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Devendra Banhart, Regina Spektor, Father John Misty, and More Pay Tribute To Adam Green

Reimaginings of the anti-folk hero's back catalogue is a testament to great songwriting.

by Stephan Boissonneault

If you’re a fan of weird, abstract lyrical indie rock, you will at least know the name Adam Green. One of the co-founders of anti-folk duo, The Moldy Peaches, Green and his bandmate Kimya Dawson gained mainstream recognition in the late 2000s for their track “Anyone Else but You” when it appeared in the the film Juno, but the band was so much more than that and Green himself has had a bewildering solo career.

Albums such as Friends of Mine, Minor Love, and Jacket Full of Danger offer a nostalgic snapshot on the New York indie folk music scene from the early aughts. Now in his 40s, Green been an attraction and inspiration to many other musicians whom he now calls long time friends, including Devendra Banhart, Regina Spektor, The Libertines, Father John Misty, The Lemon Twigs, and one of his newest acquaintances, Quebec’s, Hubert Lenoir. 

On this newly minted compilation album, Moping in Style (A Tribute to Adam Green), they, and a handful of other music names—some “bigger” than others—each put their own spin on some well-known and deep cut tracks from Green’s catalogue. 

No one asked for or really expected a mammoth-length sized Adam Green tribute compilation album, but some of these tribute covers are pure gold. The first track, a gorgeous piano led take on the melancholic “We’re Not Supposed To Be Lovers,” by Regina Spektor and Jack Dishel, is turned into a haunting duet. 

You also can’t ignore the raw, lo-fi, fully acoustic version of “Jessica” by The Libertines. Devendra Banhart’s rendition of “Pay the Toll” is stripped back, almost sounding like a track from his Cripple Crow days. And TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone serves up a very Kyp Malone take on the classic “Drugs,” reimagining the ode to uppers and downers as a mysterious and darkened electro pop creature.

There’s something for everyone on Moping in Style. Sean Ono Lennon’s looped synth version of “That Fucking Feeling”—one of Green’s newer works—has a way of sticking with you hours after the first listen. But probably the most experimental track comes from French Canadian singer Hubert Lenoir, who uses a vocoder to modernize Green’s “Stadium Soul” into a whacky hyperpop banger. 

If anything, hopefully this compilation will reinvigorate some praise for Adam Green, a musician and poet with a unique talent that only comes around once in a generation.