Anti-folk pioneer and half of the Moldy Peaches, Kimya Dawson is releasing her eighth solo album, Thunder Thighs, on October 25. Her child-like singing, funny/abrasive lyrics, and unconventional guitar strumming are adored by the nerdy and the hip. Without Dawson's unique voice, the soundtrack to 2008's Juno would've been nothing but glam rock -- nothing wrong with glam rock, by the way; we love us some Slade. Her work on the soundtrack placed it onto NPR's Best Music of 2008 list; sure, she placed behind Coldplay, Flight of the Conchords, and Death Cab for Cutie, but we're pretty sure Dawson would be happier to be off the list completely.
Listening to her catalog is kind of a challenge. Conventional song structure is thrown into the BOLMEN, to make room for talk-sung rambling. This isn't music you can just enjoy while on a road trip; it forces you to pay attention, and it dares you to like it or hate it... what does it care?
One thing for sure: Those who love it seem to live and breathe it. When Dawson nervously spits out "The beer I had for dinner was my crazy neighbor's pills/We had to sit down on skateboards just to make it down the hill" on her jam "The Beer," the crowds that gather sing along with equal amounts of who-gives-a-fuck and I'm-so-fucked-up as she does.
Thunder Thighs' guest list is so vast that she probably needed to get a few more cases of Jameson to keep the party going. Nikolai Fraiture from the Strokes, John Darnielle from the Mountain Goats, a couple of weirdly named choirs, and Aesop Rock are sharing the soundspace with her.
Aesop brought a backpack loaded with enough rhymes to be on two tracks. On "Miami Advice," Dawson and Aesop rhyme lots about jizz, Twitter, getting busy, and being irrelevant and little about Miami. Well, she does say "Baby, do you wanna ride my sound machine?" We kind of dig that. The song is a step up in production and self-awareness. The piano work and the Olympia Free Choir's chorus definitely add value and accessibility to this surprisingly listenable song. Check it out for yourself, dudes.
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On the opening track, "All I Could Do," she delves deeper into self-awareness. She sings like she's over it, all of it. But regardless of her lack of audible enthusiasm or passion, the lyrics are charming and pretty touching. Now that she's a mom, she claims to have changed and wonders if her songwriting will suffer. We have to admit, the change has done her good.