Happy Birthday to an Anti-Folk Hero!


What is “anti-folk” anyway? Well, essentially, it’s whatever you want it to be. The movement began as a direct reaction to the earnestness and pretension of folk music, and there is no better anti-folk band than the Moldy Peaches. Scatological, juvenile, and catchy as hell, Adam Green and Kimya Dawson (who turns 44 today), the eponymous and sole album by the group remains a weird, wired delight. It’s almost as if Ween went undercover as a Greenwich Village folk duo in an effort to take down the whole scene from the inside. Songs like “Who’s Got the Crack” ooze off-kilter delight. Elsewhere, “The Ballad of Helen Keller and Rip Van Winkle” might be the creepiest song in history.

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Basically, this shaggy, shabbily produced record has got something for everybody. Though the Peaches keep things more or less acoustic throughout, the subject matter is decidedly grittier than that. This is an album that was officially released on September 11, 2001 and happens to contain a song called “NYC’s Like a Graveyard.” It’s kind of an awful coincidence, but perhaps could not have happened to a more fitting group.

It’s difficult to classify this record except through the wide net of the “anti-folk” movement. It’s definitely worth a listen, though. Most of it.

You may remember the Moldy Peaches song “Anyone Else But You,” which is heavily featured in the film Juno. In fact, Kimya Dawson contributed large portions of the soundtrack for that movie.

Here’s another song I like by her.

Kimya Dawson is a thoroughly interesting artist who has done approximately whatever the hell she has wanted to do throughout her 20-or-so-year career. Though the Moldy Peaches and her solo stuff isn’t always an easy listen, it’s creativity like this that keeps the coil of rock music glowing. Also, the Peaches are the only anti-folk band I can name, so that has to be worth something.

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