Redd Kross have been the quintessential underground band for the past three decades. The band has nearly always eschewed both pop and indie convention by staying true to its sound, likely angering as many pop fans with its snottiness and random references to Tatum O’Neil and Shonen Knife as they would indie purirsts with its insistence on lacing its acidic songs with undeniable pop hooks.
From Hawthorne, Calif. and based around the duo of brothers Jeff and Steve McDonald, Redd Kross first released music in 1980 with a self-titled EP, after opening for Black Flag as teenagers for its first gig. Other musicians came and went as the band released records throughout the ’80s and ’90s, hitting their stride with 1987’s Neurotica and 1990's Third Eye. Following 1997’s Show World, the band all but disappeared, with its members occasionally surfacing for other projects — Steve McDonald famously added bass parts to The White Stripes’ White Blood Cells, redubbing it Redd Blood Cells, which saw thousands of downloads and press hubbub. The brothers McDonald separately produced albums by other artists as well.
The elusive band returned in 2006 to play a set at REDCAT in Los Angeles covering the band’s entire catalog, featuring the Neurotica-era lineup of the McDonalds, Robert Hecker and Roy McDonald. They toured and played a killer set of the entire Born Innocent album opening for Sonic Youth, who played all of Daydream Nation (I was there! Yessss.), at the Greek Theater in L.A. In 2008 they played Coachella, among numerous other festivals and appearances over the past few years. Now, finally, Redd Kross have released an album of new material, entitled Researching the Blues. The album has seen some of the band’s best reviews, garnering an 81% on reviews aggregator Metacritic, and it’s not hard to see why, hearing the enlivened swagger the band displays on songs like the title track (download free here), while maintaining the dynamism that has always set the band apart, also including shimmering power-pop ballads like “Dracula’s Daughter” and “Winter Blues.”
Born on this day: July 9, 1946 - Bon Scott (born Ronald Belford Scott in Forfar, Scotland), the original lead singer of AC/DC. Happy Birthday to this rock vocal icon on what would have been his 66th Birthday!!
On this day in music history: July 9, 1955 - "(We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley and His Comets hits #1 on the Billboard Best Sellers chart for eight weeks. Recorded on April 12, 1954 at the Pythian Temple in New York City, the song will go largely unnoticed when it initially released in May of 1954 as the B-side of the single "Thirteen Women (And Only One Man In Town)". It is only after it is used for the opening title sequence to the film The Blackboard Jungle (starring Glenn Ford) nearly a year later that record finally takes off. The song will create a sensation around the world, causing teenagers to riot in the aisles of movie theaters. It will be regarded as a landmark in music history as the first number one single of the Rock Era. The record will also earn a place in the Guinness World Book Of Records for the largest selling rock and roll record of all time, with sales to be estimated at over 25 million copies sold worldwide. "(We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock" will be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1982.
On this day in music history: July 9, 1977 - "Undercover Angel" by Alan O'Day hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week. Written by O'Day, it is the lone top 10 hit for the LA-based songwriter/producer who has previously written hits for Helen Reddy ("Angie Baby") and The Righteous Brothers ("Rock & Roll Heaven"). O'Day will be the first artist signed to Pacific Records, a label specifically established by then Warner Bros Music president Ed Silvers, and distributed by Atlantic Records. The hit single version is produced by Steve Barri (The Grass Roots) and Michael Omartian (Christopher Cross, Donna Summer) after the initial session for the song (produced by veteran producer/engineer Tom Dowd) is scrapped as O'Day has vocal problems due to allergies. The song's unique vocal echo on the bridges is created by running a second tape machine (to create delay) and then manipulating the reels by hand, slightly speeding them up then slowing the down. "Undercover Angel" will actually be banned by some US radio stations when its lyrics are rumored to contain hidden sexually explicit references. In spite of this, the single will sell over a million copies and is certified Gold by the RIAA.