Hive Five: Our Daily Listicle of Musical Musings
It’s been 15 years since Redd Kross, the legendary California punk band formed by brothers Steven and Jeff McDonald, released their last album. But the group is resurfacing next week with Researching the Blues, a 10-song firebomb of a record that proves you don’t need to be a teenager to churn out sneering, pop-soaked rock songs. And although Redd Kross played their first show as the opening act for Black Flag, but these days the band’s taste in music strays a bit from the confines of California punk. Here, Jeff McDonald shares with us his favorite albums released between when his band dropped Show World in 1997 and today.
1. Reigning Sound, Too Much Guitar
Rarely when you hear a very raw garage record, it will have a sound and vibe you can get behind. And rarely do you have songs of such high quality; Greg Cartwright is a genius songwriter. The opening track is “We Repel Each Other,” which is something anyone who’s ever been in a relationship can relate to. Probably up there with <Teenage Head> by the Flamin’ Groovies as one of the best garage punk albums ever recorded.
2. Peaches, Impeach My Bush
This is the perfect Peaches record, with her really dirty hip-hop. It’s funny because it’s played so straight and you rarely get humor and parody and on that record you really get it. And half of the record is guitar-based glam rock, so it’s the strangest combination of music; the rock stuff is stellar. The opening track, “Impeach My Bush,” just makes you want to listen to the rest of the record.
3. The White Stripes, Elephant
When things were rolling perfectly—the White Stripes at their peak. This was when they were creating almost hit songs, like “Seven Nation Army.” I like all their records, but this one is the absolutely best; everything works so perfectly.
4. 2ne1, 2nd Mini Album
I discovered them when I was watching Korean television because they have their own show. These artists are found as kids and then go into training camps for several years to learn to dance and sing and then are assigned to groups. This group is a little different: their songs are like Phil Spector records or something from Motown. They’re the most amazing pop songs. Contains the single ’I Am The Best’ which is the song of the decade in my book.
5. That Dog, Retreat From the Sun
This record is just incredible. Anna Wanoker just does everything slightly left of center, her lyrics are very personal and incredibly clever. The chemistry of this band is great. This was there their third records. The first was punk experimental, the second one was halfway there nad then on this one they really just got it together. This record is just too smart for its time. I still love the title track.
Researching the Blues is out August 7 on Merge.