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Classic Album Reviews: Kimya Dawson | I’m Sorry That Sometimes I’m Mean / Adam Green | Garfield / Various Artists | Anti-Folk Vol. 1

The prince and princess of New York City's Lower East Side anti-folk scene go it alone with solo albums — and introduce some of their many likeminded courtiers.

These came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got them. Here’s what I said about them back then (with some minor editing):


“These burgers are crazy,” lo-fi lunatics The Moldy Peaches gleefully informed us on their strange and wonderful 2001 debut album. Then, a few minutes later they turned around and asked, “Who’s got the crack?”

That bizarre juxtaposition of childish whimsy and bratty vulgarity pretty much sums up the skewed approach of the New York anti-folk outfit fronted by singer-songwriters Kimya Dawson and Adam Green. And now that they both have solo albums out, it’s easy to see how their division of labour shakes out — Dawson is the one in touch with her inner child and Green is the one in touch with … well, mainly his crotch.

While her 10-song album I’m Sorry That Sometimes I’m Mean is a collection of earnestly clumsy lullabyes, whispered confessions and silly campfire singalongs, his 14-cut offering Garfield is a set of potty-mouthed, junk-shop folk-rock with titles like Mozzarella Swastikas, Apples I’m Home and Baby’s Gonna Die Tonight. Of the two, Green’s is more entertaining and listenable while Dawson’s is more revealing and intimate. Ultimately, though, neither generates the same sort of musical alchemy they create as a team.

For further proof of the Peaches’ unique magic, peruse Anti-Folk Vol. 1, a compilation of cuts by them and other members of their Lower East Side musical clique. They have names like Joie Dead Blonde Girlfriend, Paleface and Dufus. They play quirky rambling little ditties called Gin Is Not My Friend, Wee Ma Moo and Tramp Star on their cheap, buzzing acoustic guitars. And for the most part, they sound like pale imitations of Dawson, Dylan, Green, Guthrie and Beck. Thankfully, there are a few notable exceptions — Lach’s rockabilly raveup Drinking Beers With Mom is scandalously cool, while Stipplicon kick out the jams on Stamp Your Name On It. Those burghers? They’re crazy too.