Redd Kross Credit: Ward Robinson

Since their first releases in the early 80s, southern California four-piece Redd Kross have been a cut above their punk peers. Started in 1980 by teenage brothers Jeff and Steven McDonald and rounded out over their first decade by a rotating cast of guitarists and drummers—including Black Flag members Ron Reyes and Dez Cadena and Circle Jerks founder Greg Hetson—the band added a sophisticated melodic sense to their feisty punk. By the early 90s, the brothers had grown into legitimate long-haired heartthrobs and were operating in a jangly, alt-rock realm, cranking out some minor hits while supporting acts like the Lemonheads and the Presidents of the United States of America before disbanding in 1997. Redd Kross have been only slightly operational for the past 11 years, and it seems Steven’s more recognizable these days for contributing his signature swoopy bass lines to hardcore supergroup Off! and the current iteration of sludge-punks the Melvins, but in 2012 they did release an official comeback record, Researching the Blues (Merge). Possibly the band’s best work yet, it goes straight for Cheap Trick-flavored power pop, piling on red-hot guitar licks and sugary vocal hooks. The version of Red Kross hitting the road right now, featuring Melvins powerhouse Dale Crover on drums, is working on a new record that Steven says will keep moving forward with the same pop glory.   v