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 and The Estranged are featured together in an interview published in the December issue of Maximum RockNRoll #355.
RAZORCAKE ISSUE #71
I’m of the opinion that Red Dons are the best band walking the planet today. I fuggin’ love this band! They have this way of making music that causes everything else around you to melt away and all that is left is the music. You are completely in that moment. It’s a great feeling. The songs soar, race, and have undeniable soul. Catchy without being corny. Insightful without being overwrought. Just fucking great music. The title track is godhead! I’ve listened to it over and over so many times, and have yet to tire of it. Is that even possible? It’s such a great song. A nice, quick tempo and the vocals float over, pulling you into the song, and the chorus burns into your mind. I like how the guitar comes in at the end and builds and closes out with a noisy swirl. The kind of song that makes you want to start a band and take over the world. On the B side is “Mauvaise Foi,” which slows down a little bit with a jerky and bouncy rhythm here and there. When the melody comes in, nothing else matters. I really like the line, “Anointed one, where did I go wrong,” as it leads into the verse. This single is a classic. –Matt Average (Dirtnap, dirtnaprecs.com)
It had been quite a while since the Red Dons last played in Los Angeles. About four years to be exact. Ever since, a couple friends and I have anxiously awaited their return. Well worth the wait, they played the Blue Star Cafe in downtown Los Angeles on Sept 6 (2012). Even better than when they played here a few years back. I would go as far to say they’re the best band I’ve seen all year. And I have seen some pretty good bands (Night Birds, Urban Blight, Rational Animals, NASA Space Universe, No Babies, Trench Rot, Hysterics, Grimace) within the span of a couple months. But Red Dons have this undeniable energy and presence. Everyone in the band seems genuinely happy to be on stage and playing music. The whole time they are constantly moving around, jumping into the crowd, and never missing a beat. Their recent seven inch, Ausländer, on Dirtnap is not to be snoozed on. Get it now! Play it repeatedly. I do. It’s one of those records that when I listen to it, I can’t help but go, “Gah!! What an amazing record!!!” The title track is perfect. Stop you dead in your tracks type perfect. -Matt Average
Here is a link to a very cool article by Oliver Sheppard about contemporary post-punk.
Reviewed by Mickeyslim at KFJC 89.7 FM in California
Red Dons is the primary band from what’s called the Vagabond Sound Music Collective based in Portland, started by Doug Burns (lead vocals/guitar) and Hajji Husayn (bass/vocals). While many folks have been in and out of the band, this collection is Burns, Husayn, Richard Joachim (drums/vocals) and Will Kinser (lead guitar) of Born/Dead (see A library).
Pariah is a very fast, in yo’ face punk track with a flat, repetetive guitar melody in the background. These guys know how to rock out.
It’s Your Right is a GEM! It changes tempo a couple times in the song, and switches from what sounds like three different tracks. They fit together very well. PLAY THIS SONG!
Very versatile for a punk group, these guys are pro.
By this point, most of you probably already know and / or love RED DONS. For those of you who don’t, this band is comprised of members of the OBSERVERS, CLOROX GIRLS, and BORN/DEAD. As for influences, I can hear X and WIPERS the most, and maybe even some MISSION OF BURMA here and there, but not as artsy. Their overall northwest sound brings it all together nicely. Highly recommended! (BD)
Here are links for two Blogs that recently featured the Red Dons. These sites are good resources for new music and are worth your time.
Photo by Mateus Mondini
Check out the new Razorcake Podcast. It features the Red Dons, Tranzmitors, Mean Jeans, Defect Defect, Crusades and a bunch of other great bands.
RED DONS: Fake Meets Failure: LP
Lightning. Pure, white-hot, hot-streaking, sizzling, punk lightning. It’s punk that people who’ve “given up,” “don’t get,” or “moved on” from punk have the highest percentage of liking. It’s just so obviously scorching, beautiful, and crackling music, regardless of genre. And I was reluctant to admit that lightning could strike twice. One of the driving forces behind Red Dons is Doug Burns, the lead singer and guitarist of the untouchable every-member-made-it-greater band, The Observers. The Red Dons first LP, Death to Idealism, while it had its bright spots, sounded covered in blankets, a little restricted and restrained, a little awkward, a little tentative. Getting used to new skin. Not so with Fake Meets Failure. The burka’s ripped off, faces are revealed, and those faces are screaming. Analogous to the transformation of the Vicious to Masshysteri or Sexy to Future Virgins, it took a little time from the dusk of one band to the dawn of another, but the newer band, exhibiting similar genetic code to its predecessor, has developed its own personality, its own habits, and has accomplished what many, including myself, didn’t think was possible: release more music that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with some of their own legacy’s finest work. One of the best punk records of 2010, hands down. –Todd (Deranged)