Redd Kross – Researching the Blues
Redd Kross have returned. A short history lesson: in ’81 they were snotty punks (Born Innocent), by ‘87 they were flower punks (Neurotica), and they became glam-rock power-poppers when the ‘90s hit (Third Eye/Phaseshifter). Brothers Jeff and Steven McDonald have been the band’s only permanent members, but the Neurotica lineup has reunited for Researching the Blues, the quartet’s first album in 15 years.
If there’s a consistent thread that runs through Redd Kross’ many phases, it’s their propensity for bubblegum hooks and harmonized “oohs” and “ahhs.” This pop sensibility is bolstered by hard rock glitz, as Redd Kross crank their amps and stomp on pedals. The band evokes a louder version of the Beatles (not to mention Jeff McDonald’s voice sounds exactly like John Lennon’s). Read the full review on Consequence of Sound
Shovels & Rope – O’ Be Joyful
The chemistry of Shovels & Rope is what makes them shine. The sincerity of the music, and their ability to seamlessly blend vocals allows them to ascend beyond their otherwise humble setup and skill sets. Cary Ann even says it in the opening track “Birmingham” which also acts as their de facto introduction and theme song: “Played Springwater, Station Inn. Couldn’t play fast, couldn’t fit in.” What she can do though is sing in high register with that Loretta coal-grit in the back of her throat and awaken something deep and familiar in the music, especially when Michael Trent joins in on harmony. Read the full review on Saving Country Music