Red Dons have collaborated on a song with punk legend TV Smith. The former ADVERTS front man wrote lyrics and sings over music we recorded in a Swedish bomb shelter in 2011. The song is titled A Vote for the Unknown. It will be available on vinyl this Fall thanks to Deranged Records and Taken By Surprised Records. Here is a link to the song.
Red Dons – Notes On The Underground 7″ (Grave Mistake)
Do you think that anyone has ever responded to the question “hey, you wanna write some punk songs?” with the answer “sure, do you mean songs that are four to five minutes in length?”? And yet the Red Dons are clearly a punk group, offering two lengthy tracks of moody melodic punk. It’s pretty good – I’m reminded of a depressed Marked Men, a bouncy No Hope For The Kids, or a pop-punk-infused Adverts as I spin these tunes. They get it pretty much right, from the well-sung vocals to the two-note “police siren” guitar solo that occurs over a moody, incessant bass-line. Clearly these songs took time to put together, and while that may fly in the face of punk’s other definitions, Red Dons are a good example of why rehearsal and forethought can occasionally work for a punk rock band. -Yellow Green Red
This review from Reviewbiquity recently came to our attention. Either it was published years ago, or someone did extensive research on the band up until 2007. Either way, we appreciate Tyler Dane’s kind words and hope that he’s had a chance to hear our other records.
Red Dons – Death to Idealism (Deranged Records)
The Red Dons are a band born out of continuity. Though the Observers thrashed up the Oregon coast for a good part of the first half of the decade, by 2005 they were no more. Members split, new projects formed, and in the space that once was a regionally prominent but overall painfully undercelebrated punk band, there was a void.
The first layer of audio spackle to fill it came in the form of the Revisions, a radical acoustic departure from the gritty hardcore garage punk of frontman Douglas Burns’ the Observers that initially came together to play at a book reading of fellow Portlander and Clorox Girls vocalist Justin Mauer. However, without the punk bite to properly continue what the Observers had begun, the void was still left slightly exposed. Cue the inclusion of Mauer on guitar, the Revisions’ Hajjii Husayn and Rich Joachim, and a few thousand kilowatts of electricity to accompany the classically catchy yet unconventional songwriting of Burns, and the Red Dons emerged, signifying the perfect link between the slam dance-ready Observers and anything-goes-acoustic Revisions.
Without ever crossing into sugary pop-punk territory, the Red Dons put forth some of the catchiest punk rock you may ever hear. Okay, that much may be an overstatement, but keep in mind this is a band comprised of equal parts Observers, Clorox Girls and Revisions. But it’s more than just the melodies and songwriting that make the Red Dons so potent. It’s something those Pacific Northwesterners have mastered as evident in the Clorox Girls’ J’aimes les Filles and the Briefs’ Sex Objects and that is an album that’s not just a collection of good songs, but an amalgamation of all the elements of the art flawlessly united. While concept albums usually produce similar, but over-the-top results, the Red Dons achieve this much more subtly through visual and thematic aspects on down to a production value that is not necessarily low-budget, but intentionally creates a hallow, two-dimensional atmosphere that corresponds perfectly to the other elements of the record.
Though all outstanding, the track “Incomplete Action” seems to represent the paradigm of this effort to an absolute ‘T.’ Burns’ melodies are hauntingly catchy, even above experimental instrumentation that at one point near the 1:50 mark whirls about recklessly like the inside of a Kansas twister bound for Oz. The rise and fall chit-chat singing sounds agitated and preoccupied as he restlessly comes to terms with dying hopes. Another lively and unorthodox tune is the trenchant and varied “Independent,” which is quite literally almost half-comprised of machine-gun drum fills even as Burns is shouting out his chorus “Fascista! But thank you for the world you gave us / So what is the difference, man?” There are also more traditional numbers like the infectious wailing of “Walk Alone,” which borders on a surf feel and the not-as-catchy “This City” which seems a nod to `50s rock and roll styles with the metered rebel chronicle of a restive vagabond. The most amusing moment on Death to Idealism is the few verses in “Just Write, Romeo” when Burns appears to be channeling Joe Jack Talcum on one of his more snarky rants.
With members obligated to other, more central projects, it’s hard to get too optimistic about the future of the Red Dons. But even if this was to be their sole LP, it’s one that won’t be getting a rest from spinning well past dizziness anytime soon. -Tyler Dane
Here are some kind worlds about Notes on the Underground from Razorcake.
RED DONS: Notes on the Underground: 7”
There are bands that are content to sit within a pigeonhole and there are bands that diligently push against the edges, rebelling against expectations to find a sound all their own. From the quasi-tribal drumming beginning the opening salvo here, “Cold Hearted,” Red Dons make it clear they aren’t content just fitting in. The tune, at its core a smart bit of minor chord pop, is rife with echoes of time past and present—a bit of post punk here, some garage there, drone, and the ubiquitous, insistent thud in the drums—rearranged and repurposed so that all are present but none overwhelms another. The remaining tunes follow along the same lines, each familiar yet retaining its own sound. The whole? A gritty-yet-tasty selection from a band that continues to wow with each successive release. –Jimmy Alvarado (Grave Mistake)
RED DONS: Notes on the Underground: 7”EP
I just want to put this on record. The Red Dons are one of the best punk bands on the planet. Why anyone who loves real-time punk (and world-class punk, since the birth of punk) is sleeping on them is a mystery. (Or they’re comfortable with their self-delusions/illusions.) I said the same about the Marked Men a decade ago, and although I’m pleased that the Marked Men are getting the recognition they so richly deserve, wouldn’t it be nice that another active band that doesn’t play any stupid corporate games and doesn’t fence walk with morality gets widespread support in real time? Is that too much to ask? This one’s at your feet, DIY punkers. Pick it up. Red Dons are punk giant nostalgia killers. For fuck’s sake, “Cold Hearted” is has a 4:50 run time, is lush, sweeping, epic, and defies expectation. All three songs on this 7” are stunners. –Todd Taylor (Grave Mistake, gravemistakerecords.com)
Here is the first review of Notes on the Underground. We’ll post more as they come in to the site’s REVIEWS page.
Red Dons have been featured on Matt Average’s Photo Page in the lasted issue of Razorcake. There are interviews with Criminal Code, White Murder, Rational Anthem, as well as a piece about Punk in Indonesia. New 7″s by Piss Test and Daylight Robbery get great reviews too. All and all it’s a pretty cool issue.
Note on the Underground is finally available. Order a vinyl copy from Grave Mistake Records by clicking this link. http://www.gravemistakerecords.com/catalog/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=red+dons
A digital version of the EP is available for download at http://gravemistakerecords.bandcamp.com/album/notes-on-the-underground
We are excited to announce our latest release Notes on the Underground. Grave Mistake is officially releasing this three song EP in August but we will have a limited tour press available at our shows in July. Taken by Surprise will release “Notes…” in Europe later this year. Below is a song from the B side of the record, entitled Dead Ender.
We are happy to announce the dates of our upcoming east coast tour. Below is a full list of dates and venues. July 24th – 27th, we are joining NIGHT BIRDS in support of their new album BORN TO DIE IN SUBURBIA.
7/17 Brooklyn @ Death By Audio
7/18 Philadelphia @ Golden Tea House
7/19 Washington D.C. @ Casa Fiesta
7/20 Richmond @ Strange Matter
7/21 Raleigh @ Slims (Free Show)
7/22 Richmond (Revisions) @ Vinyl Conflict
7/23 Baltimore @ Golden West Café
7/24 New Brunswick @ The Alamo
7/25 Manhattan @ The Cake Shop
7/26 Long Island @ No Fun Club
7/27 Boston @ The Middle East (all ages)
7/27 Boston @ O’Briens ( 21+ )