Monday, January 15, 2007

REDD KROSS - Neurotica CD (Five Foot Two Records/2002)
I can tell you w/out a hint of BS and irony that I loved this record like no other back in high school. For some reason, Redd Kross enjoyed quite a substantial following in Australia in the '80s, the McDonald brothers being almost up there w/ the likes of Lux Interior, Jello Biafra and Nick Cave as an obvious starting point for apprentice hipsters to aspire to when they're just finding their feet in the world of non-mainstream r 'n' r. And I was one of those kids. My brother bought this record when it originally came out in 1987 (and very quickly disappeared soon thereafter, as the label, the shonky fly-by-night Big Time, went bankrupt and left this gem in deleted limbo for 15 years) and it was a perfect record for the time. Steeped in classic LA punk, but paying hommage to other cultural icons like Charles Manson, the Partridge Family, Kiss and George Harrison, Redd Kross at this stage - along w/ the similarly godlike Teen Babes From Monsanto mini-album they released in '85 - were a band who perfectly understood the junk culture they grew up on and were able to regurgitate it without simply coming across like a gimmick band a la Bloodhound Gang/Fun Lovin' Criminals/Scissor Sisters (excuse me whilst I take a rest...).

Opinion is still divided on this era of the band. There are those who prefer the garage-punk trash of Born Innocent or even their earlier works, and I do distinctly recall this album getting a few bum reviews at the time (some of the negativity being launched at the thin production, though this CD sounds a whole lot better than my brother's paper-thin vinyl version he still owns), though most of the bad reviews were penned by ageing punkers disappointed that the band didn't still sound like a junior-high version of Black Flag, or clueless dolts who simply didn't get the cultural vein the brothers McDonald were tapping.

10 songs, none to sneeze at, even the semi-atrocious "Love Is You", the acoustic ballad which finished side A at the time. "Janus, Jeanie and George Harrison", "What They Say" and "Frosted Flake" help make up what must be one of the best American underground rock albums of the late '80s. Now, if there is one band whose entire career has been completely fucked up by bad management and even worse record deals, it would have to be Redd Kross. Not a single CD of theirs is currently in print. From what I can gather, this CD is deleted (though in print on Sympathy vinyl; I won this CD on eBay), as is Teen Babes, Born Innocent and their early EPs. Not only that, but their Atlantic LPs from the early '90s are also out of print, including the pretty damn decent Third Eye album from 1990. Sounds like time for a Rhino box set to me.

Other cool shit flyin' around:

1) RHYS CHATHAM - An Angel Moves Too Fast To See 3CD box (Table Of The Elements)
2) fIREHOSE - Live Totem Pole EP CD (Sony/Columbia)
(the band covering Wire, Public Enemy, Buttholes, Blue Oyster Cult and Superchunk... sounds potentially awful, I know, though the results are much different)
3) PRINCE FAR I - Under Heavy Manners 2CD (Trojan)
4) SCIENTISTS - Blood Red River CD (Citadel/Shock)
(along w/ Kim Salmon's guitar/drums duo performance recently in support of Japan's Teengenerate. 45 minutes of Scientists tunes which sounded real good)
5) ALICE COLTRANE - Universal Consciousness/Monastic Trio/Transcendence/Eternity etc. CDs

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