Thursday, March 11, 2010

Kimya Dawson - Remember That I Love You

For startsies, the film Juno isn't how I found about the music of Kimya Dawson, The Moldy Peaches, or even Antsy Pants. You see, all I care about deep down is the maintenance of my credit as a deeply subversive, blindingly hip outsider who enjoyed certain things "before they were cool" back in high school, I was friends with a lovely little musky-aroma'd, axillary hair-unshaven, veggie-consuming, environmentalist lass with what I can tell now, a lot more maturity than I had at the time (as well as a lot more lofty idealism and conviction, but that's another matter for a more "bloggy" blog than this'un) and a great love of the anti-folk movement. After exchanging a few mix-tapes (that were actually CD-Rs, but I'm a romantic), she finally handed me one filled to the diameter's edge with her favorite Kimya Dawson songs. Being relatively unfamiliar with folk of any suit at the time, I was hooked instantly and proceeded to gobble up everything I could find of her's.

A few months later, the album on the left was released, and I immediately loved it from beginning to end. Come 2007, Juno features a few songs from here on the soundtrack and all the hepcats are shitting themselves over the infringement of their sacred territory. Listening to her catalog again for the first time in close to 2 years, I'm still impressed by what I hear. After the decidedly more hi-fidelity, full sound of 2004's critically acclaimed Hidden Vagenda, Remember That I Love You sounds like a retreat to the minimalism of her earlier works but still pulling the guest-instruments in tow including ukulele, vocal harmonies, mandolin, and chimey, unringing keyboards - all encased in a warm production style that's clean as it is claustrophobic.

Getting waaaay ahead of myself there, but if you've never heard any of Kimya Dawson's material, it's a pretty subdued and bare, acoustic folk sound (no scratched cords) accented by various low-key instruments and sweet, childish vocals bespeaking lots of clever, sometimes abstract, but mostly personal lyrics loaded with cultural references and commentary on the US's socio-political ongoings.
In my mind, Remember That I Love You is Kimya's best album for one simple reason: the songs are all great. Each one is memorable, sonically interesting and digestible, accessible and fully developed. Plus, it aces on a nostalgic level. A few tracks in and I'm sitting on the aforementioned girl's porch assessing our friend's descents into drug abuse and rehabilitation. RIP SNORTIN' FUN! I can see this stuff not being your thing if you're a fan of the more left field crazy shit I post here regularly, but if you're having an identity crisis, check this out.

Also: even if I hated Juno (which I can't say I do, despite it being eye-rollingly stylized indie dork fodder), Ellen Page is adorably boyish and looks sprite as a 12 year old.

(a comment that proved most insightful years later as a gangly, bloodied and battered Steve Hughes was escorted from his shelter in the woods to court on counts of homosexual pedophilia)

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