Icarus Line
Thurs July 22
1 SW 3rd

The legend of guitarist Aaron North precedes the Icarus Line. He's the incendiary, corrosive-tongued cofounder of the caustic music and gossip site/ record label Buddyhead. At 2002's SXSW, North plundered a case containing Stevie Ray Vaughan's guitar and invited a homeless man to sit in his place as a panelist. Between his band and Buddyhead, North has been directly and indirectly responsible for tagging tour busses with slams like "$ellout$," releasing prank calls to music industry stalwarts on CD (Buddyhead Suicide), and publishing the phone numbers of mall punk and rap-rock acts he thinks suck.

In a word, North talks a lot of shit. As does Icarus Line frontman Joe Cardamone, who told British music mag Loose Lips Sink Ships, "I'm not gonna take criticism from someone whose record collection is probably smaller than my collection of golf clubs. And I don't have any golf clubs." The Icarus Line sound like pretentious pricks to some, but actually they're exactly the antichrists the music industry's bullshit requires.

Despite their balled-fisted disgust with record-label excess, the Icarus Line have made the best record of their six-year career with Penance Soiree, one as musically, vocally, and lyrically contradictory as its most prominent members' brazen attitudes. A fearless, reckless girth--Penance Soiree is a volatile, melodic, brooding-to-bellowing sound that erects walls of droning, shoegazer-influenced guitar work, and then comes kicking and screaming at the more stoic foundations of that genre. And it's one of the best albums of 2004.

North is only too happy to continue to bash the music industry even as he works within it himself. "Nobody wants to offend anybody because that'll hurt their career," he says. "And everyone [is] afraid of trying to have a good time. We're not politicians--it's fucking rock music."

With that attitude, North is certain the Icarus Line have crushed the hand that feeds them, and despite glowing write-ups, he still claims there's a bias against his group, but one that only fuels his fire. "People are afraid," he says. "But really, I don't give a shit."