February 7th, 2015 | Album reviews

Really Red
Teaching You the Fear: The Complete Discography, 1979-1985
Alternative Tentacles

From Houston, Really Red was four guys who could not only snarl—they could skronk just as good as they walk, mutating over the inconsiderable span of two albums and a handful of other recordings into the first Texas punk band to make any stir outside the Lone Star State. Windbags fond of claiming U.S. punk wasn’t just as polluted by Eighties leftist politics as its Anglo cousin seriously dislike having joints like “Starvation Dance” and “Youth Culture for Sale” pounded through their ears like Van Helsing’s stake, but that’s no reason not to do it to them anyway. Band members were older than average and mainman U-Ron Bond had priceless experience with the MC5 and the 13th Floor Elevators playing in front of his face. At their very best, RR was as focused and compulsively listenable as the Minutemen, but their critique much sharper and—unlike the Clash—they weren’t being cute about their politics. True to the name, Really Red was far too unironically left-wing and liberationist not merely for MTV, but for even the narrowest-gauge Eighties rock stardom. And the band, to their everlasting credit, appeared not to give the first fuck for any of that. That more than any other reason is why part of the secret history of American hardcore—the one as yet unwritten by fanboys and pop-narcs—is right here on these 44 tracks, with some ace liners to prove it. Included are lyrics so that no point may be missed.

—Ron Garmon