Peaches with Procon and Electrocute at the Guvernment (1 Jarvis), tonight (Thursday, October 9). $15.50 advance. 416-869-0045. Rating: NNNNN
Speaking from her hotel room in London, Peaches sounds a little distracted, responding in a leisurely fashion to questions while her entourage fusses in the background. Having just released her second album, Fatherfucker, the Berlin-based Toronto expat is suddenly doing way more press than ever before, and long days of interviews are starting to take their toll.
"I think I'm starting to crack," she says. "Someone asked me the other day why I moved to Berlin, and I said because it starts with B."
Success isn't all that bad, though, not when you have Iggy Pop calling you up asking to collaborate and even Madonna thinks you're cool. True to rockstar form, Peaches is touring with "two tall, hot Australian dancers" and threatens an even more full-on show.
Missing this time around is the little Roland sequencer that she uses to make her beats, replaced by a recording. "It's great," she exclaims. "It's fucking karaoke! The Roland is good for recording, but it never sounded that good live. I am playing guitar more now, though."
Guitars are a big part of what's good about Fatherfucker. This time there's less of a tendency to throw this disc into the electro bin, since punk and hiphop are so much more obviously the real influences.
When asked what got her into making electronic music, she responds simply, "I had the machine, and no one to play with." She's evidently had enough questions about what happened to the short-lived electroclash fad.
The other thing distinguishing this album from her debut, The Teaches Of Peaches, is that this time she's talking more about gender than sex. In some ways she's saying less about how she sees herself and more about how she looks at others. Along with choruses telling the boys to "shake their dix" are celebrations of girls penetrating guys.
"This one is for the guys, because they're so far behind the girls sexually. I feel bad for the boys, because most of them don't know where their G-spot is. I'm telling them to back it up, after years of songs telling girls to.
"This one is more about what male and female roles are, and what they mean."
It's sometimes hard to tell whether her sex-centric raps are carefully considered critiques of societal perceptions on gender and sexuality or just delighting in saying dirty words that might shock some people. Perhaps a combination of both.
It always seemed like Peaches was a kind of alter ego of Merrill Nisker, an invention to explore things she wasn't comfortable talking about in real life. But she doesn't see it that way, insisting, "This isn't something that I turn on and off."
Her friends used to call her Peaches as a nickname before Peaches the artist was born, but she says her friends now all want to call her Merrill. Including, apparently, her record company, who inadvertently told journalists to ask for that name at the hotel desk.
Leave it to the Canadian contingent to politely apologize to the clerk and hang up when informed there was no Nisker registered, rather than ask for Miss Peaches, as she is known.