THE DONNER PARTY, "COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1987-1989"
Before going on to bepivotal members of such bands as the San Francisco Seals and Quasi, thetrio that was San Francisco's Donner Party released two albums, to verylittle attention.
On this double Cd, those two long out-of-print albumsappear in their entirety, along with a previously unreleased thirdalbum (all self-titled, by the way). Taking inspiration from folk,rock, and the more oddball indie rock that was happening at the time(The Meat Puppets and Minutemen, for example), The Donner Party craftedcatchy indie rock. Sometimes humorous and playful ("Would You Like ToHave Something To Eat?"), occasionally frightening, such as on theschizophrenic ramblings of "Chocolate Shake." Showing their progressionfrom Husker Du-inspired edgy punk-pop of early Donner Party, to themore experimental leanings of their later stuff, this compilation is agreat showcase to an often over-looked band. Tracks such as "Notker TheStammerer", clearly the blueprint bands such as Soul Asylum and Swellfollowed, rock hard without devolving into childishness plagued by someof their material. Maybe it's that divide, between Dead Milkman-likeimmaturity and honest punk-pop tunes with loads of hooks, that made TheDonner Party not get the attention they deserved (a lot of people,critics especially, like their music straightforward, with nosurprises). Let's hope with the re-release of this old material,history will be corrected.