The young punk blood of Denmark's Iceage

New noise
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  August 10, 2011

Iceage
COLD FRONT “Anyone who plays in a rock band wants to tour and play venues in different cities,” says Iceage’s Dan Kjaer Nielsen (second from left). “But it’s not a big deal, it’s nothing life-changing.” 

As punk lurches awkwardly toward middle age, it parasitically thrives on the fresh blood of an ever-replenishing menagerie of post-adolescent culture.

Every season, a new crew graduates from the kid's table, ties on a napkin, and carves in to the traditional meal of all-ages hall shows, broken cartilage, and speedy waltz-thrash that is punk's legacy of brutality — which is why Copenhagen's Iceage has had an effect on the global punk gatekeepers not unlike tossing fistfuls of chum into shark-infested waters. They came out of nowhere, released a debut album on What's Your Rupture? Records that's a dense 24-minute amalgam of post-neo-core signifiers that manages to be both satisfyingly atom-smashing and obtusely indirect and weird — and oh yeah, they all just graduated high school. As they announce with the title of their record, welcome to the New Brigade.

When I caught up with the Iceage crew by phone on their tour bus as it sauntered around the California hills, I was greeted with a minute or so of cellphone hot potato that finally landed the interview in the hands of drummer Dan Kjaer Nielsen. It's Iceage's second US tour and first as a headliner, one which brings them to the cozy confines of JP's Midway Café next Monday, a far cry from the cross-country theater tour with Fucked Up they made earlier this year. But don't expect the band to cop to the usual youthful, wide-eyed tour-of-America enthusiasm. As Nielsen puts it: "Anyone who plays in a rock band wants to tour and play venues in different cities. But it's not a big deal, it's nothing life-changing, it's just five weeks out of our lives."

The world of punk is famously obsessed with authenticity, which is why when a band blows up as spectacularly as Iceage have in 2011, enthusiasm for the new is often tainted with a trace of "Wait, who are these guys and how did they get here?" Don't look to the band for answers to that one. "We didn't ask for it or anything like that," explains Nielson. "It just happened all of the sudden. I don't know why, people just — I dunno." A quick perusal of the band's photo-heavy Tumblr, though, effectively explains their sudden appeal: blood flowing from noses and ears, cans of bitter bigger than their heads, pouty lips, shattered guitars, gigs over so fast that you better not step out for a smoke or you'll miss them. In some ways, it's as if the gods of punk saw a void and with a thunderbolt filled it with this teenage mayhem.

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