There’s a certain kind of audacious lyric that you have to earn to pull off: cringeworthy on its own, devastating in context. The Birthday Party’s “I tied off/Fuckin’ wings burst out my back” is one example, Prince’s “Your face is jammin’/Your body’s heck-a-slammin’ ” another. The Moldy Peaches pull off two or three of them in almost every one of their songs. The justification is that they’re massively catchy—like, horrifyingly catchy. Like, I went around for three weeks singing, “I like it when my hair is poofy/I like it when you slip me a roofie.”
Sometimes the Peaches are just Adam Green, who shreds on an electrified acoustic guitar and has a poker face of a voice, and Kimya Dawson, who wears a tattered rabbit suit and sings like she’s confessing; sometimes they’ve got a rudimentary but enthusiastic rhythm section too. The above-referenced “Who’s Got the Crack” appears on their homemade, self-released, self-titled, thoroughly earnest CD-R, which beats their earlier Ferever (the punk cover of “Little Bunny Foo Foo” is really not a good idea). A new Rough Trade import combines highlights from both. In a lot of their best moments, Dawson and Green seem to be singing two different songs at each other, like Sleater-Kinney with a case of the giggles. His lyric to “Steak for Chicken” is mostly the smutty one and hers is mostly the tender one, though its climax is when she rhymes the title with “who’m I gonna stick my dick in?”
They both have solo careers, too. Green’s self-titled CD-R shows a sweet but underripe Peach; Dawson’s I’m Sorry That Sometimes I’m Mean and Knock-Knock Who? are whispery and amiably bonkers (the latter includes “Great Crap,” a meticulous, fragile meditation on attraction, recorded with the TV on, that takes five minutes to mutate into the theme song from The Golden Girls). All of the above are generally available at their shows—they play NYC every 20 seconds or so—or via firstname.lastname@example.org.