Everyone needs a hobby, and during the downtime between Redd Kross’ 1993 album Phaseshifterand 1997’s Show World, the band’s guitarist, co-founder, and general frontal lobe (along with his brother Steve McDonald), Jeff McDonald, decided to make a record on his own for a change. Of course, in typical McDonald brothers fashion, he didn’t do it the way most folks would. By the time Jeffgot around to recording the tunes he’d written, he opted to cut the album one-man band style on an eight-track analog setup. After completing the material, he sat on it for two years, and then issued it in 1999 as a limited-edition CD-R, with some copies titled Third World Echo. In 2016, the album was finally given a legit release on vinyl, now titled Jeff McDonald, and the finished product should make most fans wonder why he essentially threw this music out the back door. The homegrown production sometimes makes these songs sound like demos, but they’re pretty great demos, simple but full of imagination and personality, and as one would expect from a member of Redd Kross, the tracks are full of clever melodies, pop hooks, strong vocals, and oddball humor. Redd Kross never shied away from parodying other artists and styles, and in that great tradition Jeff McDonald is full of well-executed pop pastiches. “Follow the Leader” is a dead ringer for the Velvet Underground, “Third World Hustler” is a joyously bent glam rock opus, “Getting Back to You” is stacked with Beatles-style harmonies, “I Don’t Mind” is a sly nod to ’60s folk-rock, and “Gigi Canova” is a buzzy, suitably tripped-out psychedelic number. “Straight Lookin’ Genie,” on the other hand, is a journey to the center of someone’s mind that only McDonald could have conjured, spinning from chunky wah-wah guitar to blasts of discordant noise, all running through layers of echo and creepy mumbling. It’s a brilliant experiment in artistic self-indulgence at its least coherent, only slightly serious and all the more entertaining for it, and it’s some sort of offside masterpiece. If one can’t quite say the same for Jeff McDonald as a whole, it certainly demonstrates the many fine things he brings to the table with Redd Kross, and it’s a splendid dry run for the solo set he ought to record one of these days.