So Nice, So Smart
Of all the shiny things to come about from the stellar success of the film Juno — Diablo Cody's career; Ellen Page — none was perhaps more brightly satisfying than the soundtrack. Among the standouts therein were Sonic Youth's cover of the Carpenters' classic "Superstar" and Cat Power's rendition of Phil Phillips's "Sea of Love." But of all the golden nuggetry on that mega-selling slab, no one contributed more karats than the dame named Kimya Dawson.
Naturally those in the indie-flick know weren't surprised by Dawson's glowing contributions. After all, her peaceful inner tinklings had already tracked in fare such as The Guatemalan Handshake and Glue. Neither were the freaks and geeks who dig "anti-folk"; they'd long been fans of Dawson's doings in the Moldy Peaches. That rag-tag gypsy duo (the other half being Adam Green) is best remembered for "Who's Got the Crack?" (an NME "Single of the Week") and "Anyone Else but You" (which also played in Murderball).
But the Moldy Peaches haven't released a record since 2004, and as consistent as she was with her solo outings (five to date, including 2006's Remember That I Love You), Dawson pretty much stayed stuck in the fringe-filled creek.
Not that she minded, it seemed. In fact, her neo-mythologizing appeared to insist upon playing in front parlors and sleeping on couches. And if the odd club show got thrown into the mix (or a European tour opening for Frank Black happened to be proffered), well, so be it. As her K Records web page states, "She is on a mission to embrace the whole world. Literally."
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Juno, of course, embraced just about everybody. Not only was the flick a hit, but also the soundtrack was the first to crown the Billboard Top 200 album chart since last year's Dreamgirls (not to mention the first number one album in the 35-year history of the Rhino label). Add the fact that composer Mateo Messina based his score on all of her diddling derring-do and that both Page and costar Michael Cera end the cinematic story with a touching rendition of the Moldy Peaches' "Anyone Else but You," and you've got the makings of some kinda phenomenon.
Word has it that she and former Peach-mate, Green, have agreed not to perform any Moldy songs when they play without each other, so next Tuesday's show might be bereft of "Anything Else but You." Don't sweat it, though. Dawson has enough in her repertoire to sing away the whole of the night, and because this event is to benefit the great good deed that is Shake-a-Leg, she probably will. Just watch out for that group hug at the end.
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