Iceage & Fascism: 5 Reasons To Hate & 3 Reasons Why It's Still (Maybe) Okay To Listen


Iceage is a punk band from Copenhagen, Denmark, and for a while, that's all they were. They received some good buzz from their first full length, New Brigade, and were then later signed to Matador Records, one of America's largest independent labels. Their most recent release, You're Nothing, released back in February, has been showing up in 'Best New Music' lists all over the place, bringing a ton of exposure to such a young band (the members are all around 18-19 years of age). But with all this exposure comes scrutiny. The band has been known to sell knives at its shows, their guitarist has a Death in June tattoo, a band often related - fairly or not - with neo-nazism, and the members of Iceage have been known to wear buttons for the metal band Burzum, whose frontman, Varg Vikernes, is a known murderer, church burner, and white supremacist. What really seems to have sparked the fires of controversy this time (unfortunately, this isn't the first time Iceage has been accused of fascist and racist sympathies) is the below video of the band playing while some of its fans seig heil. The band so far has either remained silent or evasive about these issues, but denying outright charges of neo-nazism and right-wing sympathies. This issue hits close to home for me because my hometown, where I spent 19 years of my life, has a long history of dealing with racism, specifically national socialist and creativity movement related groups. It's scary, and I have seen how posturing around those sorts of symbols can actually lead to destructive attitudes. Even beyond my personal experiences, Europe itself is facing many issues related to xenophobia and cultural preservation due to increased immigration, and any sort of inflammatory action carries a lot more weight. On the other hand, these kids have a whole community of musical forebears who played with the same sort of fire and got away famous. The punk community has its fair share of posturing and tough-guy chest beating, so to be young and playing that sort of music is to have a constant test of resolve and fortitude. Also, it would be a true shame to lose this band to controversy simply because they are very good. not to say that that should be a 'get out of jail free' card, but it does add something to consider. That being said, after a period of consideration. here are five reasons why everyone (and you, probably) should care and be angry about Iceage's behavior, and then three reasons why it's still, sort of, okay to listen to them and, god forbid, even enjoy them.
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I am a writer and musician born and raised in Montana. I have done everything from fixing fences in Glacier National Park to curating the music library at KBGA Missoula. I am also a lazy jerk.