I haven’t even finished reading this interview in the most recent Razorcake about the Red Dons, but dudes, I am even more stoked about this band then I was before. Right after I moved I got an email from my friend Sasha who does the Make It Happen zine. He told me I should check out this band called the Red Dons as their album Fake Meets Failure was one of his favorite albums of 2010. I checked it out and the shit was totally blistering, filled with Clash like energy, a bit of garage rock, heavy Eastern chord progressions and movements. It’s jangly, noisey, firey and pissed off. I was pretty psyched on the recommendation and the album and have been trying to steadily put it in rotation.
The problem is this blog has become a bit of a dumping ground for me to get lazy and just write record reviews. I have a list of like six albums now to review, but I have kind of stopped actually writing about music. This blog was supposed to sort of supplement that aspect of the zine, but in my unemployed state has become more of the focus of this whole project. I’m kind of mad at myself about that. I mean, there aren’t a lot of music zines actually left that I know of that aren’t fairly big productions. The photocopied zine in terms of music seems to have become less interesting to the zine reading and making public. I know, I have a hard time getting my small run of 100 issues to the public (please buy zines here). But I wanted this blog to be the place where extra stuff went, and instead it’s like a part of my daily life.
This doesn’t have a lot to do with the Red Dons, but it kind of does. Basically, after reading the first half of the interview I decided that of all the music I have heard over the last few months I have been furiously writing about music, the Red Dons are the only band I have heard that are doing something unique both musically and with in the content of their art. Pretty much any established, so-called indie act has gotten repetitive and boring and lost their sense of adventure. And while there are a few punk bands that are either great (Ceremony, the Arrivals) or who truly don’t give a fuck about anything besides Pizza, Weed, Beer and Broin’ Down (Too Many Daves), the genre as a whole has gotten very complacent in stretching itself out into new sounds. Too often musicians attracted to punk rock and DIY are much more interested in being loud, heavy, sad, angry, aggressive within the confines of a very wealthy country. No band in America really has to fight for space, it’s basically free and while not glamorous, the DIY network is pretty much secured. This leaves a lot of room for a lot of bands to be very upset in basements, squatted spaces, university’s and churches. And while I love a lot of them, and their frustration and damage resonates very deeply with my 33-year-old self, not many of them are really breaking the mold musically nor constructing a narrative outside of American suburban damage.
This is where the Red Dons are different. It helps greatly that a lot of their lyrical songs are about Third World Paranoia of the potential of being blown up. The interview in the most recent Razorcake reveals a lot of first hand experience by band members in their travels through Jordan and other Mid-East countries. Countries that, as they point out, are replete with American military and private citizens conducting capitalism experiments under the guise of NGO’s. And yet, as they say, even with all this direct involvement in said countries, America as a whole is very uninterested in them. I’m to blame too. The state of the world has me so depressed that I do everything to ignore it. I can’t barely function on a day-to-day basis as it is, but frankly, we are all deeply effected by the violence conducted on our behalf by western Governments and the Corporations whose profit margins they seek to protect and serve. Just thinking about the issues that I am not even talking about here is giving me anxiety. There is a lot of stupid, evil, vile, violent shit being conducted on our behalf, with our complicity because we are all too shit scared and terrorized by it to have any effect on it what so ever. (To all my punk, anarchist, leftists, radical friends who are brave and courageous enough to stick your necks out in this unforgiving society and actually try something, none of this applies to you. You are my heroes and I wish I had your courage, but I don’t. I suck that way.)
So we have the Red Dons who talk about the realities that sometimes opening your front door could literally kill you because you are an American in a foreign land and your neighbors hate you. They talk about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that was caused by this direct, realized, experienced psychological violence. And what I learned from this, or rather what is reinforced by listening to this music and reading this interview, is that most of the world hates me just because I was born in this country. And that pisses me off because I am just a lone dude, sitting in an apartment, trying to use too many resources, live an ethically sound life and create things that hopefully make people smile or feel better, or feel less shitty.
There are like a few bands that matter to me personally. Some of them matter to a lot of other people too. Some of them no one’s really heard of. Some of them mean so much to me and others think they are stupid. That’s all fine and dandy. I write about bands and music because I love music. It clears the noise, anxiety, stress, fear, damage and depression in my head. Sure, the sun here in Albuquerque has helped, as have the polite, friendly people. The slower pace of life, where people aren’t all evil and frantic and crazy the way they were in DC has also calmed the nerves a bit. But mostly, I just feel like if I don’t drown out all that weird, noise in my life and body I will go insane. But sometimes there are bands that really tap into that fear and energy and are both challenging and comforting. To an even lesser extent, do I think they create something that should reach outside the context of punk rock. The Red Dons are that band. Everyone needs to listen to this.
So, I don’t normally do this, but I feel this strongly about people listening to this music. Below are links to albums that were illegally uploaded by others (NOT ME so if you are in The Red Dons or put these albums out, don’t ask me to take them off the internet. I didn’t put them up. I will unlink from them but I can’t actually remove them from the internets). If you are too chicken shit to spend your money or are unemployed and too worried about money, that you don’t want to financially risk and investment you can grab their records. I have done it. I’m not that psyched about it, but the first bit of income I get will go directly to ordering all available records and merch from this band because they are that important. You can buy everything this band has recorded for $22 dollars here. And seriously, just do that. First of all, the art work is part of the experience. Part that I have yet to enjoy and I suck for that. Second, stealing music is lame and should only be tolerated, but still frowned upon for the unemployed. Unless it’s shitty indie music that is over produced and sucks anyway, or any thing on a major label because corporations suck and should be destroyed.