Fake Meets Failure

RAZORCAKE: by Dave Williams

Okay… so this is the new Red Dons LP. I should start by saying that Red Dons could very well be the best punk rock band on Earth. Death to Idealism is without question one of my favorite records of the modern era, due in no small part to its unique (and not universally loved) production. But mostly it is the songs—logical extensions of The Observers melancholic take on ‘80s East Coast punk rock, with a deeper injection of the East Bay Ray or Mike Palm lead style—that seat Red Dons atop the heap, and Fake Meets Failure boasts the band’s best songs to date. The production on the record is noticeably more aggressive than that of its predecessor, and the songs themselves are both catchier and angrier. Whether intentional or not, Doug even channels Jello on a few spoken lines on the record, perfectly complimenting the ominous, middle-eastern scale leads found throughout. Lyrically, Red Dons remain painfully jarring, both in- and outwardly, and Doug’s vocals are more haunting and pure than ever. In a year already full of great punk rock records, this is by far the best I’ve heard so far, and it’s going to be incredibly difficult to surpass. Phenomenal. –Dave Williams (Deranged)


Portland’s Red Dons are back with another prime slab of punk rock following up their unbelievable debut ‘Death To Idealism‘ that was released back in 2007 to rapturous applause in the underground scene and on this very website. Most second albums go through the mill somewhat but with the band’s history including members forming The Observers, Clorox Girls and more this was always going to be a release to wait for and the result is nothing other than pure brilliance.

From the off, Fake Meets Failure revs up its engines and delivers riffs to die for and sheer punk rock excellence. Land of Reason chugs straight into where Death To Idealism left us with blood and dirt, exploding bombs and very much in the hands of killers as vocalist Douglas Burns slams his political stances across his songs. The beauty of his offerings are not only edgy but melodic too as each song of the ten on offer here just cut into your ears and make you want to grab the lyric sheet just like your favourite punk and h/c records of old. 3rd track ‘Pariah‘ must have done the same thing for them as the band get mighty close to borrowing a few screaming riff solos from the likes of The Adolescents but knowing that this bands roots come from this world and they have taken it to a new level I guess they are allowed to fully get away with it. This only adds to the wonderful nostalgia of this record, it’s not often that bands in the naughties can replicate the quality songwriting of our leading punk rock predecessors but when it comes with bands such as Regulations and Career Suicide as another 2 examples of bands who touch that nerve it’s absolutely brilliant and people need to know they still exist.

One of the main stand outs on this record for me is ‘Pieces’. 5 tracks into the album and the hail of ‘Armageddon!’ starts one of the best punk rock songs ever written covering rejection, dejection, brutal truth and oppression all summed up in 3 minutes and 6 seconds. Another track on repeat in my car from this album is ‘Enemy Ears’ that kind of takes the very best of The Briefs and mashes it up with the force of Dead Kennedys for flavour but obviously written in Red Dons’ uniquely melodic and chuggy way.

Overall if you love hardcore and punk from the good old days, read Flipside and Maximum Rock and Roll for years and have been to see every touring band like us you are going to be stoked when you realise that those incredible records are still being made to this day. Make sure you don’t download it for free off some shit blog on the internet, go and support this band and buy a CD or a slab of their amazing vinyl that someone has made for you right now, you will not be disappointed.

RAZORCAKE: by Todd Taylor

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

The second Lp from one of my current fave bands – now that’s a great start to a bad Monday. Forget the Observers, this is THE RED DONS – listen to it with fresh new ears and stop harkening back to the past. Less dramatic and herky-jerky than their last LP, more to-the-point, driving a stomping beat that’s cloaked in darkness whilst soaking up the dense gloom of the Pacific Northwest. Take the epic heaviness of FROM ASHES RISE, dilute it to a more punk rock formula, throw in the density of the WIPERS and add some early- ‘80s LA hardcore melody, and that’s the winning concoction of the RED DONS. The first LP is great; this is amazing, less complicated, more rock with a straightforward approach that doesn’t come off as simple. Tune after tune after tune, a Scandinavian feel shines through the more I listen, with a hint of early UK82 Riot-City type punk rock. This might be my record of the year.

SOLO ES PUNK: by Mgrtn

Posiblemente uno de los discos más esperados del momento. Una nueva entrega de los Red Dons, es siempre una buena noticia y una garantía de calidad. En esta ocasión, los de Portland, siguen en la misma línea Punk de melodías tristes y voces flipantes, que ya comenzasen con los Observers; pero hay pequeñas variaciones. En general, el disco se me antoja mas lento, detalle que no beneficia mucho a un estilo tan melancólico y que hace que el oyente pueda caer en el aburrimiento, sobre todo, manteniendo, como mantienen, la larga duración de sus temas. Por otro lado, el sonido me parece más oscuro y sucio, pero también más denso y empastado. Creo que las guitarras deberían sonar más brillantes para añadir algo de color al paisaje tan gris que pintan (más como las guitarras de The Vicious). Aunque, sí lo que buscan es crear una atmósfera más pesimista, desde luego, así lo logran con creces. No obstante, pese a los cambios, hay bastantes temas que no desentonarían en su disco anterior. Y, en líneas generales, siguen manteniendo esa magia que combina con maestría Punk agresivo y potente con agónicas melodías en blanco y negro tan bien heredada de los Wipers, y tan brillantemente adaptada. Vamos, que aunque me guste más su anterior trabajo, en éste siguen demostrando que son uno de los más grandes grupos Punk del momento.


Kdybych m?l vybrat punkovou nahrávku roku 2010, byla by to deska “Fake Meets Failure” (Deranged Records) od Red Dons. Tahle skv?lá kapela z portlandské punkové líhn?, kde se sešli ?lenové The Observers prost? neponechala nic náhod? a nahrála album, které zabíjí. Stejn? jako v p?ípad? The Observers je i tady v?d?í osobností Doug Burns a a?koliv se to zdá neuv??itelné, tak op?t tahá z rukávu jedno eso za druhým. V podob? dokonale vystav?ných skladeb, které mají neskute?ná punkový drive i dokonalé melodie, je pak sází na st?l jednu po druhé a vám zbyde jen otev?ená pusa. Základ všeho je samoz?ejm? na p?elomu 70. a 80. let a když mluvíme o Portlandu, musíme nutn? zmínit Wipers, ale ti jsou tentokráte opravdu pouze výchozí bod. Red Dons si z nich berou jejich p?ímo?arost i melancholii, což byla kombinace, kterou odstartovala jedna celá kapitola punkové historie a sami k tomu p?idávají ješt? tvrdost a totální hitové pasáže. Hlavn? n?které kytarové nápady jsou prost? skv?lé, jak vyst?ižené z u?ebnice hc / punku a p?itom totáln? sv?ží. Tenhle ?erstvý vítr p?inesl do kapely p?edevším její nový ?len, kterým není nikdo jiný než Will, kytarista a zp?vák Born/Dead. Spolu s hlavním kouzelníkem Dougem, Justinem z Clorox Girls a Hajji Husaynem vytovo?ili neuv??iteln? kompaktní kapelu, která se poslední rok pravideln? objevuje v osobních žeb?í?cích punks po celém sv?t? jako jedna z nejlepších živých hc / punk kapel sou?asnosti. Jestli máte rádi Wipers, Undertones, Adolescents, Joy Division, ale i anglické kapely jako Adicts, 999 ?i Leatherface, budete Red Dons milovat.


Wer die WIPERS und ADOLESCENTS mag, findet hier neues Futter für den unersättlichen Plattenspieler. Die RED DONS aus Portland bestehen aus Mitgliedern der OBSERVERS und CLOROX GIRLS. Das hört man natürlich. Der apfel fällt nicht weit vom Stamm. Die Musik strahlt vor allem eins aus: Schönheit. Die Songs sind geprägt vom Gitarren-Punk der WIPERS, den wunderschönen Melodien und Chören des 77er-PowerPop/Punkrocks a la BRIEFS und einer immer latent mitschwingenden Melancholie. Bands wie THE VICIOUS und MASSHYSTERI aus Schweden haben uns diesen Sound ebenfalls näher gebracht. Und natürlich die IDLE HANDS aus Deutschland, denen die RED DONS hier sehr nahe kommen. Die Gitarren-Akrobatik ist beeindruckend. Wenn man morgens nach dem Aufstehen als Erstes die „Fake meets failure“ LP auflegt, dann durchzieht sofort ein angenehmer Hauch von Schönheit und Zufriedenheit den Raum. Klasse LP in 3-farbigem Siebdruckcover + Downloadcode. Micha.- (Taken By Surprise Rec. / www.mailorders.de)


When the single “Pariah” surfaced shortly before this second Red Dons LP was dropped my expectations for Fake Meets Failure skyrocketed. I have played the first Red Dons album, Death to Idealism, to death and happily looked forward to more material. Fake Meets Failure shattered my expectations. The Red Dons have shed a little of the eccentric quality of their first record and written 10 tracks of driving three and four chord punk. As many jangly leads as the first record but with a slightly thicker sound and a bit more pulsing. The first few seconds of this record are sampled from the last few seconds of Death to Idealism; the eerie tinkering of a toy piano. Vocals here are a mix of fairly impressive melodic reaches and shouting. Every song on this record is worthy of being a single.


Ok people I’ve been gone for some time now but I now work at a record store and should have new records to review constantly. This hot little platter serves up some new fresh tunes from Red Dons who have been turning heads and stroking shafts with their catchy punk tunes with a slew of impressive releases. This record will please those fans of Red Dons but also throw them a few curve balls, like a beautiful intelligent woman who ends up being a transvestite; she’s still hot, it’s just different now…. Anyway! Red Dons play their rockin catchy tunes but throw in some new elements. At times it gets a little surfy and the song “Pariah” sounds like it could have been an Adolescents song, at least musically. The singer’s voice continues to sound like a fine silk being slowly draped across a barely legal teenage girl’s body, not relying on the “whoas” so much this time around. Bottom line if you dug their previous material this will titillate you with familiarity and keep you interested (like your cousin you accidentally hooked up before you realized who they were and you still think about them from time to time). If you haven’t heard them, this is a great place to start.

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