From The Desk Of Redd Kross’ Roy McDonald: Judee Sill’s “Judee Sill” and “Heart Food” LPs

Redd Kross just released its first album in 15 years, which we honestly didn’t think was going to happen. Researching The Blues (Merge) is as close to our Platonic ideal of what a rock ‘n’ roll record should sound like: punk-rock fury mixed with power-pop hooks and tinged with a fringe of psychedelia. Researching embodies the best of what the band has done since it started out 34 years ago (during the first wave of L.A. punk) and continued throughout the ’80s and ’90s while taking perpendicular approaches to the prevailing trends of the era. In an age where the tenets of genre conventions and the rigidity that once separated sounds and scenes are no longer relevant, Redd Kross returns as prodigal sons. Brothers Jeff and Steve McDonald, Roy McDonald (no relation) and Jason Shapiro will be guest editing all week. Read our brand new feature on them.

Roy McDonald: If there was any justice, these two albums, from 1971 and 1973, would have made singer/songwriter Judee Sill a major star. The debut album, especially, is nearly flawless, on par with the best work of Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell. The first artist signed to David Geffen’s Asylum Records, Sill, whose voice is reminiscent of Karen Carpenter’s, mixed Bach-like melodies with country ‘n’ western overtones and Christian imagery to beautiful effect. (I defy you to listen to “The Kiss” on “Heart Food” without getting chills.) A true original, Sill had a very tragic early life that included petty theft, reform school, heroin addiction, prostitution and jail. Her music never found an audience. Plagued by personal problems and physical pain stemming from a series of car accidents, Sill died of a drug overdose the day after Thanksgiving in 1979. Do yourself a favor and buy both of these amazing albums now.

Video after the jump.