RADVENT Day 22: The Icarus Line’s “Penance Soiree”

For the first 24 days of December, Radio in Opposition and guests will share with you one very special album, one day at a time. We call it RADVENT.

RADVENT 2014 is in the home stretch and today’s choice is from Chris Broyles, guitarist for Airs and owner of the tape label Bone Orchard.

Whenever I get asked about my favorite records, the answer fluctuates by the hour. Ask me twice in the same day and you’ll get different answers each time. When asking about which records are most important to me or most influential and I’ll struggle for a bit. Not because it’s difficult to pinpoint something so critical to my musical development, but because it’s seemingly impossible to narrow it down to one Icarus Line album. Every shred of recorded music by this band could constitute as the most important record to me. They’ve ALL had an equally major impact on my life. Unfortunately I can’t write about the entire discography for this, so I’ve decided to go with their second (and arguably most popular) full length, Penance Soiree.

In 2006, I was an angry kid who’d just gotten way into Nine Inch Nails. I remember downloading a bunch of video bootlegs from the then recent With Teeth tour (no Youtube yet, kids) and being in awe of this insane guitar player Trent had in the live band at the time. I immediately looked him up online and discovered he was an ex member of The Icarus Line. The only two records they had out at the time were Mono and Penance Soiree (Black Lives was stuck in development hell at the time) so I just downloaded them both and got to listening. A few days later, I was walking out of my local record store with a brand new CD copy of Penance Soiree, thankfully still in print at the time.

I guess I could go over every single episode of my life where this album has played a signigicant role but I’d be writing a novel about it. Penance Soiree completely changed how I approached playing guitar and writing music. It brought the concept of using screeching feedback and noise as songwriting tools into my world and, most importantly, exposed me to an endless amount of similarly amazing bands whom I’d all consider “my favorites” today.

In short, The Icarus Line were (and still are) waaaaaay better than Nine Inch Nails.