The Donnas: Early Singles: 1995-1999 (Real Gone) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, September 28th, 2023  

The Donnas

Early Singles: 1995-1999

Real Gone

May 31, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

In the course of about 10 years, Palo Alto, California band, The Donnas, morphed from a teenage Ramones to a grown-up Guns N’ Roses, a transformation that thrilled listeners and audiences from its start to its dissolution in the early 2010s. For Record Store Day 2023, Real Gone Music, utmost purveyor of lost songs and forgotten records, released this compilation of the band’s early singles, a hodgepodge of raw high school bratty punk anthems and cover tunes that provides the perfect complement to the band’s seven full length albums.

Paired with liner notes commentary by the band, the songs on Early Singles showcase The Donnas at the very beginning, when they were recording after hours in a Mail Boxes Etc. Songs like “High School Yum Yum” and “Let’s Rab!” are amateur slabs of lo-fi exuberance, and that’s what makes them so fun. The band sounds like it was having a blast and, in turn, the listener does too.

The originals on this 14-track compilation get only slightly more polished as the band graduates (no pun intended) from DIY releases to Lookout! Records in the late ‘90s, but the raucousness remains. The final five tracks of Early Singles compiles the early cover versions the band found its own way of perfecting, often bettering the original—Ace Frehley’s “Speeding Back to My Baby,” The Sweet’s “Wig Wam Bam,” Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out,” Kiss’ “Strutter,” and REO Speedwagon’s “Keep On Loving You.”

All in all, Early Singles is a welcome collection of these early 7-inch tracks and assorted covers, all in one place. It represents a crucial growth spurt (sorry) for the band, and ends right where it’s big time recordings begin. Nobody did teenage Ramones better. (

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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