Monday, June 13, 2011

Bundle up for the Iceage

This band has somehow succeeded in remaining under my radar for the past few months and now I'm playing catchup. The young Copenhagen punk band Iceage released its first LP this March and since then it's made some serious waves in places like the New York Times and Pitchfork. I'm listening to it for the first time all the way through as I write.

The music successfully straddles the line between raucous no-wave, noisiness and headbanging punk beats. The short "New Brigade" track "Intro" starts off with minimalistic metallic clanging and transitions sharply into track two "White Rune" which is driven by booming floor toms, doomy vocals, and sinister click clacking guitars. There is an undeniable Joy Division energy to the music.

"Broken Bone" alternates back and forth between melodic bellowing punk vocals and crunchy dissonant guitar work. Tracks like "Remember" are almost fully harmonic and once again remind me of Joy Division. There's a great amount of experimentation of the album but the material still feels unified.

Hopefully I'll be able to get an interview with some of the band members for FPH. They're coming to The Mink here in Houston on their short US summer tour. They'll be joined by fantastic Houston acts like The Energy and Balaclavas.

You can get their latest record on iTunes.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Come and "Listen to the King of the Surf Guitar"

The venerable Dick Dale is visiting H-town tonight, once again, but this time he's playing at a far less annoying venue: The Continental Club. The last time Dale visited was about a year and a half ago at the House of Blues which was a hard sell, even to a diehard fan like myself.

There will be the inevitable question from some of, "who is Dick Dale?" and to that I answer, an American, surf-rock, treasure, paralleled by none. To those people ignorant of Dick Dale's greatness, I usually pose the question, "Have you seen Pulp Fiction?" and they'll normally nod yes. I'll continue, "Remember that bad ass opening song right after the robbery starts?" and then the mental gears will start to turn and there will be an unmistakable look upon his or her face of, "Oh yeah, I see, he's the shit."

Dale has a varied history of rockabilly, gypsy, and proto-metal music that goes back as far as 1959. He started off playing catchy pop ditties about drag racing and cars but eventually became known more for his scorching tremolo picking and reverb-laden guitar work. You can still get tickets here. I hope I can still shred that hard at 74.