June 25, 2005

Kimya Dawson - Hidden Vagenda

Released October 5, 2004 on K Records Posted by Hello

Kimya Dawson is not your average female vocalist. The Moldy Peaches co-founder is as straightforward and honest a female songwriter as you will find. Her lyrics reflect her world, for better or for worse. They are mundane and funny, insightful and disturbing, often simultaneously. Dawson's husky voice and acoustic, folky song structures make her words all the more affecting.

Her newest album, Hidden Vagenda, is her first solo studio album since releasing a trilogy of home recordings from 2000 to 2003. She recorded the album in the Bay area at Mourningwood studios and in her friends' living rooms, bedrooms, garages and yards. Dawson was joined in recording by distinguished friends Joe Gore, Arion Salazar, Stephan Jenkins, Daniel Johnston, Vanessa Carlton and a children's choir in St. Ouen, France. The album was co-produced and mixed by Jason Carmer (The Donnas, Run DMC, Third Eye Blind), Arion Salazar, and Kimya.

On Hidden Vagenda, Dawson incorporates a real woman's experience, silly observations, pop culture, and world political and economic issues into simple, unconventional language. In "Parade," she paints a colorful picture of her native New York City: "a big fat mama in a thong/and a college girl with nothing on/share a laugh over a lemonade/seven foot trannies trading tricks/with business men on pogo sticks."

On "Viva la persistence," Dawson voices more serious concerns: "money and intimidation and mass graves make strong foundations/for the giant corporations that own all the TV stations/telling us to take vacations to their big theme park plantations/rather than to hearts of nations." Dawson refers to modern fear and tragedy in "Anthrax (power Ballad Version)," singing, "there's anthrax in the envelope i opened in my dream/the sky is red and little kids are running, screaming in the street/i tried to run and save them but i had molasses feet/i keep having nightmares and i'm scared to go to sleep."

Despite some of her darker tendencies, Dawson uses her songs as a personal healing device and a reminder not to take life for granted. She ends the album with a bittersweet view of life and death: "the angels and seagulls will ask themselves how/i've got my head in the crow's nest my feet starboard bough/and the ocean will say "well she's one of us now"/and i will be set free, i will be set free, i will be set free, i will be set free."

Click here to buy Hidden Vagenda

Download: "Parade" (MP3) (live at the Bike Barn in Falmouth, Maine, Sept. 2004)

Live: Kimya is playing Jun. 25 and 26 in Long Island and Philadelphia. See the Plan-It-X Festival website for details.