When someone says Iceage is cool, they mean Jim Morrison or River Phoenix cool, as in a looming sense of mystery that even Richard Hell and Iggy Pop aren’t immune to. Speaking with frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt over the phone, one quickly realizes they’re not cool. The Danish punk outfit consisting of Rønnenfelt, Johan Surrballe Wieth (guitar), Jakob Tvilling Pless (bass), and Dan Kjær Nielsen (drums), stoke that inscrutability with a magnetic hodge-podge of sleazy rock and moody jazz made urgent by Rønnenfelt’s existential lyrics.
“Through sheer practice or trial and error, fortunately, I discovered that [lyrics] were something that could really be fleshed out,” Rønnenfelt says. “Something I could have a great interest in.”
Latest album Beyondless
proves Iceage’s most compelling yet. They introduce a cinematic hue to their DIY exterior. “Showtime” relates a performer offing himself over gaudy trumpets and “Pain Killer” features Sky Ferreira packaging a love story in dark rock, all while maintaining the uninhibited angst of their three previous studio LPs.
“We try to keep things a little mysterious to ourselves and not analyze too much what our band is and what our band can do. We just try to get led by that gift that comes to us and act upon whatever immediate impulse shows up in our collective minds.”
The quartet stops for barbecue in Austin before a world tour in November. Long commutes leave little room for sanity.
“We don’t always keep ourselves from going crazy,” admits the singer. “In the worst of moments, you just sort of have to hold on to whatever sanity you have left, remind yourself that it’s temporary.”
Read our fill interview with Elias Bender Rønnenfelt at austinchronicle.com/daily/music
Sun., May 27, 8pm