We love Neko Case. We love her hot head of red hair and her sweet-ass voice. We love her three country-tinged solo albums, especially her most recent, ''Blacklisted.'' We love that she sings with the Canadian pop band the New Pornographers (whose new album, ''Electric Version,'' we also adore) and that there will be 38 chances to see her on tour with them this summer. We love that Playboy.com readers had the good sense to vote her the ''sexiest babe in indie rock.'' And we love that during an interview, Case, 32, swears like a surly barmaid while savoring cinnamon ice cream.
How do you feel about being lumped in the alt.country genre?
I don't know anybody who doesn't hate being called alt.country. It just sounds like a website. I don't mind being called Americana, I don't mind being called country noir, or independent country is fine, but the words alt.country make me insane.
What else makes you mad?
When did this trend start where people just piss all over the [toilet] seats?! I don't care if you piss all over it and then wipe it off -- it's still living f -- -ing germs all over the seat. It's like, ''Sit the f -- - down!''
After you won their online poll, Playboy recently asked you to pose in the buff. Any interest?
I decided I wasn't going to do it because I didn't want to be the girl who posed in Playboy and then -- by the way -- made some music. I would be really f -- -ing irritated if after a show somebody came up to me and handed me some naked picture of myself and wanted me to sign it instead of my CD.
Why did the New Pornographers give a shout-out to The Onion in the liner notes to ''Electric Version''?
The Onion is the greatest newspaper in the United States. They're willing to talk about the current state of politics, they're willing to make fun of George Bush when no one else is. Everybody is just too scared, especially when people do really s---ty things, like targeting the Dixie Chicks.
You're a fan?
They're fellow musicians, and they're fellow women, and I'm going to stick up for them. I was on a plane to Nashville and I was reading a magazine that the Dixie Chicks were on the cover of. [Thanks for reading, Neko.] The guy next to me said something about how the Dixie Chicks are so goddamn stupid, and I said, ''You don't know a f---ing thing about me, leave me alone.'' And then he just went off blah-dee-blah about the President, and I said, ''I hate the President and I'm not sorry, so leave me the f--- alone.'' I'm all mad. [Laughing] Sorry, I can get a little ranty.