By Dan McQuade
By Brian McManus
By Hilary Hughes
By Jena Ardell
By Brian McManus
By Chaz Kangas
By Sound of the City
By Peter Gerstenzang
I could be wrong. Packaged with demolike black-and-white art and hand-printed track listings, The Moldy Peaches has the look of a single spontaneous outburst rather than something recorded over four years, and though the older songs include the opening "Lucky Number Nine" (first words on album: "Indie boys are neurotic"), and the essential "D.2. Boyfriend" (about being yourself in junior high so you can be as cool as Kimya later), the recent material is what stands out. It's where they leave their id showing: "Who mistook the crap for genius/Who is gonna stroke my penis" (that's Adam-only, simultaneous with Kimya's "Who is dancing on the ceiling/Who is gonna hurt my feelings"), or "You're a part-time lover and a fulltime friend/The monkey on your back is the latest trend," or their cover-stickered rock and roll singalong "Who's Got the Crack": "I like it when my hair is poofy/I like it when you slip me a roofie/I like it when [pregnant pause] you've got the crack." But it also includes the guileless "Jorge Regula" and the Kimya feature "Nothing Came Out," where all she wants is to maybe spoon and she needs to get drunk before she can admit it.
Another 2000 recording is their punk apotheosis, a loud and distorted if not crack-pated generational war cry called "NYC's Like a Graveyard." It yells its resentment at rock stars double-dating, yuppies getting married, bar-hopping hippies in 12-step programs, "suckers and fuckers and stupid retards"all "corpses" even if they "like the way I play my guitar." "All the tombstones skyscrapin'," they observe. "If you hate me go on hating," they dare. "New York City's like a cemetery," they conclude. They used to climax their set with that unintentionally prophetic judgment.
I love the Moldy Peaches for how they playnot their instruments, nothing so sublimated, just play.They're not afraid to make a mess because they know life is a mess anyway, and although the mess can be painful, some inner confidence lets them fool around with it. You could attribute this to their privileged upbringings, I suppose. But if it were that easy Exile on Main Street would be Tower, and anyway, not only does Kimya come from service-sector people on the poorer side of town, she's black, albeit lighter-skinned than either parent. I just figure that growing up, they both maintained contact with their outer child, who was never scolded for touching his or her wee-wee and lived to tell the tale.
I met them on a Monday. On Tuesday the planes came. On Friday the band had a gig at the Merc, and I actually thought they might show, but instead Kimya invited everyone she knew to a Saturday barbecue in her backyard. My family and I stayed home. It was a month before I had the guts to play the album againI'd loved it so, and I was afraid it would seem too small, too self-involved. It didn't. It seemed huge.
Halloween they capped a month-long tour with their friends the Strokes at the Hammerstein. They had adjusted nicely to the big stage. Where at the Merc they were sometimes too cute for comfort, here they were fast, loud, and tricky within a deliberately simplistic framework: They didn't "rock," they bashed. I could hear fans up front shouting "Jorge Regula" back at them.
Three weeks later they hit a packed Merc still bashing. It still suited them, too, as did the new song in which Kimya invites the world to lick her pussy. Someone requested "NYC's Like a Graveyard." "It's no fun to play anymore," Adam muttered. But I wouldn't put it past them to change their minds, if they last.