REDD KROSS – Beyond The Door

When Redd Kross released their ‘Researching The Blues‘ album in 2012, it gave fans plenty of reasons to celebrate. Not only did that record break a fifteen year recording hiatus, but it was also the band’s best album since 1990’s ‘Third Eye’. In ‘Stay Away From Downtown’, fans were given the ultimate Redd Kross power pop anthem and on material like ‘Dracula’s Daughters’ and ‘Meet Frankenstein’, the band showed they’d lost none of their love for b-movie schlock or high camp. ‘Researching The Blues’ was a fabulous comeback, indeed…and one of the greatest albums of that year.

Something unexpected happened in 2015 when bassist Steven McDonald was invited to join arty sludge legends Melvins. Given that Redd Kross had started out as a trashy punk band and McDonald had moonlighted with OFF! – a brilliant and uncompromising hardcore punk act featuring ex-Black Flag vocalist Keith Morris – perhaps it shouldn’t have been that unexpected, but it’s probably fair to say few people saw that coming. Steve’s place alongside Melvins mainstays Buzz and Dale led to various gloriously mismatched live shows shared between the two bands and by the time Melvins released ‘Pinkus Abortion Technician’ in 2018, McDonald’s influence within the band could very definitely be felt.

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JIZZY PEARL – All You Need Is Soul

Upon release in 2014, Jizzy Pearl’s EP ‘Crucified’ was incredibly well received by the online rock press, with many thinking it was the former Love/Hate frontman’s best work for a many a year. Although only a six tracker, it did indeed manage to capture a lot of the energies of his younger self, something probably amplified by a short playing time. With no room for filler, he really made an impression, so you’d think Pearl would’ve been keen to keep up the momentum and really capitalise on its success, but it took him almost four years to craft a follow up. Prior to release, he claimed that follow up, 2018’s ‘All You Need Is Soul’ had all the excitement of his former band’s ‘Blackout In The Red Room’ debut. Big talk indeed, but it seems that no matter how much time passes, that album is still very much the benchmark for everything that’s followed.

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REAL GONE GOES OUT: Redd Kross, Electric Brixton, London 31/10/2017

It’s Hallowe’en. Across Brixton, various young people are getting ready for spooky festivities. It probably means they’re off to the pub in their best Bride of Frankenstein and Corpse Bride finery before hitting the clubs later, but it seems fairly busy for a Tuesday night. There aren’t any skeletons or pumpkins adorning the Electric Brixton, but a cursory look at the merchandising stand still makes the occasion very clear. A massive poster advertising this show featuring power pop legends Redd Kross and sludgy art rock oddballs the Melvins very much resembles a promotional poster for an eighties slasher flick. As far as gig posters go, it’s incredibly smart, although no more of a spook-show concept should be looked for, especially as the night progresses.

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INDONESIAN JUNK – Stars In The Night

Indonesian Junk’s self-titled 2016 debut celebrated everything that was trashy about late 70s power pop and slightly glammy punk-pop. Huge cues from the CBGBs scene informed the bulk of the music, which was potentially enjoyable in a fairly chaotic way…provided, that is, the band kept to the upbeat. The slower numbers didn’t always fare so well and on top of that, frontman Daniel James’s drawling vocals were the very pinnacle of acquired taste. In short, then, despite glimmers of something, it was an album that could – and should – have been so much better. [A full review can be read here.]
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WESLEY FULLER – Melvista EP

wesep2016This debut EP from Wesley Fuller is gloriously retro. Almost everything about it – from the 70s musical influences to the garish 80s artwork and Fuller’s own fashion sense – has at least one foot in the dirt of the past. The Aussie singer songwriter so loves retro synths and glam rock stomps, bubblegum choruses and power pop guitars and while his work rarely displays the kind of perfection you’d find from, say, Mike Viola or the vastly underrated David Myhr, ‘Melvista’ presents five tracks of guitar oriented pop that should appeal to those whom reach for Pezband and Off Broadway (USA) records on a semi-regular basis.

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