Acoustic Sounds

The Donnas

Get Skintight

Music

Sound

The Donnas

Label: Real Gone Music

Produced By: Jeff McDonald and Steve McDonald

Engineered By: Robert Shimp and Paul Fourges

Mixed By: Jeff McDonald, Steve McDonald, Robert Shimp, and The Donnas

Mastered By: Mike Milchner (Sonic Vision)

Lacquers Cut By: Harrison Hunt (Well Made Music)

By: Dylan Peggin

December 31st, 2023

Format:

Vinyl

The Donnas Offered The Best of Both Worlds with “Get Skintight.”

Real Gone Music continues to reissue the female rockers’ early catalog

The turn of the millennium was a promising time for The Donnas. Churning out an album a year, consecutive tours and placements in film soundtracks established a respectable platform for the Palo Alto female rockers fresh out of high school. The steady productivity, both on and off the road, allowed the girls to evolve. The female Ramones stylings of their self-titled debut and the sleazier glam rock sound of American Teenage Rock ‘n’ Roll Machine are almost total opposites. Both records were successful dabblings in the respective genres, but they were slowly honing what would become their signature sound. Having signed to notable West Coast punk label Lookout Records, it wouldn’t be long before the group started outgrowing its distribution reach. 


Get Skintight, released in the summer of 1999, bridged the gap between The Donnas’ punk rock origins and the steady hard rock sound they’d fully embrace. “Skintight” and “Hyperactive” kick the album off with frantic intensity. “You Don’t Wanna Call,” a mid-paced ballad about a boy’s disinterest, marked a sign of maturity in the group’s repertoire. Normalcy returns with the high-octane energy of “Hook It Up” and “Party Action.” The sinister shuffle of “Searching the Streets” adds dark contrast to the usual juvenile tendencies of The Donnas’ lyrics. “I Didn’t Like You Anyway” contains AC/DC style riffs and some of Brett Anderson’s most passionate vocals. The Donnas tip the hat to their influences with a note-for-note rendition of Motley Crue’s “Too Fast for Love.” The crunching, slow riff on the outro for “Zero” is perhaps the heaviest the group ever got on record; such an explosive finale to a dynamite record. 

Pre-existing and new audiences are clambering for The Donnas’ body of work long after the group’s disbandment about a decade ago. 2023 is the year Real Gone Music did due diligence to the group’s Lookout catalog with a series of reissues, alongside a singles compilation for Record Store Day. The days of scoping the market for scarce original pressings are of a bygone era, and finally so!

Recording at San Francisco’s Toast Studios instead of friends’ homes and warehouses prior gives Get Skintight a slightly refined sound. However, it maintains a “rough and ready” quality that doesn’t serve as a demerit. The Donnas do what they do best, and there’s no need to muck around with subtle intricacies. By this point, the group had a checklist of musical trademarks: Allison Robertson’s double-tracked guitars, gang vocals, and plenty of cowbell. These are all featured prominently in a full blaze of glory. Harrison Hunt of Well Made Music mastered this pressing in a way that shines a light on the rhythm section of drummer Torry Castellano and bassist Maya Ford. Castellano’s drum sound gives the album the air for the instrumentation to breathe, and Ford’s root-derivative bass lines glue everything together.


Sound quality aside, the packaging of this reissue offers exclusivity and more bang for the buck. The original double-sided insert of lyrics and a photo collage reformats itself to a four-panel insert with new band commentary. The standard-weight “hyperactive pink” vinyl, exclusive to Zia Records and limited to 300 copies, comes housed in an audiophile-grade rice paper inner sleeve bearing Gotta Groove Records’ logo. Once again, Real Gone Music continuously sets the gold standard for their line of Donnas reissues. 

Vocalist Brett Anderson has stated that Get Skintight is “probably the one that’s most like The Donnas in a way.” The album that packs in the essence of the group is rightfully in the hands of the people once again.

Music Specifications

Catalog No: RGM-1625

Pressing Plant: Gotta Groove Records

Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Weight: 140 grams

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Presentation: Single LP

Comments

  • 2024-01-02 04:30:12 AM

    tim davis wrote:

    Thanks for this piece. I gotta open up my copy & give it a spin. I'd also like to reiterate my appreciation to Tracking Angle for turning me on to not only The Donnas reissues but Real Gone Music in general. Their compilation of Little Willie John is so good.

  • 2024-01-05 01:38:53 PM

    Silk Dome Mid wrote:

    Real Gone Music also has "The Donnas: Early Singles 1995-1999" on dark purple vinyl available for preorder.