Kimya Dawson Hidden Vagenda

[K; 2004]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: folk, antifolk, alternative folk, for all folks
Others: The Moldy Peaches, Scout Niblett, Daniel Johnston

I unintentionally saw Kimya Dawson perform at the beginning of the summer. I had gone to see Daniel Johnston and had no idea who else was on the bill. I'm not gonna play it off like I knew who she was either; I had never heard her name. If you told me "Moldy Peaches," I would've been a little more clued in, but I'm really not familiar with their work at all. So there I was in the lobby of the venue, scoping out Kimya's merch table, while Kimya herself was drawing on t-shirts with a Sharpie to sell after the show. I picked up some home-made CDs, examined the rudimentary DIY cover art, put them back down and went on my way. Later, when Kimya took the stage and performed, I found myself completely turned off by the down-to-earth, friendly-with-the-fans, bohemian shtick. That's cynical of me.

So I had all these preconceived notions about what I was about to hear when I went to play her new album, Hidden Vagenda, for the first time. I was repeatedly telling myself: "try to be objective, sweetie, just try to be objective." Raspy voiced and gentle, Kimya turned out not to be that bad and irritating after all. Sometimes I have a hard time keeping the cynical me in check. With lyrics switching back and forth from humorous to somber, Kimya covers a wide emotional range. There's plenty of allusions to current events and pop culture (not my personal favorite songwriting technique), but there's also a strong child-like perspective and innocence in the music. Whether Kimya is trying to find the light side of death or losing faith in her heroes of past, she comes off rather upfront, upbeat, and positive.

1. Its Been Raining
2. Fire
3. Viva La Persistence
4. Lullaby for the Taken
5. I will Never Forget
6. Singing Machine
7. Moving On
8. Blue Like Nevermind
9. My Heroes
10. Parade
11. 5 Years
12. Anthrax (Power-Ballad Version)
13. You Love Me
14. Angels and Seagulls

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