The New Brigade
Odd Future—the ubiquitously anointed "face of 2011 punk" leaving SXSW—come armed with a multi-platform marketing push and an icky rape fetish, both begetting deeply weird vibes. What about teenage punk that sounds like it gives a fuck, rather than adamantly insisting that it doesn't? Take The New Brigade, a blistering debut from adolescent Dane agitators Iceage. Already something of a blood-smeared scandal in Copenhagen, the album's first domestically released batch of vinyl sold-out on pre-orders and awaits re-press. It deserves more than life as some hard-to-find curio for genre geeks. Iceage's amped-up synthesis of cracked post-punk melody and bonkers hardcore aggro is darkly anthemic enough to really connect. (The lack of a U.S. PR firm shouldn't be a disqualifier, right?)
Singer Elias Rønnenfelt has a casually feral voice that coats serrated guitars and relentlessly maniacal drum fills with claustrophobia-dodging brightness. These songs are intensely short and fast, but still find time for weird structural turns and sudden jags of open space. A few songs, like the album-closing "You're Blessed," near the playful ferocity of Pink Flag-era Wire. Though their slurred, English-sung lyrics keep them from sounding quite that brainy, the speed with which they immolate ideas and cast them away suggests a restless mind or two. You get a lot of flimsy debuts from young bands these days that feel like coy withholding—flashing just enough style to signify potential. The New Brigade's 24 minutes affect you like a drenching workout, or an exhilarating freefall. You're giddy, almost glad just to be done, body still quivering. Which is to say: what a great punk record!