for all the girls. Another spotty record with some great songs.
Candy Butchers – “Til You Die” More Mikey! No knock on Adam Schlesinger of FOW, but Mike Viola deserves some props for his vocals in the movie THAT THING YOU DO. Buy this EP before its gone.
Blue Cartoon – “Parachute” Lee, who’s one of my SON OF TAPE TREE swap partners, is far too modest to tell you that he writes great pop songs. So I will – this stands up with the best of 1997.
Michael Shelley – “Going To L.A.” East Coast Beach Boys with great lyrics and a borrowed T-Rex riff. Mike’s HALF EMPTY is one of the best records of 1997.
Sylvain Sylvain – “Teenage News” Ex-N.Y.Doll had a much poppier side than the band ever did. Two great records and gone – I wish he were still making music.
Sutherland Brothers & Quiver – “Dream Kid” Great, great pop rock band, probably known best for “Sailing”. This version of the band featured future Attractiion Bruce Thomas on bass.
Stella Luna – “Nervous Man” A plug for Bruce Brodeen’s NOT LAME label and sampler. Jamie Hoover produced this new band’s track; can’t wait to hear the whole record!
Sparks – “Here Comes Bob” Besides being a vastly underrated band, Sparks had a great sense of humor. In this song, Bob has a strange way of making friends…
 
Redd Kross – “Pretty Please Me” I wanted to put “Mess Around” on this tape, but “Pretty Please Me” started off with more of a bang! Cannot believe this band isn’t all over the radio!
Semisonic – “Brand New Baby” One of the best of 1996, from the ashes of Trip Shakespeare. Semisonic’s debut CD was wall to wall great songs and was criminally ignored.
Richard X. Heyman – “Everything The Same” Permanent Press Records will release CORNERSTONE, Richard’s first new record in five years. He plays all the instruments on this song and is a pop god.
The Del Lords – “Stay With Me” In a better world, Scott Kempner and Andy Shernoff would be revered songwriters. This Dictators classic re-interpreted by Scott’s next great band, whose catalogue deserves better. Rhino? Ryko? Hello??
The Pursuit Of Happiness – “Pressing Lips” Speaking of great songwriters….Moe Berg writes ’em, the great band kicks them into gear, and those killer harmony vocals seal the deal
The Faces – “You’re So Rude” We lost Ronnie Lane this month. Although overshadowed first by Steve Marriot and later by Rod Stewart, “Plonk” was the backbone of the Faces, Small and otherwise.
Firesign Theatre – “Porgie Tirebiter” I’ve been slipping in a few non-musical interludes on this tape, but since this is a theme song, I might as well ‘fess up. If you haven’t heard “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers”, you haven’t lived.
Rick Derringer – “Something Warm” From “Hang On Sloopy” forward, Rick always had a knack for pop, even if he didn’t have the voice to match. Still, GUITARS AND WOMEN was a first rate album. He’s back to the blues now, though.
Godley & Creme – “Big Bang” Dedicated to the Jellyfish Listgroup – what should we call this, 5CC? For a laugh, play the Blues Brothers’ version of “Hey Bartender” at the same time.
Cheap Trick – “Oh Candy” From the first of two self-titled albums, a nice, bouncy cheerful pop song about suicide. You won’t be comin’ around no more….
Pat Godwin – “Amish My Ass” For every guy who ever got turned down with a bullshit excuse, Pat sticks it right back up her ass in one minute and twelve seconds.
Eric Carmen – “Hey Deanie” Maybe he lost his way off the path, maybe he is label-less because he is a problem guy. But forget the BS – it’s amazing how many different times Eric captured the innocence of summer love in a song.
Kyle Vincent – “Wake Me Up (When The World’s Worth Waking Up For” Am I the only person who thinks Kyle and Eric Carmen sound alike? This perfect single should be blasting out of every car radio right now! Why isn’t it??
Sparks – “Batteries Not Included” Part two of the Sparks humor brigade. Followed up on the record by a song called “Whippings And Apologies” which I’ll probably toss on another tape someday…
Mick Ronson – “Sweet Dreamer” (edit) Speaking of losses, I miss Ronno. He made Bowie and Hunter better, brought out a great side of Morrissey, and had an appreciation for classic American music like Patsy Cline. 

Any questions?

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Frontier Records Celebrates 30 Years

One of my favorite bands – ever – is the cowpunk group E.I.E.I.O., and their first two killer albums bore the signature flag logo of Frontier Records. Little did I know at the time that the label originated primarily as a punk provider, as some of my favorite indie bands like The Pontiac Brothers, The Long Ryders and Thin White Rope would soon share that imprimatur. Now the little label that could turns 30 – an incredible achievement in a waning industry.

From the press release:

Frontier Records, the independent Los Angeles-based record label founded in 1980 by Lisa Fancher, and Part Time Punks, a weekly club that focuses on obscure and classic music from 1978 to present, will be celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the seminal Los Angeles label with a massive blow-out show in Echo Park on Sunday, November 7 at the Echoplex.  

Confirmed acts include O.C. hardcore legends The Adolescents, a rare one-off performance from the reunited Middle Class, a solo set from guitarist Rikk Agnew, original L.A. ’77 punk band Flyboys and the drunken rock stylings of The Pontiac Brothers.  The Master of Ceremonies for the evening will be Circle Jerks frontman Keith Morris. Additional Frontier bands are soon to be confirmed and will be announced in the coming weeks.

Frontier Records was founded in Los Angeles, CA, in 1980 by Lisa Fancher and was one of the first independent labels to document the nascent L.A. and O.C. hard-core punk rock scenes before branching out into other scenes and sounds such as the so-called “Paisley Underground” and (always) guitar-based bands along with genres such as goth, alternative country, pop and more.

Bands releasing records on Frontier include: Circle Jerks, Adolescents, The Weirdos, TSOL, China White, Redd Kross, Thin White Rope, Heatmiser, Young Fresh Fellows, Christian Death, Dharma Bums, American Music Club, The Long Ryders, The Three O’Clock, The Pontiac Brothers, Naked Prey, Flop and many more. The label’s 100th release will be a reissue of the 1979 compilation Yes L.A.

Who says chicks don’t rock? Good on yer, Lisa!

Frontier Records homepage

Frontier Records Wiki page

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Blast From The Past: Redd Kross

 

By the time Redd Kross released Show World in 1997, they had already been a successful recording act for almost two decades. I thought that maybe this one would propel them from the minor leagues into the household name category, but once again the masses turned a deaf ear, and thirteen years later I’m still waiting for the next one.  Two years after its release, guitarist Eddie Kurdziel died, and the band put everything on the back burner. 

Hard to believe that it’s been thirty years since their debut EP. Harder to comprehend is that leaders and brothers Jeff McDonald and Steven McDonald are still young pups in their mid-forties; they recorded Red Cross when they were teenagers. Forced to change their name for obvious reasons, they released six albums over the next seventeen years, slowly moving from punk rock and juvenile subject matter to more highly polished material that rivaled the best powerpop songs of their era. 

Many fans preferred the hardcore punk days when subject matter ranged from cereal and comic books to Hollywood celebrities like Linda Blair and Mackenzie Phillips; Neurotica is often mentioned as their best work. I was gobsmacked when “Annie’s Gone” came blasting out of my speakers;  great vocals, big guitars and a hook that could snag a whale… 

Video: “Annie’s Gone” 

They mastered the art of mixing bubblegum pop, glam rock and hard rock into an irresistable mix, which is why I  much prefer the later releases (Third Eye, Phaseshifter and Show World) that focused on those crunchy pop rock nuggets. Show World in particular has three stone-cold classics in the first five tracks – “Pretty Please Me” (a faithful cover of classic by The Quick), “Stoned” and the shoulda-been-a-smash-hit “Mess Around”. Radio blew it once again. 

Video: “Mess Around” (live) 

The band has been making live appearances over the past few years and a limited release of a live CD/DVD called Got Live If You Must (a takeoff on an early Rolling Stones title) was gobbled up by lucky fans. There have been one-off projects by Ze Malibu Kidz and The Steven McDonald Group, and their Bitchin’ Ass podcasts have kept fans in stitches. 

Judging by that video clip, the boys are in top form. Reportedly their new release – recorded with drummer Roy McDonald (no relation) and former guitarist Robert Hecker – is almost ready to rock. I’ve been waiting thirteen years, so I’m ready! 

 

Listen to song clips at Amazon

Visit the Redd Kross website and their MySpace page. 

*** 

Damn your eyes. Too late!

 

Speaking of blasts from the past, bug-eyed British comic Marty Feldman would have been 76 years old today. He left us far too soon; dead of a heart attack at 49. Most people know his work in the Mel Brooks films but were unaware of his small screen work, from his writing and performing on British television to the American era staring with his debut as part of Dean Martin’s show. He combined physical comedy, quick-witted dialogue and absurd situations in a unique mix that people all over the world responded to. 

R.I.P., Marty – thanks for all those smiles

Visit The Marty Feldman Tribute Page.

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T.G.I.F. – Ten Bands/Artists I Miss

Well, reunited without all that cheesy drama, anyway

Seems like everyone is getting back together these days, whether for money or a shot at career closure; some are actually reinvigorated and creating viable new music. So if you are pining the loss or lethargy of a favorite band or artist, there’s hope.

(Of course, nothing would be better than the three guys in the forefront of this picture sharing a stage again. Maybe if I leave that tooth under my pillow…)

Doesn’t have to be someone on a Van Halen level. For example, Fastball thought they had taken a long enough hiatus and decided to regroup – the result was a great new record. So why not our favorites?

So here’s ten acts right off the top of my head that are dormant; I wish they were making records right now. At least I have the fruits of their labor to date to savor over and over again. If any of these are new to you, please check them out. Maybe it will make you revive a few of your own favorites.

Because that’s the beauty of legacy. It’s right there.

Redd Kross:  Congrats on the new baby and all, but come on – make an album!

Cotton Mather:  Living on in other bands, but Kon Tiki is godhead.

The Pursuit of Happiness:  Too good to be satisfied with reunions.

The Tories:  So promising. So good. What happened?

Liquor Giants:  How about Something Special for the Adults?

World Party:  This generation’s Klaatu, the homage must go on.

Jen Trynin:  Disillusioned the first time, suck it up and get back out there.

Love NutAndy Bopp, put Myracle Brah aside and rock me again.

Tonio K:  I know you’re sitting on pure gold. Share it, brother.

The Montgomery CliffsJoey Salvia is solo but a reunion would be magic.

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Under The Radar: Supergroupies

supergroupies album cover

If I ever want to explain to someone why I think the music industry crashed like a lawn dart, I’ll play them this album and then turn on the radio. Granted, glam rock is not for everyone, and this might be a little bit too bubblegum for some, but Supergroupies are way better than any of the hair metal bands who tried the same formula. Naturally, this album is completely unknown in the States.

It’s been three years since this puppy blew my mind – I hope they’ve got something new in the pipeline and didn’t take all that apathy to heart. Here’s my original review from 2006:

Let’s cut to the chase – this is the best glam pop record in years. 

From the opening salvo of “Give It all You Got” through the closing “Come One Come All”, Supergroupies is a thirteen-track, forty-minute joy ride. Several tracks are flat out killer, immediately accessible anthems that combine the harmonies of Sweet, the flamboyance of KISS, the strut of Cheap Trick, the camp of Poison and the balls of The Who. No, not Who’s Next era Townsend but, the 60s Who, the power pop Who. Think I’m kidding? Check out the guitar and drums on “Hot In Paris” and tell me you don’t see Pete’s windmill and Moon’s unconventional flailing yet focused playing. Yeahhh…told you so. 

Vocalist Kim Simon has the bubblegum lead vocal down cold and the background harmonies are tight and high-pitched. Guitar solos are short and sweet, while the rhythm section demands dashboard double-time. There are easily six or seven singles here, one of which (“Low Blue Flame”) is as good or better than anything Redd Kross has ever recorded. Enuff Z’nuff would kill for an album this consistent. It’s flash, it’s glittery, it’s cocky, it’s got makeup and it’s hopelessly, undeniably infectious. Hand claps? Yep. Cowbell? Uh-huh. Power ballad? “Say Goodbye”, check. Up-tempo, whip-crack pop, like the innocent exuberance of the Bay City Rollers “Saturday Night” laced with a testosterone chaser. 

So of course the album isn’t available in the US or UK. Nope, these four skinny white guys from Sweden are currently lighting up Japan, whose pop audiences always seem to know something before we do. Maybe that’s why they always get the bonus tracks on their version of the albums. Well, now you know. Go get this record now. You may have to stand in line behind a gazillion teenagers if you don’t hurry. 

Glam, bam, thank you ma'am.

Glam, bam, thank you ma'am.

The Supergroupies website.

Grab this album on Amazon before it disappears forever.

The Supergroupies MySpace site features four songs.

Supergroupies video: studio track and unplugged.

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