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Intellectual House o' Pancakes Webdiary

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2008-01-31 - 12:02 p.m.

Like I'm Not There, I have already decided that Be Kind Rewind is my favorite movie of the year. Seeing it will just be a technicality.

This "sweded" version of the trailer only confirms this. I may also have to see the related exhibit at the always amusing Deitch gallery. (That link has loud-ish music, you are warned).

I am also excited about reading this somewhat unusual children's book that just won the Newbury Award (amidst widespread public cries of "WTF?"). I have one on hold at the Beep. Will advise.

Because the relentlessly twee Juno soundtrack is the number one record in all the land this week, I was assigned to review all the previous albums by Moldy Peaches, Kimya Dawson, and Adam Green. It was an interesting journey.

I have a Forrest Gump-like association with those artists--if the NYC "antifolk" scene of the late '90s was high school, they were juniors while I was a senior, with senioritis and one foot out the door already. So their heydey coincided with a time that I was feeling quite over the whole lo-fi thing.

Listening to their entire recorded output in one sitting was an interesting study. The original recordings by the duo are charming and funny and naively punk rock in the same way that a lot of those antifolk kids were. It was nice to revisit that attitude of anything goes, idful honesty above artifice.

But the solo albums tell a different story, a Reed-and-Cale split that suggests that the talent and vision may not have been equally divided. From 2001 to 2006, Adam Green’s albums get increasingly more polished, almost cabaret-ish, while Dawson's remain consistently ragged, and yet Dawson seems to be the one with the truly unique perspective and sense of aesthetics. Her songs and sounds are all of a piece, but they don’t wear out their welcome as much as you’d suspect they would, because they seem to spring from somewhere…beyond. Whereas Green is clearly trying new things but seems stuck at a fairly elementary level of writing, especially lyrically, that becomes tiresome.

Anyway, whether ya hate 'em or love 'em or neutral 'em, this clip of their performance on The View is utterly surreal and sweet. I love the way Whoopi hugs Kimya. Aw.

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