If you’re of a certain age and spent the ’90s being something other than obsessed with underground rock from the ’80s, there’s a chance the name Redd Kross, the southern California punk/power-pop band, evokes Kris Kross, the pair of child rappers who wore their clothes backward.
Now you can finally separate them in your mind for good: Redd Kross has a new album on the way, and Kris Kross doesn’t. We hope.
Redd Kross formed in 1978 as the Tourists, rotated through a vast roster of musicians, changed its name in 1980 and released six LPs and two EPs between 1982-97, when the the group went on hiatus. With an eye for pop-culture kitsch, the band’s songs nodded variously at breakfast cereal, televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, the Brady Bunch and Linda Blair.
Now a seminal lineup of Redd Kross has recorded “Researching the Blues,” due Aug. 7 on Merge. They’re giving away the title track, a taut rocker with terse, staccato verses that give way to prismatic refrains pinned to a sweeping melodic hook. It’s like 1982 incarnate, in the best way possible.
Photo by Jon Krop