Dead Kennedys

Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death

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Hounded by political enemies and reaching their personal breaking point, the Kennedys bowed with a retrospective of some of their fiercest, finest moments. If one needs a starting point for the band's fierce, funny assault on any level of complacency imaginable, Give Me Convenience is indeed as convenient as it gets. Focusing for the most part on non-album cuts or various rarities, it appeals to hardcore Dead Kennedys fans as well as neophytes. The collection includes some of the band's earliest greats, like the legendary rant "Too Drunk to Fuck," as withering a depiction of getting trashed and stupid as any. While the definitive "California Über Alles" and "Holiday in Cambodia" make the cut from the first album, there are also plenty of more obscure and unknown goodies. The second half features live tracks like the hilarious "Pull My Strings," which vivisects typical rock star pomposity (knowingly quoting the Knack's "My Sharona") before shifting into an even nuttier chorus. Another screamingly funny number is the improv "Night of the Living Rednecks," done "while Ray was changing strings" at an Oregon date in 1979. After threatening to play the theme from the Dinah Shore show, the remaining three members light into something resembling a beat/'50s hep groove, only with Biafra recalling a tale of idiots encountered during a previous visit to Portland. Meanwhile, there's a version of "I Fought the Law," which easily trumps the Clash's version, helped by a lyric change or two along the way. Messy, nutty, and fun, Convenience is a treat and a half.

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