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Kimya Dawson
Knock-Knock Who
&
I'm Sorry That Sometimes I'm Mean

 

By Herb Reichert
Click here to e-mail reviewer

CD Stock Number: unknown

 

  ("I am nobody's hippie and the best medicine is back on track with his Taco Bell girlfriend... maybe I'll listen to Back in Black again... we'll never feel crappy we'll always be happy and you and me will be whirlwinds of danger we'll crash on our bikes and take candy from strangers")

Once your addiction to The Moldy Peaches music becomes full on, there will soon come a point where you will need to increase the dosage and the intensity of creative songwriting in your daily life. And, the only way to do that is to graduate to the Kimya Dawson's solo CDs. Ms. Dawson is the Peaches' lead singer-songwriter, she also collaborates with other talented artists from the East Village cabaret scene and, as demonstrated here, makes superb solo CDs. 

("It's your birthday, drink your pee, take off your shirt day… little chicken-headed super hero laugh loud mean child... doesn't eat a fish today") 

Kimya Dawson cried three times while she sang and I watched. Tears poured down her cheeks. She sings like she wishes nobody were watching. But then when she sings, I can't move my limbs because I am stunned like a doe in the headlamps because there is no empty space between her visions. There is no filler in her songs. Watching her sing is like watching someone try to pull a spear out of their heart. (When it finally gets pulled loose, the whole audience gets splattered with blood.)

Kimya Dawson strums a guitar as softly as possible and sings so quietly (in this tiny little fragile voice) that it makes you uncomfortable. And while she is strumming and choking on her tears, the dark lyrical purity of her expression is digging its way into your psyche. By the third song she has a deathly grip on the spear in your heart. She gets inside your value system, shifts your paradigm, changes your humanity and now, you can't get her out. Best of all, (you little chicken-headed super hero) you are now a more lighthearted person for having her in there. 

When she talked to me after the show, I wanted to put her under my coat and kidnap her. I wanted to sleep in the back of a car with her. She is the quintessential bohemian artist. She is what Joni Mitchell promised to be but never delivered. She is what almost every smoky nightclub jazz chanteuse wishes she could be -- authentic. She is the artist-poet-skateboard girl. And, most importantly, she is a very delicate human sensing device. She is like the only real human on a planet full of androids. What makes her and her music so unique and amazing is her undiluted humanity -- and her sex. (In her songs, sex is treated like a natural extension of a childlike friendship.)

The problem with most every contemporary female vocalist is (that) they are always pretending to be something that they are not. They are pretending to be highly feminine sophisticated sexual, love-lost artists with their hearts on their sleeves. They are always pretending that they actually feel something. They pretend that they are singing about love that actually happened to them but all they really are about is vocalizing, STYLE and selling records. This same agenda can be applied to 90% of the blues singers out there today. But Kimya Dawson succeeds by simply being true to herself and her intrinsic humanness. She succeeds by being tender and vulnerable and sexy in a way I've always dreamed of (and speculated about) but almost never encountered. She shows me what she feels and she makes me want to feel it too. She shows me what she loves and makes me love it.

The only musical artist I can honestly compare her to is Judy Garland. (They are similar emotionally, not stylistically.) Also, when I heard her sing at the Sidewalk Café, I couldn't help but think that Kimya Dawson may be the present-day New York equivalent of Edith Piaf. Live and on record, she has that same caliber of feminine presence. 

Her music is 100% raw and intense. It is recorded in the most basic and primitive of environments. No 24-96. No fancy mic setups. In fact, if audiophile quality sound is of any importance to you just stop reading now. However, if you want to be the first on your block to discover the next Joan Baez /Edith Pief, just order these CDs immediately. 

The reason why I think Kimya Dawson is such a profound and original musical artist is not so much that she sings from the heart -- lots of singer's do that. Or, that she writes great songs. Lots of people do that too. It is because her lyrics are not for pretend. They are never ersatz. ("light as a feather stiff as a board") She is never trying to be something she is not. Her songs are never about trying to impress her audience with her ability to sing or write. Her agenda is not her career. 

Neither of these two solo collections is better than the other. They only cost $5 direct so why even think about which one to buy? Both are more intense and even less commercial than the Moldy Peaches collaboration. Singing alone, Kimya flexes her humanity more. Solo, her ability to become authentically intimate with her audience is enhanced. The way she grabs your heart is almost scary and nearly unprecedented. Come on people -- take a chance and let my new summer love, Kimya Dawson punch your psyche up to the next level. I promise, she'll be the perfect antidote to all them living dead jazz singers you've been listening to.

 

May be purchased directly from:

Kimya Dawson
c/o Pro-Anti
Cooper Station
P.O. Box 282
New York, NY 10276

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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