The Anti-Indie

Here is some honesty for you: since Dutch Week, we are struggling with withdrawals.  Please support us in our grief.

In the meantime, I am going to write about Kimya Dawson.  Cool.  Before Juno, no one knew who the heck Kimya Dawson was (fine, maybe people did, but no one I know did).  Let’s play a game called, listen to one of her songs or one of her albums, and then pick which picture you think is her:


If you picked the second choice, it is because you are like 95% of the population, who also think Kimya sounds like an adorable little child.  If you picked the first choice, it is because you had the intuition to know what I was getting at, and so you didn’t really know at all, and so you are a faker and would have picked the second choice in any objective situation.

But seriously, I entitled this post “The Anti-Indie” because I feel that Kimya Dawson sort of is the anti-indie, or maybe the anti-folk–at least she was…until the movie Juno and it’s infectious soundtrack took over life as we know it and threatened to make the indie scene trendy forever and ever.  Sufjan, the ultimate indie (do you love my random assertions about what is indie?  Me too), plays all of his own instruments, and he does it well.  However, Kimya’s music is very much like a little girl writing crazy but strangely meaningful things and putting them alongside acoustic Raffi-like guitar, ukelele, badly-played violin, and maybe another 5-year-old hitting a xylophone.  Although her most recent album, Alphabutt, is a children’s album, Remember That I Love You (2006, K Records) is not–thus the irony of hearing her childlike voice say “Fuck Bush and fuck this war” on “Loose Lips”–and so I don’t feel so bad loving it so much.

So!  to the album: you already probably know “Loose Lips” and “Tire Swing” from the Juno soundtrack, on which a very lame version of “My Rollercoaster” was also featured.  You must listen to Remember That I Love You for the good version of “My Rollercoaster,” though, because in the middle of her own awesomeness, Kimya breezes through bits and pieces of such musical gems as “On the Road Again,” “From A Distance,” and that “do do do” song by Third Eye Blind.    She is also very peacy (not to be confused with P.C.) and does not hesitate to sing about her political opinions, like a modern day Bob Dylan!  Just kidding, she is not really like Bob Dylan very much at all, but she is both political and good.

The 2 most fantastic things about Kimya are that she is incredibly sincere and that she is easy to sing along to (which you know you like to do).   “Caving In” is poignant for the angsty twenty-something (The Indie Handbook loves angsty twenty-somethings) in which she presents her hatred for working for the Man and her desire to “leave for the coast and never work for anyone again,” and also her fear of change and the rootlessness that often follows (“Where will I go where I can feel safe when my family sells this place and we all split up and move away?  I’m trying to be brave ‘caus when I’m brave, other people feel brave, but I feel like my heart is caving in.”)  “I Like Giants” has a strong feminist streak, and “My Mom” indulges Kimya’s fear for her mom as she battles cancer.  Basically, you will listen to Kimya’s album, you will relate and it will bring tears to your eyes to think that someone really gets it and it’s okay and let’s all just be youthful and frolic around and sing and play 7 minutes in heaven and go to the state fair.  You just can’t say no to that.

I couldn’t say it better than the bio on her website:

“There is something really precious about being alone and sad, but there is something powerful and reassuring about watching someone blossom out of that cocoon, sprout wings, and learn to fly. The world is in a state of disarray and Kimya sees that, but she also sees all the magnificent strangeness and unwavering beauty in the world and in people. And she shows us how to see it too.”


2 thoughts on “The Anti-Indie

  1. Is that little Kristin in a helmet? Awwwww. This brings back many memories of Adam’s interpretation of the Juno soundtrack…great post!

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