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Various Artists

Virus 100: Dead Kennedy Covers

Format: CD   Release Date: 12/02/2013
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Leave it to Jello Biafra -- he is the only one who could get away with putting together a tribute to his label and his band (the Dead Kennedys) and not come off as egotistical. Actually, Virus 100 is a fitting tribute to an era of punk rock that is long gone. The participants are not afraid to put their own unique stamp on the songs that they cover, and it emphasizes the widespread influence of Biafra's musical vision. Nomeansno put in an a cappella version of "Forward to Death" that needs to be heard to be believed. Napalm Death rages through "Nazi Punks Fuck Off," but despite being one of the fastest bands on earth, they do not beat the original version's one-minute time frame. Faith No More turns "Let's Lynch the Landlord" into lounge jazz, Mojo Nixon turns "Winnebago Warrior" into country, and Kramer even turns "Insight" into chamber music! All of these efforts are very good, but the most interesting turn is the Disposable Heroes of Hipoprisy's amazing remake of "California Uber Alles." Already one of the strongest numbers in the Kennedys' book, rapper Michael Franti updates the song for California governor Pete Wilson, twisting the hardcore anthem into a Public Enemy-style affair. Elsewhere, Alice Donut, Sepultura, Neurosis, the Didjits, and Steel Pole Bath Tub put in respectable, faithful renditions of Kennedys classics. Only L7's uninspired take on "Let's Lynch the Landlord and Victims Family's dull "Ill in the Head" drag the album down, and they are easily forgotten when held against the rest of the album. This is a fitting tribute to an underrated band and serves as an excellent introduction to their music. ~ Bradley Torreano, Rovi

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