Thursday, June 23, 2011
The Shape Of Post-Punk To Come? Highly touted Danish combo Iceage plays New Haven
In this day and age of media over saturation where bands can be declared the next big thing based on the criteria of releasing one good song over the internet, it’s cool to see a band receive attention from the blogosphere by releasing an awesome debut album and following it up with crazy, violent, must see live shows. For the teenage musicians in Danish combo Iceage, the praise is well deserved, because they have touched on something really excellent through their CD “New Brigade” (which will be released domestically on June 21 on What’s Your Rupture? Records) and their fearsome live reputation.
“Our fans and other people around have taken the band really well and we feel like people care. Of course some people don’t like us too. When the album came out the media blew it up really big and we were in every paper and even on the news. That was a bit unreal,” said singer/guitarist Elias Bender Ronnenfelt over e-mail. In addition to Ronnenfelt, the band consists of Johan Wieth (guitar) Dan Kjaer Nielsen (drums) and Jakob Pless (bass).
Already a sensation in their native land, the band is taking it to the road with a brief East Coast tour that will see them play with other like minded souls in Fucked Up, as well stopping by New Haven for a show at Popeye’s Garage on June 23. With all the attention they have received, they are trying to keep level heads.
“We try to stay calm and not think too much about it, but it’s a bit stressful with all those e-mails coming in every day,” said Ronnenfelt.
The stress should be worth it because “New Brigade” introduces a new major talent to the world. It’s an album that brims with confidence and youthful energy. It sounds like a great collision between post-punk, particularly in the drums and bass, and hardcore-ish noisy guitar. Plus it’s frenetic and sounds like the band are basically going by their gut and just playing what they feel. There’s no calculation here.
“We didn’t sit down and decide what to sound like, and we probably won’t always sound like this. But I’m not sure we get most of our inspiration from bands that sound a lot like us. We might get inspiration from Simon & Garfunkel rather than Joy Division,” he said.
After a brief instrumental intro, the first proper song on the CD, “White Rune” kicks in, with driving bass and drums and noisy squalls of guitar. The title track speeds it up while adding a poppy break at its end. “Broken Bone” rides a skuzzy and catchy riff, while “Count Me In” puts the pedal to the metal and is pure speed. The closing track “You’re Blessed” takes everything great about their sound and finishes it off on a high note. Though brief, at only 24 minutes, “New Brigade” makes quite an impression.
But just don’t try to label them as purely as a punk band, because Ronnenfelt is quick to point out that they just care about making good music regardless of the genre.
“I don’t really care about punk as a genre. I only care about good songs and good sounds,” he said.
Besides being known for their recorded output, the band is also famous, or maybe a little infamous, for their riotous live show, where people go mental and sometimes ending in a little blood being spilled by the audience. There have been people at their shows who’ve had “VICTIM” written in blood on their foreheads. After all, it is a punk show, what do people expect. Well, Ronnenfelt expects a little more from his fans.
“I’m not sure I can answer that question better than anybody being violent at our gigs. But I hope it’s because people actually relate to the music rather than it just being a punk concert,” he said.
So, they have an ace debut record, a penchant for crazy live shows and a whole bunch of justified hype hanging over them. There is no reason why you should miss this gig. You could witness something very special, and if they go onto bigger things, you can always say you saw them in a parking lot in New Haven back in the day. (As opposed to all those people who say they were at the infamous Nirvana show at the Moon all those years ago.)
Thursday June 23, 2011
Popeye’s Garage, 50 Goffe Street, New Haven
7:00 pm, $7, All Ages