Went to see Juno today and I really liked its heart, which thankfully cut through all the oppressively snappy precocious dialogue. (While nicely written, I could have done without the screenwriter squeezing all the cool pop culture she knows into the tiny body of an adolescent. I knew a few things when I was 16 but I could not possibly imagine my 16 year-old self telling an adult--particularly an adult I already perceived to be cool--that I knew more than he did about punk music or legendary cult horror film directors. I would tell my parents that, sure--as I was peeling out of their driveway in their Pontiac 6000--but when I was around grown-ups with cool record or movie collections I was a patient sponge. So, in movies and TV shows, I can suspend disbelief over all kinds of scripted conversational loop-de-loops, but my jaw tenses up and my shoulders creep north when I hear an on-screen teenage character recite lines like, "Are you kidding? Dario Argento is my GOD!!")
One of the things I really loved about the film was its choice of music. A well-curated pop soundtrack means a lot to me, and I was really happy to hear Juno dominated by the music of Kimya Dawson. I thought it was a very fitting soundtrack for a character who protects her soft heart with humor and irony.
I've been a fan of Kimya's music for a long time, I think ever since buying the self-released Moldy Peaches album on consignment at Other Music in NYC. A few years ago, when Bob and I were still putting up How to Kick People (sigh), Kimya was nice enough to perform a few songs on one of our shows. It was a pretty big thrill for me, and she was as nice and totally without guile as her music might suggest. It was one of the few shows we ever recorded for posterity and I'd been meaning to post Kimya's contributions for a long time anyway, so this seemed as good a time as any. Maybe even a better time than any.
A couple notes about these recordings:
- We recorded directly from the mic line, which was good and bad. It was good because the quality of sound on that mic is really nice, but bad because we didn't have a separate track for her mic'd guitar or for the audience, so it's hard to hear their applause except from those people sitting closest to the stage.
- The theme of that show was "international male," which you might hear Kimya reference once or twice between songs.
- I cut out a bunch of her in-between song banter. While I really enjoyed hearing it, as did the audience, I was afraid some of its meaning might be lost out of context, and I was trying to keep the songs intact and as pure as possible.
- Kimya performed four songs in all, but I decided to only include three of them. I didn't do this because one of the songs was weaker or anything--it wasn't--but because I think you should always keep something precious, something the live audience was able to experience in the moment that can't be replicated. Gay, I know.
- I emailed Kimya to make sure she was OK with me posting these. I suspect she's pretty busy these days but if she tells me she's not cool with these MP3s being posted, they're coming down.
I hope you like them. I think you will.
- Kimya Dawson - Viva La Persistence
- Kimya Dawson - My Heroes
- Kimya Dawson - Being Cool