Unreleased Cutz and Live Jamz 1994-2002
Since their popular emergence in the late '90s, New York City's Moldy Peaches have solidified -- or justified, depending on your taste -- their status as Big Apple scene-makers with support gigs for neo-punk whiz kids the Strokes and a home-recorded album for the revitalized Rough Trade imprint. MP principals Kimya Dawson and Adam Green create simplistic, often childlike anti-folk informed with a blatant immediacy that only the amateur or uncaring musician possesses. The results are mixed. The Moldy Peaches obviously follow in the lo-fi twee footsteps of Beat Happening, but their penchant for assaulting, Frogs-style humor can kill off the whimsy that defines the best lo-fi and home-recorded pop. Coupled with their gimmicky stage show and the curiously widespread admiration of the band amongst indie cognoscenti, the Moldy Peaches' act often resembles an elaborate inside joke. To their credit, the Moldy Peaches admit that their music is an acquired taste. And Unreleased Cutz & Live Jamz is no different. A two-disc set of 55 rarities, unreleased tracks, and live performances spanning the group's entire eight-year career, it is vintage Moldy Peaches. This is either the best or the worst thing about it. Gentle ballads like "Nothing Came Out" and "Lazy Confessions" recall the early-'90s heyday of the international pop underground or perhaps the Vaselines. But "Greyhound Bus" and "What Went Wrong" are screeching collisions of punk rock squelch and irritating screaming. The live material is hit or miss; a cover of the Spin Doctors' "Two Princes" allegedly includes that group's erstwhile leader, the famously bearded Chris Barron, but the atrocious sound quality makes all but the song's jaunty riff indistinguishable. Unreleased Cutz & Live Jamz is a placeholder release, designed to tide fans over until Dawson and Green can finish with their respective solo albums and record a proper follow-up to Moldy Peaches' self-titled 2001 debut. Like most of the band's output, it is required listening only for those who are in on the joke.