Various Artists

Dread Kennedys: A Tribute to Dead Kennedys

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In these tribute-happy times, it was only a matter of time before we'd see one devoted to the mandarins of post-hardcore punk, the Dead Kennedys. What was less predictable was that it would take this form: a collection of DK covers performed according to the artists' varying interpretations of the dub reggae tradition. Be forewarned: this is not the drugged, mystical dub that fans of King Tubby and Lee "Scratch" Perry know and love. That's not what you get when you let Pigface, Meg Lee Chin, or Sheep on Drugs loose in the studio. Instead, these tracks are mostly highly aggressive, techno-laced takes on the dub tradition, and the songs are, for the most part, pretty unrecognizable. Sheep On Drugs' cover of "California Uber Alles" is a bracing piece of aggro-junglism in which only the phrase "California uber alles" is distinguishable from rest of the heavily treated vocal track; in the hands of Bagman, "Drug Me" takes the form of a sort of death-and-bass sonic maelstrom; the immortal anti-Reagan creed "Kill the Poor" is muttered by Attrition in a sepulchral voice reminiscent of Andrew Fairley over a disappointingly pedestrian trip-hop beat. Most of this stuff is a hoot, though, and more than half of the tracks are genuinely inspired. Recommended.

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