Iceage – “Pain Killer” Premiere, ‘Beyondless’ Coming May 4

Copenhagen’s Iceage — Elias Bender Rønnenfelt (vocals, lyrics), Jakob Tvilling Pless (bass), Dan Kjær Nielsen (drums), and Johan Wieth (guitar) — will release their fourth album, ‘Beyondless’, on May 4th. After returning last month with ‘Catch It’, their first new material since 2013’s ‘Plowing Into The Field of Love’, Iceage now share Beyondless’s “Pain Killer”, featuring Sky Ferreira (the first guest vocalist to ever be featured on an Iceage song). Additionally, the band is announcing March residencies in New York and Los Angeles and dates in Japan in April, with their previously announced European and North American tours to follow in May and June.

The album was produced by the band with Nis Bysted, and recorded all-analog by Mattias Glavå at Kungsten Studios in Göteborg, Sweden, and mixed by Randall Dunn at Avast Studios in Seattle. The album was played entirely by Iceage with additional performances by Nils Gröndhal (violin), horns by Kasper Tranberg (trumpet), Lars Greve (saxophones) and Morten Jessen (trombone).

STREAM / PREORDER ‘Beyondless’
STREAM / DOWNNLOAD “Painkiller”

THE NEW ICEAGE
 by Richard Hell
 


I can totally imagine myself as a kid lying in my closed-door room in the dark, listening to this band and getting what I need, the way a band can make a person feel seen and bring confidence, sometimes even represent an ideal. Or maybe I’m already all defiant and self-certain, and I identify with Iceage because they are too, and they’re who I want to represent me in music. It’s a weird combination of qualities that a rock and roll band and their recordings presents to their young crowd, imparts to them. The music being pure emotion, the strong emotions of youth—anger, sadness, contempt, longing—as well as energy and sex, and the band’s demonstration that it gracefully owns and provides those things, consoling their followers in all the confusion.

What is it that Iceage in particular brings? A large number of extraordinary things. (Poetry! But more about that later.) The band members were childhood friends, which is always good news.  They’re like a small urban gang, faithful to each other, suspicious of outsiders (of which music journalists like me are the most suspect examples). At the same time, they seem mature and competent, which is almost too much to hope for. They not only play and compose well, but the production of their records, from the very beginning, and at the music’s most chaotic, is impeccable. Their presentation is as hardcore anarchic as any, but much better played, mixed, and recorded than most.

And then there’s the poetry and the intelligence. The members of Iceage are not only smart but hyper literate. Interviews with E. Rønnenfelt, the lead singer and lyricist of the band, find him mentioning Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter; Georges Bataille, Story of the Eye; Peter Shaffer’s Equus; Mishima, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea; Genet’s Thief’s Journal and Miracle of the Rose; The Torture Garden by Octave Mirbeau; Henry Miller on Writing; and James Agee’s A Death in the Family, and that’s in a total of four interviews. It’s not that he flaunts it; he’s simply honest and naturally acknowledges it.

The lyrics of Iceage songs have the most sophisticated vocabulary I can remember finding in rock music. Here’s a favorite example, from “Pain Killer” on the new album:

“Praying at the altar of your legs and feet
/Your saliva is a drug so bittersweet / 
I’ll arrogate what’s there to take. In an evanescent embrace.”

…“Arrogate”??? I half know the word, but I had to look it up to be certain. It means “to claim or seize without justification.” It’s funny because its Latin root also underlies the word “arrogant,” which one might be tempted to apply to Rønnenfelt for the contempt he shows for people who try to understand him. But I sympathize. It is extremely annoying to be characterized by other people. And the shading of meaning of the word “arrogate” brings a subtlety to those lyrics of his that “take” or “seize” or “claim” wouldn’t. Frankly, though, what I really like about those lines is the concept of praying to his lover’s feet. That’s good. It makes me think of a similar instance in another poet, Charles Baudelaire, who wrote in his “Hymn to Beauty”:

“Who cares if you come from paradise or hell,
 appalling Beauty, artless and monstrous scourge,
  if only your eyes, your smile or your foot reveal
the infinite I love and have never known?”

(photo : Steve Gullick)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tour Dates (new shows in bold)

Thursday, March 22nd Kinfolk, Brooklyn NY
Friday, March 23rd Kinfolk, Brooklyn NY
Saturday, March 24th Babycastles, Brooklyn NY
Sunday, March 25th Secret Project Robot, Brooklyn NY
Thursday, March 29th Golddiggers, Los Angeles CA
Friday, March 30th Golddiggers, Los Angeles CA
Saturday, March 31st Golddiggers, Los Angeles CA
Tuesday, April 3rd Metro, Kyoto JP
Friday, April 6th Duo, Tokyo JP

Sunday, April 8th Vacant, Tokyo JP
Saturday, May 5 Bitterzoet, Amsterdam NE
Sunday, May 6 Le Botanique, Bruxelles BE
Monday, May 7 Petit Bain, Paris FR
Tuesday, May 8 Scala, London UK
Thursday, May 10 Nordic Museum, Seattle WA
Wednesday, May 16 Bowery Ballroom, New York NY
Thursday, May 17 First Unitarian Church, Philadelphia PA
Friday, May 18 Union Stage, Washington DC
Saturday, May 19 The Camel, Richmond VA
Sunday, May 20 Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro NC
Monday, May 21 Mercy Lounge, Nashville TN
Tuesday, May 22 The Earl, Atlanta GA
Wednesday, May 23 Saturn, Birmingham AL
Thursday, May 24 Santos, New Orleans LA
Friday, May 25 Rockefeller’s, Houston TX
Saturday, May 26 Club Dada, Dallas TX
Sunday, May 27 Barracuda, Austin TX
Tuesday, June 5 The Casbah, San Diego CA *
Wednesday, June 6 The Regent Theater, Los Angeles CA *
Thursday, June 7 Don Quixote’s International Music Hall, Felton CA *
Friday, June 8 Great American Music Hall, San Francisco CA *
Saturday, June 9 Huichica Music Festival, Sonoma CA
Monday, June 11 Mississippi Studios, Portland OR *
Tuesday, June 12 The Astoria, Vancouver BC*
Thursday, June 14 The Bartlett, Spokane WA *
Friday, June 15 The Rialto, Bozeman MT *
Saturday, June 16 Kilby Court, Salt Lake City UT *
Sunday, June 17 Bluebird Theater, Denver CO *
Monday, June 18 Waiting Room, Omaha NE *
Tuesday, June 19 7th St Entry, Minneapolis MN *
Wednesday, June 20 Cactus Club, Milwaukee WI *
Friday, June 22 El Club, Detroit MI *
Saturday, June 23 Lee’s Palace, Toronto ON *
Sunday, June 24 The 27 Club, Ottawa ON *
Monday, June 25 La Sala Rossa, Montreal QC *
Tuesday, June 26 3S Artspace, Portsmouth NH *
Wednesday, June 27 The Sinclair, Boston MA *
Thursday, June 28 Market Hotel, Brooklyn NY *

* w/ Mary Lattimore

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