Masculin Feminin [Box Set]

Album Review of Masculin Feminin [Box Set] by Blonde Redhead.

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Masculin Feminin [Box Set]

Blonde Redhead

Masculin Feminin [Box Set] by Blonde Redhead

Release Date: Sep 30, 2016
Record label: Numero
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Experimental Rock

72 Music Critic Score
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Masculin Feminin [Box Set] - Very Good, Based on 9 Critics

The Guardian - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

The early recordings of this trio, formed in New York in 1993 by Italian twins Amedeo and Simone Pace and Japanese singer Kazu Makino, are as cosmopolitan as you’d expect. They sucked up the literate post-grunge angst of Pavement – and how decadent that irony and self-regard sounds in the Trump era! – but, a little like Stereolab or The Sea and Cake, gave it a real shimmy by hinting at bossa nova amid the garage rock. The band’s first two albums are collected here, along with 19 extra tracks (including a KCRW session of crystalline poise), and their jazz sensibility means their songs can be loose to the point of slackness – but at every impetuous right turn, there’s another kick-ass riff, tom-tom flurry or singsong melody to tighten them back up again.

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AllMusic - 80
Based on rating 8/10
80

Before they made intricate, transporting pop for labels like 4AD, Blonde Redhead took inspiration from '70s no wave and released singles and albums on Smells Like Records, the label of Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley. This connection between the bands led some to call Blonde Redhead derivative, but in hindsight -- and especially on this collection -- the elements that endured in their music and made it special are what stand out. Another installment in Numero Group's 200 Line reissue series, Masculin Feminin gathers the band's first two albums, Blonde Redhead and La Mia Vita Violenta, which arrived in a prolific burst of creativity in 1995, as well as a generous amount of singles, rarities, and radio performances.

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Exclaim - 80
Based on rating 8/10
80

Over the past few years, Numero Group has unearthed out-of-print discographies from '80s and '90s gems like the Scientists, Bedhead and Codeine, bringing these nearly forgotten groups a whole new audience, and most importantly, a new home on vinyl. But much like the Chicago label's terrific White Zombie collection, released in June, Masculin Féminin focuses exclusively on the early years from NYC indie noise combo Blonde Redhead. This sprawling 37-track collection focuses on the band's first two albums, Blonde Redhead and La Mia Vita Violenta — both released in 1995 and both released through Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley's Smells Like record label.

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Pitchfork - 73
Based on rating 7.3/10
73

As the band that convinced Nirvana to sign to DGC Records, Sonic Youth were one of the immediate beneficiaries of Nevermind’s game-changing success. They may not have received an official finder’s fee, but the spillover spoils were undeniable: heavier MTV rotation, six-figure record sales, and enough Letterman appearances to usurp Paul Shaffer as the house band. But, at the same time, Sonic Youth’s talent-scout acumen wasn’t just a boon to the DGC A&R department.

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PopMatters - 70
Based on rating 7/10
70

For fans of prolific New York-based trio Blonde Redhead, Christmas has come early. Months early, in fact. The genre-blending outfit have put out this, their tenth full-length release, and listeners will (and should) be frothing at the mouth. Despite its somewhat unfamiliar name, Masculin Féminin (the title is actually a reference to Jean-Luc Godard’s 1966 film of the same name), this record is a compilation album, comprised mainly of material which will already be familiar to the band’s fans.

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Magnet - 60
Based on rating 3/5
60

Masculin Féminin La Mia Via Violenta. Blonde Redhead.

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Record Collector - 60
Based on rating 3/5
60

Masculin Féminin La Mia Via Violenta. Blonde Redhead.

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The Line of Best Fit
Their review was very positive

Luckily for 4AD, when they signed Blonde Redhead they had caught the New York City band at their creative peak. But they were hardly unknown on the scene as the core trio of the Pace brothers from Italy and Kazu Makino of Japan had spent a decade honing their majestic pop. However, their rough-edged early demos, singles, radio performances and first two albums on former Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley’s Smells Like Records imprint have languished in obscurity for many years.

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Dusted Magazine
Their review was positive

Blonde Redhead — Masculin Féminin (Numero Group)Back in the 1990s when Blonde Redhead came along, the New York rock scene was somewhat diminished from its heyday. In the late 1980s, spurred by early adopters like Sonic Youth, Swans and the like, skewed rock bands such as Live Skull, Pussy Galore, Phantom Tollbooth, and many more churned out great records. The early 1990s saw the next wave: Cop Shoot Cop, Boss Hog, Surgery, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion… But then things dwindled for a while, at least as seen and heard from afar.

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