Dawson, Rock form dynamic duo
Catch their mix of folk, hip-hop at Knitting Factory on Sunday
As unlikely as it seems to pair freak folkie Kimya Dawson with indie hip-hopper Aesop Rock, the two manage to find common ground on their forthcoming joint album.
Both have been in collaborative mode lately. After Dawson put her band, The Moldy Peaches, on hiatus in 2004, she released a string of bedroom recordings and a children’s album, “Alphabutt,” with a horde of musician friends and their kids.
She also sang on albums by several other artists, including Ben Kweller, Third Eye Blind, The Mountain Goats and They Might Be Giants.
Following his last solo album, 2007’s “None Shall Pass,” Aesop Rock released “Ghosts of the Barbary Coast” in 2009 with visual artist Jeremy Fish and initiated a new group project, Hail Mary Mallon, with his Rhymesayers/Def Jux cohorts Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz.
He also appears on Dawson’s upcoming album, “Thunder Thighs,” slated for October release. Their joint album is scheduled to come out next year.
Bringing Aesop’s and Dawson’s distinct worlds together has – instead of causing a collision – created a coalescence based in their imaginative assessments of life’s many absurdities.
The slow-driving complexity of Aesop’s flow remains ever-elusive, mixing what could be construed as autobiographical bitters with abstract sours and somehow arriving at a sweet spot that is both melancholy and cathartic.
Conversely, Dawson’s whimsical sarcasm is playful in its tone, belying a lyrical sting on topics as heavy as a young parent losing a child, and adding depth to a frame as simple as looking out a windshield.
Joined by Rob Sonic and Big Wiz, Aesop and Dawson are performing songs from their collaboration on their current tour, aptly titled “A Night with Kimya Dawson,” as well as tracks from their forthcoming solo albums along with Hail Mary Mallon tunes.
Countering Aesop’s dark overtones with happy hip-hop, Hail Mary Mallon’s new single, “Breakdance Beach,” is an homage to old-school rap.
The video contains break dancers getting down in the sand, in speedboats and underwater.
The name of the album, “Are You Gonna Eat That?” and other song titles – “Meter Feeder,” “Mailbox Baseball,” “Plagues of Bacon” – suggest an overall lighthearted feel.
But Hail Mary Mallon, named after Typhoid Mary, maintains an overall gritty disdain and twisted tongue-in-cheek mockery of the world in which it’s quarantined, as Aesop recites on “Garfield”: “Document the war of the department-store Santas from the POV of cameras hid in the dog’s antlers.”