The Icarus Line

The Icarus Line

The Icarus Line

Slave Vows


The start of 2014 seems like a great time to reflect of some of the best music of 2013 that might have gone undetected on most listeners’ radars. First, some caveats and full disclosures: I tend to like my rock music dark, brash, psychedelic, dangerous, and sexy, with a dash of funk and swagger for good measure. Fortunately, Slave Vows, the excellent fifth album from the L.A.’s The Icarus Line, delivers the goods to reaffirm all of these biases.

Slave Vows is a record produced and mostly written by lead singer Joe Cardamone as a reaction to what Cardamone sees as the “Motley Crue charade” modern rock has become. The sonic aesthetic of the album tends to be more analog, organic, and raw. Overdubs are held to a minimum and guitar feedback squeals and squelches find their way to the front of the mix in many songs. With the right pair of headphones, one could probably hear the tubes humming. For those in need of touchstones, think of the bastard child of Primal Scream at their most aggressive, The Stooges at their most funky, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds / Grinderman at their most abrasive.

Touchstones aside, The Icarus Line sound like The Icarus Line, which for my money is about the best compliment one can give a band. And although this may be your introduction to the band, those in the know noticed them a while back. For example, their brilliant second album Penance Soiree was featured in the 2005 book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Recorded in a two-month blast, Slave Vows‘ eight tracks clock in at just over 45 minutes, with eleven of those minutes devoted to the slow-burning opening track, “Dark Circles”. The other seven tracks explode with the band’s signature punky-dark-psychedelic-L.A.-ghetto-funk. It sounds live, intimate, and hungry. The work of a band with something to prove: “No Money Music”. The work of a band with a more chips than shoulders: “Rat’s Ass”. The work of a band comfortable in the underground: “Laying Down for the Man”. The work of a band in it for the long haul: “Marathon Man”. The work of a band that made, for my ears, the best rock album of 2013.

Agitated Records:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Bully

    Bully greets Orlando with apathy and anger toward one of its theme parks. Jen Cray smiles and thinks, “Man, this band would have fit in well in the nineties!”

  • Luther Dickinson
    Luther Dickinson

    Blues & Ballads: A Folksinger’s Songbook: Volumes I & II (New West Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Conway

    Big Talk EP (Self-Released). Review by Jen Cray.

  • Freakwater

    Scheherazade (Bloodshot Records). Review by James Mann.

  • The Haymarket Squares
    The Haymarket Squares

    Light It Up. Review by Carl F Gauze.

  • Ani DiFranco
    Ani DiFranco

    Years pass, and so do our legends, but one constant remains: there are always artists living and breathing that are worth your time and attention. Ani DiFranco is a major one, according to Jen Cray and a whole legion of fans.

  • Javier Escovedo
    Javier Escovedo

    Kicked Out Of Eden (Saustex Media). Review by James Mann.

  • Eszter Balint
    Eszter Balint

    Airless Midnight (Red Herring). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Arthur Lee and Love
    Arthur Lee and Love

    Real to Reel (High Moon Records). Review by Al Pergande.

  • The Rentiers
    The Rentiers

    Here is a List of Things That Exist EP / Black Metal Yoga 7″ (Square of Opposition Records/Death to False Hope Records). Review by Jen Cray.

From the Archives