Redd Kross: Neurotica (Peak Vinyl/colour/12 bonus tracks) LP

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Merge Records is thrilled to reissue Neurotica by Redd Kross, the 1987 power pop and alternative rock opus celebrating 35 years in 2022. Remastered by JJ Golden (Pearl Jam, Thee Oh Sees) and paired with 12 unreleased demos rediscovered in the archive of original A&R guy Geoffrey Weiss. The double vinyl edition—the album on translucent turquoise, the demos on translucent orange—arrives in a slick gatefold jacket. Neurotica could be viewed as a This Is Your Life-esque document of what brothers Jeff & Steve McDonald had been working toward creatively since starting Redd Kross in their Hawthorne, CA living room circa 1978. The songs quake with punk rock fury. And how could they possibly have shaken off the untamed energy of their early Red Cross years which laid a foundation for Southern California hardcore punk & DIY culture alongside bands like Black Flag, Circle Jerks and Descendants? But fury is only part of their formula. To find the other parts, travel back to the ‘70s, when the McDonald boys lived for nothing but Saturday morning cartoons, sugary cereal, bubblegum pop singles, Beach Boys LPs, Partridge Family TV specials and the arena rock guitars of KISS & Cheap Trick. Whereas most self-respecting punk rockers would have sneered at ‘60s/‘70s radio and pop culture schmaltz (even if they secretly liked it), that was all a tremendous part of the Redd Kross DNA. And the McDonalds wore those influences on their dayglo sleeves. They decontextualized the macho, sometimes saccharine, sound of classic rock, celebrating its bombast without falling into its pretentious pitfalls. They played what sounded good to them. If along the way they could convince you that those David Cassidy AM radio singles were actually great & subversive in their own way, that was just an added bonus.

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