Dead Kennedys

Reviews

Dead Kennedys Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death LP

Probably the DK’s final release, this is a greatest hits package containing all their singles, cuts from various compilations, as well as a bonus flexi and some live tracks. A really nice way to go out, and comes with a cool magazine, a page for each track.

Dead Kennedys Bedtime for Democracy LP

This 21-song album may well be the DK’s swan-song, and ironically is one of their best releases. 95% thrash, this one rages from start to finish, but also contains some of those nice little touches which make some rock’n’roll a cut above. While I haven’t really gone to a DK’S album for quite a while, this one stands out, lyrically as well as musically. “Chickenshit Conformist” is the most accurate, no-bullshit analysis of the current state of punk on record to date, a must for all concerned.

Dead Kennedys Frankenchrist LP

A classic KENNEDYS’ cover opens up to reveal a very controversial artwork poster and a record that will surprise many. Lyrically, it’s Biafra’s satire, biting as ever, and aimed at jocks, MTV, work, and the sick absurdities of bourgeois life. Most of the tunes are mid-tempo punk this time, with a couple of thrashers interspersed. But there’s a more “psychedelic” feel to many of the songs with Ray’s often-twangy guitar very cleanly produced. There’s even one (gasp!) experimental number, and also shocking, Jello actually sings (as opposed to yells) on several tracks.

Dead Kennedys A Skateboard Party LP

Contrary to the claims of a crooked East Coast distributor, this is not an “official” DEAD KENNEDYS studio album. It is a bootleg, recorded live off a radio broadcast in Munich, Germany in December 1982. The copies with the white cover have better sound quality than the copies with the blue cover. Either way, buy at your own risk.

Dead Kennedys Halloween / Saturday Night Holocaust 7″

Not one of the DK’s finer moments. “Halloween” is too rock-oriented and makes me long for the MISFITS’ song of the same name. “Holocaust” starts out like an art-damaged neo-psychedelic track on the WITCH TRIALS EP, then mercifully snaps into a fine older-type DK’s punk song. Good lyrics as usual, but…

Dead Kennedys Plastic Surgery Disasters LP

The DKs are the only group around whose new releases I approach with the same expectation, apprehension, and critical ear that I did for each new STONES record 16 years ago. You just know a lot of thought, work, and possible innovation will be invested in the grooves. Whether a self-appointed or media-chosen representative of “punk,” Biafra must be carrying a lot of weight on his shoulders. As for the record, side one is more like their live selves and more like their earlier recordings. No real let-down, though there are no immediate “classics,” either. Side two contains longer, more dramatic, and varied pieces that, while bravely breaking the norm, can be very trying. I’ll try more later. Meanwhile, the DKs keep subverting middle America. Keep it up.