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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
The Teaches of Peaches
XL Recordings/Beggars Group/Kitty-Yo

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
I was in one of LA's finest eastside hipster bars not too long ago, the Short Stop, drinking some beer and getting smacked around at the pool table. It was early on in the night, about 8:30 PM, so there weren't too many tight-pants kids there yet. To avoid any further billiards humiliation, I took a stroll over to the jukebox and put on "Fuck the Pain Away," Peaches' insta-classic siren song. After about 45 seconds, the song cut off as someone rudely shut down my selection and advanced the juke to the next song.

"No Peaches! Who violated the 'No Peaches' rule?!?" The bartender was clearly infuriated that I had decided to play the music of this latest sex-obsessed electroclash derivation. (Later I learned that this fascist control of the juke applied to Bjork as well.)

What the fuck? What did I do? That fateful night changed my feelings about the Short Stop forever. It just doesn't make you feel wanted when a bartender decides to cut off your songs. The same thing happened to me once in a bar in San Francisco called Chances when I rocked out the Def Leppard classic ballad "Love Bites." But that I could forgive. This, however, meant war.

The Teaches of Peaches was recently given its first domestic release, with a supplemental disc full of remixes, videos and covers to beef it up. I will admit, I came to the Peaches a bit later in the game than some folks, but now I truly understand what all the fuss is about. Well, most of the fuss. Let's look at the precedents: Kool Keith raps about graphic sex and pleasuring himself, and the only batting of eyes is from the laughter it tends to induce. Luke (2 Live Crew) did it up hardcore, and he was both shat upon and elevated to icon status. And Paul Barman sort of gets sexy, but in such a goofy way that it doesn't really cause arousal in any shape or form.

So why can't Peaches be all sexual and hott and not have the critics popping boners and emitting secretions, both literally and metaphorically? Is it just because she is a woman? Well, maybe a little bit, but it's really more because her music actually is sexy, boner inducing and secretion emitting. I just want to address the gender issue early on here. Some would say that it is totally relevant, that what Peaches does is groundbreaking and liberating. Others hate the 'Women in Rock' issue of Rolling Stone and feel that no female artist should be critiqued on the basis of her gender, only the quality of her music. For this review, I will be noncommittal and agree with a little from column A and a bit from column B.

The album itself is a masterpiece of minimal beats under sexually joyous rapping and singing. The beats are an orgy of cheap but erotic Casio tones and 808 kicks; a smarter, sassier and more provocative Licensed to Ill. "Diddle My Skiddle" opens with a wicked white noise rhythmic wash that pulsates over a fast track. The classic aforementioned "Fuck the Pain Away" is reworked on the bonus disc by Kid 606 in his trademark frenetic manner, samples and d'n'b breaks punctuating throughout. The electro is never stronger than on "Keine Melodien," also a bonus disc tune and a cover of a song by Jeans Team. This track plugs away and firms up the theory that techno doesn't need silly synths and intricate beats, just attitude and a pattern you can sink into. From the domination-tech of "Hot Rod" to the cheesy electo-rawk of "Rock Show" and "Sucker," Peaches relentlessly makes you at least think about shaking your ass and rubbing one out. Then there are the videos on the bonus disc: two versions of "Set it Off," one a low-fi piece directed by Peaches herself, and the other a slinky take on Hype Williams. Her delivery is never forced and her schtik doesn't wear thin because it is honest and fun, just like sex is… well, like it should be, but rarely is in real life.

So go to The Short Stop, or any other bar in any other city that thinks they are too cool for school and too dope to rock Peaches and put on "Fuck the Pain Away" 12 times in a row. Take back the jukebox and let Peaches get randy.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker



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