Close

AVOWED SLAVERY ANNOUNCED

Posted on by joe cardamone

Hey, this aint no “follow up” number, this is a the other arm getting a shot; this is the Slave Vows era of the Icarus Line getting its I’s dotted. A sort of finality at play here, “Avowed Slavery” is the companion release to 2013’s well received SLAVE VOWS album, this completes the circle of fury. With the video release of “City Job” at the end of 2013, and the Slave Vows album still making people talk, it was time to put these songs to wax, prepare the world for The Icarus Line's next move. Five tracks spread over the two sides, this mini album serves as aSlave Vows booster jab, the feral verocity of the last album is in spades here, maybe even more so, the fire in the band’s belly is roaring, and its only when the last track closes down do you realise quite fully, the impact. Reference points take in a whole gamut of genres, styles, sounds, stances…… Cardamone leads the gang once more into the rough, the desecrated warzone that is the music industry, american culture and love , they (Cardamone, Hallet, De Guzman, Arnao) create their brand of “hellfire and brimstone” rock and roll… Leeches and Seeds is a frenetic blast of noise with Hallets drums threatening to collapse your ears, driving you into live favourite Junkadelic. The bastard offspring of Clinton and Bargeld this grooves and slithers, winding its earworm abilities into your whole shuddering psyche….. Raise Yer Crown closes off side one, with their LA swagger back in full effect, thump and grind from the Icarus Line, this is Los Angeles NOW… Side two opens with the long awaited studio version of other live fave “Salem Slims”, first aired on the Killing Joke support tour in 2012, this fearless headrush is so adamantly an Icarus Line song, that theres no other comparison, howling stoogian vocal, building-destroying rhythms, shards of guitar gloss stunning all within range, this headrush of almost-insanity then moves into the last track, “The Father,. The Priest” , is this the calm after the storm, is this the comedown, is this the penance for the passion? Or is this the Vows era Icarus Line laying down tools to prepare for the next go?

Listen at full blast

Discussion off

PITCHFORK

Posted on by joe cardamone

The past couple years haven't been too kind to Los Angeles sleaze merchants Icarus Line. In fact, when you come to think of it, the band's entire career has been something of a slog for frontman Joe Cardamone and his seemingly ever-rotating cast of players. Gaining some attention with their 2001 debut Mono, their real breakthrough came two years later with the searing Penance Soiree, a criminally overlooked album that seethed with danger and wit. Personal turmoil and label troubles spurned Black Lives at the Golden Coast, an all-over-the-place, holy mess of an album that all but completely sapped any momentum Penance Soireemight have gained them. By the time their fourth album--the snaky, villainous Wildlife-- rolled around, Icarus Line had been relegated to lifer status, an act all but forgotten thanks to their cockroach-like ability to soldier on in the face of utterly toxic circumstances-- drugs, money troubles, lineup-shifting creative differences. Though largely ignored in spite of its obvious quality, Wildlife marked the welcome return to the Stooge-ian hedonism of Penance Soiree. And now it's with Slave Vows that the Icarus Line continue on their road to redemption, offering up their best record since the one that should've made them contenders.

It's unlikely that the Icarus Line are going to hold it against you for brushing them off ("I don't care enough to hate you," Cardamone grumbles on "Rat's Ass"), but sure as hell don't expect them to hold your hand, either. "Dark Circles" is an 11-minute "fuck you" of an opener, moving from a squall of torrential feedback to seasick, churning rhythms to an arid spaghetti Western-styled final act. It's not a great song, but rather a warning that if you aren't with them, you're against them, and now would be a good time to get out of the way. What follows is more earthen and scorched than anything the band has released to date, and while the formula on 

Slave Vows

 is fairly consistent-- songs start out comely, lurching and depraved, only to explode into id-startled fits of furious chaos and noise-- nothing feels forced or wasted. Recorded live to tape (the band's preferred method), the album taps into Icarus Line's infamous live show, complete with acid-scarred guitars and Cardamone's unique yelps and mutters and screams, which exude as much sex as they do terror.

"It's my fault I'm dedicated," he sings on "Marathon Man", sounding uncommonly principled for once. But it's his commitment to keeping Slave Vows as feral and uncompromising as it ultimately needs to be is what makes it so exciting. "Marathon Man" starts out snarling and slow, eventually giving way to a torrent of strangled noise that suggests every instrument is being physically wrestled and beaten into submission like rabid dogs. Even better is the sordid, striptease-ready "Dead Body", which starts off sounding like the perfect soundtrack for a good old fashioned roll in the glass, but as it explodes with such raw power and hellish riffage, the only thing it feels good for is triggering a panic attack. It's a jarring reminder of the viciousness this band is capable of.

Very little has been written about the Icarus Line without some mention of Iggy and the Stooges, and it's no wonder. Visit the band's official website, and you'll find a show flyer featuring a shirtless Cardamone lit in a very familiar orange fluorescence. But to fault Icarus Line for aping seminal punk, garage and no wave acts is to discount just how good they are at translating and nourishing these touchstones. If you could convincingly pull off an approximation of the Stooges frenzied fusion of sex and danger, then why the hell wouldn't you? Only on the final three tracks do the band go full Wild Child, which instead of sounding, well, slavish are instead nothing but a pleasure. The closest they get here to an actual bite is "No Money Music", which sounds almost exactly like Suicide's "Ghost Rider", right down to those piercing, echoed screams. In less capable hands it would feel cliché; here it's convincingly harried and frightening and nuts.

Slave Vows could use a little fine tuning, of course. At 45 minutes it's shorter than Penance Soiree, but lacks its concision and punch, at times wading a little too deeply into the indulgent waters of burdened, discordant blooze. And Cardamone-- despite convincingly inhabiting the sunken-eyed Lothario he truly is-- plays up the misestimated shock value a little more than he needs to ("Brick by brick, white people are fucking sick"). But at its core,Slave Vows is an album that plays by its own set of rules, unencumbered by any sort of expectation; it's one of the few perks being left for dead offers. "It's been the end of times for a long time," Cardamone murmurs on the sulphuric "Laying Down for the Man". If Slave Vowsis any indication, it's anything but.

 

  

Discussion off

POP MATTERS

Posted on by joe cardamone

Penance Soiree is one of the weirder flash-in-a-pan moments of the ‘00s. The album, the sophomore outing by the Los Angeles rockers of the Icarus Line, was hugely acclaimed throughout the year of its release, and it later went on to get a spot in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, a daunting achievement considering the group still had yet to really jump out into the rock scene in a significant way. Yet in the on-going discussion about “the death of rock ‘n’ roll” and the many sub-discussions involved therein (which, to be honest, are a little silly and overblown), at best the Icarus Line will get a passing mention in a footnote, and the only thing that’ll be referenced is Penance. Now, with the benefit of hindsight available to listeners in 2013, it’s easy to see both why Penance felt like such a force back then and why the band hasn’t maintained the relevance it had on that album.

The answer is simple: people want retroism and aren’t typically clamoring for the straightforward, which is what the Icarus Line does incredibly well. Consider the ever-growing popularity of the Black Keys, who better than any other remaining rock revival outfit capture the ethos of the style. What’s en fuego isn’t vintage rock, but rock that sounds like it’s trying to sound like vintage rock. The fusion of classic and contemporary rock is one that’s produced rewarding results—the Black Keys’ Brothers is one of many examples—but at the same time it’s come at the price of abandoning the very stylistics that are being praised in the first instance. Dan Auerbach’s fine skills as a producer don’t detract from the fact that a lot of what he does sounds undeniably “hipster”—the equivalent of buying a shiny new Gibson guitar and doing your damndest to make it sound 30 years older than it actually is. When groups have opted for a more traditionalist route, they’ve typically flown under the critical and popular radar. Look to the Elms’ incredible 2009 LP The Great American Midrange, a rootsy, authentic take on Midwestern rock in the vein of John Mellencamp, which has yet to be thrown around in discussion with records like White Blood Cells. Tried and true though a formula it is for rock ‘n’ roll, the “just plug it in and jam” technique isn’t enough for some. Rock music nowadays, while diverse and continually expanding, is too frequently run through a gamut of Instagram filters.

The Icarus Line takes umbrage with this. “Rock ‘n’ roll has been turned into this, like, Mötley Crüe charade, a parade of fucking dicks. It’s the ‘80’s again,” frontman Joe Cardamone told The Quietus. His oversimplified misappropriation of an important legacy in the genre aside, this fervor to celebrate the traditional facets of rock, which Cardamone rightly points out are commonly found in the same underground circles that the Icarus Line sprang from, has motivated a truly righteous slab of rock music in Slave Vows, the band’s fifth studio recording. With 2007’s Black Lives at the Golden Coast and 2011’s Wildlife, these guys rode comfortably under the radar, putting out quality, distortion-driven music without ever garnering the attention they did with Penance. The stakes have been raised by substantial strides with Slave Vows, an album that any band should be proud to call its own, “traditional” or otherwise.

Things kick off with the ten-minute epic “Dark Circles”, which incorporates the primordial heft of Swans and the feedback worship of the Stooges to a doomy effect. The influence of the former is particularly huge on this record. The contrast between the repetitive, groove-heavy riff in the first six minutes of “Dark Circles” and the moody coda is classic Gira, who used that very tactic on his career-summarizing opus The Seer just last year on cuts like “Lunacy”. As if this portentous jam weren’t enough, should-be-single “Don’t Let Me Save Your Soul” picks up a second later, teasing the listener with a series of staccato palm-muted strums, followed with a bass drum that matches its war-march rhythm. Sure enough, the song blows up in just the way one would expect it to, resulting in a huge, anthemic chorus that would could have very well been a top 10 rock radio hit in an earlier life and maybe, just maybe, in this one. These two tracks, the best on Slave Vows, set the intensity at the maximum possible level quite early into the game. Unsurprisingly, this is a record that has to wind down; the song lengths shrink as they work toward their conclusion in the kinetic “Rat Ass”, which concludes the LP in a glorious cacophony.

Even as Slave Vows lets its steam out following its slightly overloaded front half, there are still moments of amp-rattling power that keep the momentum at a steady cranked-to-11. The bluesy simmer of “Dead Body” features the album’s most energetic moment, when low bass rumblings give way to a wicked riff, one that’s sure to be a live highlight. “No Money Music” may be a quick little thing, but it makes its two minutes as much of a gut-punch as possible, channeling the same full-throttle vibe that made Boris’ 2005 collection of Stooges worship Pink so memorable. “Laying Down for the Man” is the kind of music that action movie chase scenes live for, with some nice wah-wah guitar to boot.

Best of all, however, is the completely unpretentious attitude that went into the making of this music. One can quibble over how dead rock actually is, but it truly is noteworthy when material that sounds as old-school as this is so well honed and crafted. It’s a testament to the fact that even as generations change, there will always be people in the new generation who can respect and put their own indelible stamp on “the old ways”. The men of the Icarus Line are such people, and with Slave Vows they’ve made an LP that celebrates rock music without ever coming off as a manifesto. Cardamone’s disdain for the variant threats of rock music current may invoke criticisms of youthful senility, but don’t let the press quotes fool you: Slave Vows may be a firm raising of the finger to “hipster rock”, but only in its willful bucking of current trends, not in the things it actually says. The rough-around-the-edges production, the squally storms of feedback, and the loudly pulsating rhythms of this record are just the result of a group of guys going into a studio, plugging in their instruments, and playing. It’s rarely that simple, but somehow with the Icarus Line it is. An eminently powerful work of rock ‘n’ roll from start to finish, Slave Vows hasn’t saved the soul of rock music, but it sure as hell has revitalized it.

Read More

Discussion off

The Icarus Line Announce New Album

Posted on by joe cardamone

The Icarus Line Announce New Album

Post-hardcore Los Angeles four-piece The Icarus Line have announced that they'll be releasing their new album Slave Vows (artwork above) on July 1 via Agitated.

It's their fifth album, and was recorded at frontman and, for the first time on record, guitarist, Joe Cardamone's Valley Recording Company in Burbank, California.

The text accompanying the announcement states: "It distils The Icarus Line’s past, present and future into 8 tracks and 45 minutes of profoundly uncompromised rock & roll hurtling from the malevolent glower of opener ‘Dark Circles’, to the slow, corrosive ooze of ‘Marathon Man’, to the savage explosion of ‘Dead Body’, to the Sabbath-plays-Funkadelic writhe of ‘Rat’s Ass'."

The record's driven by Cardamone's view of the current rock scene, of which he says: “Rock’n’roll has been turned into this, like, Mötley Crüe charade, a parade of fucking dicks. It’s the 80s again. It’s crazy how everything I love has been driven back into the underground. That’s where we came from, and that’s where we’ve ended up, and anything else good is back down there too.”

Talking about the album, he adds: “In previous years I’ve put out records that have been too long, because I’ve been working on them for like four fuckin’ years, and I’ve imagined it’s probably the last one I’ll ever do, so I just put everything on there. But at this point in my life, I don’t really give a fuck anymore. I know I’m gonna make records for as long as I’m alive, so I’m not as precious any more, I don’t care. This thing only exists so we can be happy and do something that matters to us, and to the people who need this as much as we do.”

Read More

MENTAL WARD - THE ICARUS LINE RECORDING NEW LP

Posted on by joe cardamone

Another installment of fine documentation by the great Ward Robinson. He captured the band while recording the new record all live in one room. Look Ma no headphones. What a great way to make records. You have to be on top of you game to get a keeper but when you do it's magic. I haven't been this excited about a record for years.

Discussion off

THE SOUNDS THAT SHAPED ME; #4 – JOE CARDAMONE (THE ICARUS LINE) « SSHHOOBBMMXXBBLLOOGG

Posted on by joe cardamone

THE SOUNDS THAT SHAPED ME; #4 – JOE CARDAMONE (THE ICARUS LINE)

Leave a comment

November 25, 2012 by sshhoobbmmxxbblloogg

This is installment number four of an ongoing series.
This time we delve into the murky backwaters of Icarus Line frontman Joe Cardamone’s past, via people, records and places.

check it;

+++

1 – Los Angeles -  My city, my hometown

2 – Decline of the Western Civilization – my first punk music experience

3 – River Phoenix – No one knows this but I spent an afternoon with him as a young buck and he turned me on to Black Flag and Fear. A week later he was dead. I had no idea who he was until he was dead.

4 – Velvet Underground – White Light / White Heat – The guitar sounds and playing on this record hit me hard, It had a huge impact on my playing / writing

5-  The Holy Mountain – Lately parts of this film have lent a visual aid to the process of writing and recording our newest record

6 – Captain Beefheart – There really isn’t a bad era by him and his paintings are great too

7 – Breaking Bad – it’s great show and we all get to live a life vicariously through Walt. It always seems like I am one bad week away from it anyway

8 – Giorgio Moroder – His soundtrack work and album production continues to impress me. The Scarface soundtrack is so unnerving

9- Travel – I think I have grown more through playing music around the world over the last decade than I could have by staying put

10 – My Family

+++

Discussion off

The Icarus Line's Joe Cardamone | Longtail | Impose Magazine

Posted on by joe cardamone

By Traven Rice » On why, a decade later, he still wants to be a rock 'n' roll frontman.

The Icarus Line's Joe Cardamone

Photo by Alex M. Smith

Icarus Line’s frontman Joe Cardamone is still wound up and going strong – even after a decade of raging ups and downs with various labels, disagreements with heavyweight producers and that mythical incident at SXSW where guitarist Aaron North busted into a display case to "liberate" Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar. 

Five albums later, a rung of new band members and various incarnations of sorts, Cardamone is happy to report the spirit of the band is still the same. He’s built his own studio in L.A., and “drums up work” outside Icarus Line by helping out new bands lay down some tracks, if he thinks they have potential. On stage, he has ramped up the energy, discarding the once legendary uniform of black shirt and pants with a thin, red tie. He now plays shirtless.

“That’s been a direct result of me becoming a producer I think,” he says. “I’ve been working with bands, and I’ve been going to shows and seeing bands -- and aside from the handful of groups that I decide to work with – I don’t know, I just haven’t seen anything exciting. I’m always hoping that I’m going to walk in to a club and see a band that is like The Damned or The Dead Boys or something that’s going to knock my socks off. And I’m just not seeing that.” 

“That’s kind of what kicked me in to high gear to make me want to go tour again. ‘Cuz it was like, well, if no kids are gonna fucking do anything about this then I guess we’re gonna have to go out there and start fucking people up.”

He admits he’s none too keen to jump back in to touring too soon, though. 

“I’m like in the re-grouping period – this band has a cyclical fuckin’ life span that just keeps going. It’s…put out a record, go on tour and then suffer the financial consequences of that for a couple years – and then do it again.”

Like most musicians these days, Cardamone is not impressed with the state of the music industry.

“If you told me that the current state of the music business, for lack of a better term, was gonna look like this when I was 18, I would have said, ‘You’re crazy.’ And so would anybody else,” he says. “I don’t think people fully understand how apocalyptic it is at the moment.”  

Over the past decade, Cardamone has seen the detritus of internet anarchy up close.

“It’s been about ten years now of the industry just hemorrhaging uncontrollably and I don’t know – something’s got to give. You know, there’s all kinds of fuckin’ red herrings like that Spotify bullshit – but I haven’t seen anything real yet,” he says. “Something does have to happen or our culture will suffer more than anything. And it already is.”  

“It’s like the internet was supposed to level the playing field and all it really seems to have done is create a bunch of static so (it’s easier for) the lowest common denominator to take a strangle hold…Since everyone has a voice now, it seems like no one has a fuckin’ voice,  because everyone can’t talk at once and not everyone has something meaningful to say.”

Because of the free for all that has become the current state of the industry, Cardamone says touring has turned in to a whole different nightmare. 

“There’s been a fucking chain reaction all across the board. It’s a completely different fucking fiasco,” he says. “For example, we just toured with Killing Joke in the UK. We did like sixty dates with them – and I’m seeing things that I’ve never seen before,  like bands that buy on to tours. If a big band wants to go on tour, they will have some opening act that may not even really be a band before the tour – you know, maybe just some people with money that want to go on tour and they’ll pay like, $10,000 dollars -- and they essentially pay for a headliner's bus.” He goes on, “The tragic notion about that is that there are bands that should be going on tour that cannot compete with that sort of fucking payola shit.”

Although the general atmosphere out there is gloomy, Cardamone clearly isn’t letting it get him down.  The upside is he’s been writing a lot.

“Creatively it’s been a good time for me. I write all the time. That ‘s not a problem. It’s more of a – keeping the hot water on (issue).”

And he insists he’s an optimist at heart.  “There’s still good people out there,” he says. “The label we’re on in England called Agitated is this guy Simon Keeler that brought us over to the UK for the first time when we were 21. He basically helped us get a foothold over there and he only puts out records that he loves and he’s fuckin’ awesome.”

“So I haven’t lost all hope because there are people out there that are gonna do this no matter what – I mean what else are we gonna do? I pretty much have to do this come hell or high water… after a certain point, if I don’t do it – I’ll just get sick in the head,” he says. “So it’s pretty much the only thing I can do to not become a criminal or whatever.”

There is a new album in the works, in fact, and the band has been writing music in a different way these days. “It’s kind of a more organic process,” Cardamone says. “The way that’s been easiest for me (lately), and it just seems more exciting, is that I’ll bring basic skeletons or the seed of an idea (in) and maybe give them some sort of road map, like – ‘Here is a couple places we can go within this idea. Here’s a couple places we might end up at, and if you see me go there, follow me.’  And even though I don’t play guitar live ever, I always bring one to rehearsal so that I can kind of conduct from it – and everyone can at least know what key we’re in.”

Why doesn’t he play guitar on stage? “I need to go make a fool of myself on stage,” he laughs. “It wouldn’t be fun for me. I’m 33 and I can still fall on my face without my hip shattering -- so I think I have a couple more years to beat myself up. I just want to entertain people,” he pauses. “I think there’s a lack of entertaining rock 'n' roll front people.” 

“It’s like a bunch of white kids ‘bearing their soul’ (out there now) and I can’t get behind it that much. Rock 'n' roll used to be informed by black music and just had more danger to it. That’s what attracted me to it in the first place and that’s what’s kept me here. If I can’t actually feel that way, for real, while we are playing, if we can’t reach some kind of collective zenith, with everyone feeling like at any moment this whole thing could fucking burn down and take everyone with us, then there’s just really no point in doing it.” 

Makeup by Jessica Urbealis.

Posted on July 31, 2012. More on: joe cardamone, the icarus line, agitated records

Discussion off