We like The Icarus Line around here, and it’s a relationship that goes back some years, to 2001 and the Los Angeles band’s phenomenally ferocious debut LP, ‘Mono’. That set was followed by the equally raw, tremendously raucous ‘Penance Soiree’ in 2004, and then…
Well, honestly, for a little while things went a little bit shitty in The Icarus Line’s world. Album three, 2007’s ‘Black Lives At The Golden Coast’, sunk with barely a trace as its label, V2, went under right around release. Another LP, 2011’s ‘Wildlife’, didn’t quite connect in the way that long-term fans were hoping for. But then came ‘Slave Vows’, a 2013-released collection that warrants insertion into any idioms-describing dictionary under the “return to form” entry. Read our review here.
And now, there’s more. ‘Avowed Slavery’, released through Agitated Records on July 14th, presents five tracks as a companion package to 2013’s fiery fifth LP proper. It’s a mini-album with real thought put into it, rather than an EP pieced together with offcuts.
Exclusive to Clash: stream two tracks from the release below – the swagger-and-snarl of ‘Junkadelic’ and sinister slink of ‘Raise Yer Crown’ – ahead of frontman Joe Cardamone’s (pictured, second from right) take on this week’s new singles.
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Blood Orange – ‘It Is What It Is’
“Okay, this guy goes way back with my woman. Old friends. His apartment burnt down with his dog inside it last year. I know the pain of losing everything, and more importantly your animal family member. Horrific. Kinda reminds me of Prince’s ‘Lovesexy’ era. I’d like to see him go even further into that zone. Someone has got to step soon up, cos Prince might not live forever.”
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Drake – ‘Worst Behavior’
“This is a child actor guy from Canada, right? That’s where my knowledge of this guy ends. I’ve also heard the expression ‘fake like Drake’ a few times. Is this kid singing about being mad at his dad? That’s too bad. I guess you have to write lyrics about something. This music personifies what the public has come to expect as a soundtrack to their Facebook fantasy about living large as a gangster that has stacks of cash under their bed. Why do the majority of people relate to that dream? I guess it could be because corporations have been syphoning their lives since the day we were born and art has been marginalised. That might be why stuff like this connects to the clueless, forgotten masses. The musical equivalent of a Subway sandwich.”
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Ella Eyre – ‘If I Go’
“This is a post-Winehouse R&B track. Real heart-on-your-sleeve lyrics. I can see it now: A Zack Galifianakis buddy movie montage at the point in the plot where he is deciding to get serious about the person who he has broken off. Now he is driving around the city looking for them, but he just can’t believe he figured it out too late to find them. Music to tell you how to feel for people who cant feel on their own. What are the stats on anti-depressants these days? Generic, current pop production. Probably took 40 people to write the song or something. I think it’s really good, since the music biz is in a slump, that labels are tryin’ to streamline.”
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Banks – ‘Drowning’
“Post Kanye’s ‘Yeezus’, post Lana Del Rey. It seems like it’s a good time to be a white girl who looks like a 91210 character and musically kinda sounds like one. I bet our local station, KCRW, will play this so that people don’t get road rage and f*cking shoot each other on the drive home from work this month. It’ll keep people form driving down the middle of road. Perhaps that was the goal here? I never liked trip-hop or whatever the genesis of this sound is. No one will remember this in a month if they do even know it now. Forgettable. This chick makes M.I.A. sound like Agoraphobic Nosebleed.”
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Jess Glyne – ‘Right Here’
“This track is better than the last one. Production is leaning on the ’80 s in a modern way. I can’t hear the AutoTune on her voice, so that is a plus. Seems like she probably could sing this track in real life. I would never put this on my stereo, but I could see this kicking ass at a gay bar, or in a Tyler Perry production. No Hate.”
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Blessa – ‘Island Mining’
“Ahh, let’s open the track with the crystal echoes effect. That one always gets the mood quick. I’m gonna say that crystal echoes is going to become to indie what AutoTune has been to pop music. People are gonna beat that shit into the ground. It’s the effect that can make something that is totally vanilla and pointless seem slightly less so. This track kinda has that garage band demo sound – you have to hold an insanely good song or some sort of unique angle to make that work. Is this British? (Indeed, they’re from Sheffield.) Probably, as it’s so very… rainy. Pret A Manger music.”
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Words: Joe Cardamone
Photo: Steve Gullick
Related: more Singles Round Up columns
Find The Icarus Line online here. ‘Avowed Slavery’ is released on July 14th.