About a year ago, Peaches– aka Jessica Hopper, the Canadian electroclash artist best known for her transgressive, hyper-sexual, feminist dance music– broke her six-year silence with a new album, Rub, which Pitchfork declared had “arrived at a moment when the world needs Peaches most.”
That might be an even more appropriate thing to say now, as feminism, women’s rights, and the possibility of Hillary Clinton becoming the first woman President of the United States have taken on a whole new feeling of urgency. Though we’ve come so far in the fight for women’s equality, we’re still knee-deep in a cesspool teeming with indignity, unequal pay, unpaid labor, obstacles to reproductive health, and widespread abuse– sexual, physical, and psychological. And we’re just talking the privileged Western world, baby.
I remember the first time I discovered the music of Peaches. She’d just released Fatherfucker and it was right around the time I got my drivers license and a car. I found that I could express my hormonal rage via gas pedal and hard, dramatic turns into parking lots while blasting music that made me feel like a teenaged badass.
I’m sure I’d be mostly humiliated if I put on a pair of VR goggles and found I was my 16-year-old self doing this stuff now, but one incident stands out clearly in my memory and seems actually rather formative and not just awfully regrettable. I had a car full of my pals and screeched into a gas station in preparation for an outdoor rendezvous elsewhere, we’d been blasting Peaches as loud as the speakers would go and I decided to keep it blaring.
“IUD SIS, stay in school cause it’s the best.Suckin’ on my titties like you wanted me,Callin me, all the time like blondie,Check out my chrissy behind,It’s fine all of the time.What else is in the teaches of Peaches?Like sex on the beaches. Huh? What?Fuck the pain away. Fuck the pain away.”
It was an aggressive act, and when a middle-aged man approached me, angrier than anyone else who was staring in our direction, he screamed above the music: “Turn that trash off!” Clearly, Peaches was shaking this little man to his core.
It’s funny, because male musicians are constantly making explicit notes of their sexual conquests and I’m sure none of those gas station dweebs would have batted an eye if Peaches were a man. But really, most of Peaches’s songs are hardly deviant– instead they’re pure, raw, sweaty sex. If you think about it, her music is actually pretty tame compared to top hits from some our most famous, radio-dominating male pop stars (Kanye West comes to mind as a particularly sexist sex-song songwriter).
Nevertheless, Peaches has the ability to inspire near seizures. But the gas station incident wasn’t just about freaking people out or me trying to stick it to the olds, it was about understanding the immense power of sexuality and more importantly how, coming from a woman’s mouth, it can be downright terrifying.
(FYI vid is probably NSFW unless yer boss is nasty, in which case click away.)
Remy Banks, Nasty Nigel
Friday September 17, 7 pm at Brooklyn Bazaar: FREE
Brooklyn Bazaar (the artist formerly known as Brooklyn Night Bazaar) is back y’all, and now that we’ve seen the new digs– a former Polish banquet hall in Greenpoint– we couldn’t be happier that they were booted from the last place to make way for a special/totally weird project spearheaded by the carmaker Mini– what they’re calling a “pipeline” for “creative energy.” (Which begs the question– a pipeline from artists heading to where exactly?)
We’ve known for a while where the Bazaar was headed, at least. The old Polonaise space, which had been empty for years, is now serving as a multifaceted fun zone for shows, around 50 vendors on the weekends, and all manner of solid and liquid consumables. The Bazaar also rid the community of legitimate blight. The abandoned Polonaise was known for attracting large puddles of piss, passed out local winos, and the neighborhood’s underserved homeless population in need of sleeping quarters (uh, in case you haven’t noticed, the Greenpoint-Williamsburg area ain’t exactly well-staffed with homeless shelters).
Welp, out of sight, out of mind as they say!
But at least one show happening this week is keeping things really real. Two artists from the Queens rap collective known as World’s Fair, Nasty Nigel and Remy Banks, will serve up what the Village Voice described as “ruggedly charming” rap to the Bazaar.
Remy’s known for his chill, ’90s-throwback rap that can turn pensive while still maintaining shoulders-back-style boastful quips. His lyrics are probing and surprisingly vulnerable, Remy scrapes the cave-bottoms of his psyche and coming up with his skill open, ready for us to peek inside. In “Exhale” he’s unafraid to reflect on the immense pressure he feels as a provider.
The world’s on my shoulders, aching from the pressure […] Gotta make these ends meet, soon as I left that building I hit the streets to my handle b.i. Shit, I ain’t even out here tryna be fly, I’m out here tryna get by.
But while admitting to his shortcomings– no record deal, paycheck to paycheck, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy– he interprets them ultimately as strengths that come out of less-than-ideal situations that, rather than part of a fate that’s sealed, are actually opportunities for triumph.
Nasty Nigel, on the other hand, is like the naughty little brother– breaking all the rules and fingers up to history class. He’s got no time for it. His strange anthem, “Boone’s Farm,” is an ode to his downtrodden days of drinking the cheap as hell “wine” (Blue Hawaiian used to be his flavor of choice) and a celebration of partying with his pals, with plenty of Ketamine, weed, and ladies to go around. But there’s a distinctly dark edge to Nigel’s many love letters to booze– they’re twisted, off-kilter– and he damn well knows it.
In fact, he’s staring straight into the hurricane of his own self-destruction, unrelenting in his own self-critique and holding back nothing of his inner struggle. This bareness is also expressed in the production of his strange, rickety tracks–rather than employ the trope of DJ Screw-level syrupy intoxication, the instrumentals match up perfectly with an entirely different kind of substance and reflect Nigel’s own interpretation with an wholly separate kind of low.
Tenement, Dusk, Kaleidoscope, Fur Helmet
Thursday September 15, 8 pm at Saint Vitus: $10
Driving down a dark road straight to hell with nothing but a bottle of tequila, a couple of mix tapes, and blood on your hands– that’s sorta getting at what Fur Helmet is all about. The psyched-out, bluesy rock band bleeds a sound that’s all howling regret and exile, which is funny coz they’re hardly outsider lone wolfs. Drummer Marc Grillo is an integral part of the Brooklyn punk scene and Alexander Heir did the layout design for their album.
On the other hand Dusk, a band out of Appleton, Wisconsin, descended directly from Fleetwood Mac and jammed in a frontperson with a voice taller than the Trump Tower. This band has sparkle and tracks like “Too Sweet” are recorded with a richness that only ads to the glam country vibes. Needless to say, we’re not seeing much of this stuff in New York City which leads me to wonder what in the dang hell is in the water in friggin’ Appleton, Wisconsin?
Wear a mouthguard– the holy-wow energy spewing from Kaleidoscope, a hometown cohort of punked-up whippersnappers, is bound to shatter a few teeth on contact.
Finally, if you’re a bird of a certain feather, then you don’t need an explanation for Tenement, an unusually melodic punk also outta Appleton. But their music is hardly for acquired tastes only or even mega fans of painful noise repetition and self-flagellation through sonic punishment. No, way– these boys have got crowd appeal while maintaining their too-legit-to-quit tude.