Editor's Rating

6.5

Seemingly permanently entrenched in the fringes of the independent scene, Blonde Redhead have been with us for 23 years now, releasing nine albums for four different record labels.

On 30 September The Numero group are releasing Masculin féminin, a two disc compilation consisting of their first two albums and a load of other contemporary material that Blonde Redhead recorded for Steve Shelley’s Smells Like Records label in 1995. Very much a noise rock band at the time, those that thrill at vocal yelps and walls of guitar noise will find much to admire from Blonde Redhead’s early work, particularly the radio sessions, where what little production their studio material received is stripped off entirely.

Despite being a trio for the majority of their career, both their self titled debut and La Mia Vita Violenta were recorded as a four piece, with a different bass player on each.

This era of Blonde Redhead found them at their most fierce and uncompromising, while still searching for a sound all of their very own, instead of the noise rock style that had already been perfected by the likes of Sonic Youth. Masculin féminin is essential listening for those who wanted to know what American alternative rock sounded like in the mid-90s outside of the grunge and college-rock movements, and also serves as a handy catch-all release for those completists that have struggled to obtain material from Blonde Redhead’s early days.