Icarus Himself and Sleeping in the Aviary - The Frequency

Madison's Icarus Himself have evolved into a trio and just released a new EP "Mexico." Nick Whetro and Karl Christenson of National Beekeeper's Society along with new percussionist Brad Kolberg have matured the Icarus Himself sound into a cohesive identity as evidenced by the five songs on the new EP. We've been listening to the new material and especially like the textured build of "Digging Holes" and fuzz-soaked "Half Ton Load."

Icarus Himself

 Icarus Himself - Digging Holes

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 Icarus Himself - Half Ton Load

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Like the old MTV celebrity death match series, the record release show for Icarus Himself sounded intriguing. Jentri Colello and Flight would start the evening followed by a round robin between Icarus Himself and Sleeping the Aviary. Both bands would alternate sets until someone fell over or the bar time clock hit 2:30am. We got to the club just as Flight finished their set and were told after purchasing tickets that the show was officially sold-out. After a lengthy intermission the round robin began. Icarus Himself kicked things off with four songs including our favorite "Digging Holes." The addition of live percussion to the show gave the performance a crisp, edgy ambience that solidified the band's sound. 

Science of Sound, the local indie record label releasing the "Mexico" EP, describes the Icarus Himself sound as "indie psych-electro-folk" that has garnered comparisons to Neutral Milk Hotel, Beirut, Syd Barrett and David Bowie on acid. Sorry, no hallucinogens were handed out before the show, but we have to agree that the Icarus Himself sound is Bowie-ish and something we haven't been able to stop listening to.

Sleeping in the Aviary must of found the hallucinogens based on several dubious wardrobe changes. Our favorite was bassist Phil Mahlstadt in his underwear bathrobe and a sailor hat. Guitarist Elliot Kozell wouldn't be outdone, sporting a Las Vegas Golden Nugget satin jacket with lots of chains and fake bling. The over-the-top fashion statement must come from the "Prince" influence now that the band lives in Minneapolis. They did try out a couple of new songs including a slow paced sentimental type ballad that included several choruses of gargling!

The round robin went on continuously for about 90 minutes before the house lights were brought up abruptly by the club for some reason and the show was over. Who won? I would say it was a draw.

In retrospect, the billing of Icarus Himself and Sleeping in the Aviary worked well with each band playing off each others strengths. Icarus Himself played the serious straight man role to the wild antics of Sleeping in the Aviary. It was paced really well and made for an enjoyable evening of Midwestern indie rock n roll with the Madison local music supporters out in full force.

Icarus Himself will be back at The Frequency on June 15th. Watch for the return of Sleeping in the Aviary at the High Noon Saloon on July 23rd with news on a new album. Flight will be at Summerfest on June 26th.

Sleeping in the Aviary with Nick Whetro

Sleeping in the Aviary

Karl Christenson

Karl Christenson

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