Bands

RED DONS

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In 2006, Douglas Burns (The Observers) and Hajji Husayn (Clorox Girls) teamed up to launch the Vagabond Sound Music Collective. Red Dons are the principle band of this collective which has also included The Revisions and The Chemicals. Along with Burns and Husayn, the Red Dons have featured a multitude of members. Richard Joachim (Revisions) has played drums for the project since 2007. Zach Brooks (Piss Test, Scott Baio Army), Will Kinser (No More Art, Born/Dead), Andy Foote (Physical Challenge), and Justin Maurer (Clorox Girls) have all played guitar in the group. Derek Willman (The Estranged, From Ashes Rise, Hellshock) has recorded and preformed bass with the Red Dons. TV Smith (Adverts), Jonny Cat (The Chemicals, Cyclops, Triggers) and Jim McCann (Tyrades) have all recorded vocals with the band. However, those recordings are currently unreleased. Jesse Micheals (Operation Ivy), and John Nuclear (The Insaniacs) have both contributed lyrics to the project. Derek Skokan (Revisions) was the Red Dons drummer in 2006 and appears on the Escaping Amman EP.

The band is named after a group of once highly respected British Intelligence Officers who were later revealed to be Soviet spies. Kim Philby, Anthony Blunt, Guy Burgess, and Don MacClean all meet as students at Cambridge University in the 1920′s. What is known publicly about them (also known as the Cambridge Four/Five) is cloudy at best, but it is suggested that during World War II they were responsible for passing misinformation to the Nazis. During the Cold War it is suspected that they passed valuable information to the Soviets. Despite having close ties to the Queen and the British government Burgess, MacClean, and Philby all eventually defected to the Soviet Union adding more intrigue and mystery to their story. Learn more about the original Red Dons at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge_Five

Reviews of FAKE MEETS FAILURE:
3 reviews from RAZORCAKE #60 ‘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 Taylor

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

From what I manage to find online, this appears to be a “collective” founded by a member of The Observers and a member of Clorox Girls, and features a rotating lineup of members from those bands, Born/Dead, Scott Baio Army, and others. The music, for the most part, stays firmly in mid-tempo, but they pull out all the stops and crank out some grade-A quality punk rock with much intelligence and rock solid songwriting in evidence. We’re roughly past the year’s half-way mark, but I can totally see this making its way onto a lot of top ten lists come December. –Jimmy Alvarado

MRR #329
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.

RAZORCAKE #58 1st review:
From what i manage to find online, this appears to be a “collective” founded by a member of The Observers and a member of Clorox Girls, and features a rotating lineup of members from those bands, Born/Dead, Scott Baio Army, and others.  The music, for the most part, stays firmly in mid-tempo, but they pull out all the stops and crank out some grade-A quality punk rock with much intelligence and rock solid songwriting in evidence.  We’re roughly past the year’s half-way mark, but i can totally see this making its way onto a lot of top ten lists come December.

RAZORCAKE #58 2nd review
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 favourite 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 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 its going to be incredibly difficult to surpass.  Phenomenal.


CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE: 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.

 

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RED DONS

FAKE MEETS FAILURE

Date: 05.26.10

Format: LP/CD/DD

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