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The Icarus Line

Until recently, Southern Californiaís the Icarus Line were better known for bad behavior than for bad-ass rock and roll. Like at South by Southwest back in 2002, when guitarist Aaron North took out his frustrations on a glass case containing a Stevie Ray Vaughan guitar at Austinís Hard Rock Café. Or more recently when the band took credit for spraypainting "$ellout$" on the Strokes tour bus. Fortunately, theyíve also channeled some of their excess energy into creating Buddyhead, a label/Web ízine thatís released two outstanding compilations: 2003ís Gimme Skelter (featuring an inspired Iggy Pop tearing Moby a new asshole on the opening "New York City Is Beating Its Chest . . . Again") and this yearís two-disc Buddyhead Suicide sampler (which includes an equally inspired Dillinger Escape Plan tongue-in-ass-cheek cover of "Rebel Yell" as well as pricelessly brutal prank phone calls to the likes of Strokes publicist Jim Merlis and the manager of Bostonís the Explosion).

On their debut for V2, the Icarus Line back up the bluster with 13 tracks of hard-to-classify, garage-grown hard rock that owes as much to the search-and-destroy Stooges as it does to the bloodletting of early My Bloody Valentine. The closest youíll come to a model for this music is the souped-up yet strangely subtle sonic blueprints John Reis drew for the Drive like Jehu/Rocket from the Crypt double whammy he delivered in the mid í90s. Drums bash, singers scream, blood curdles, and big fat Jesus Lizard bass lines tear into two guitars roaring back and forth at each other in a pissing match no oneís ever going to win. And then, when you least expect it, singer Joe Cardamone gets a little gushy about some girl drinking vodka in the bathroom against a restrained backdrop of tenderized blooze guitars and maraca shaking. As touching as "Spike Island" is, itís even more fun to hear Cardamone drop an f-bomb or two on NYC with the swagger of a young Iggy Pop in "White Devil." Thatís more the Icarus Lineís style.

(The Icarus Line open for Dead Meadow this Friday, July 2, downstairs at the Middle East, 480 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square; call 617-864-EAST.)


Issue Date: July 2 - 8, 2004
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