When a group of punks in their late teens call their 2011 debut album “New Brigade,” you might be suspicious. After all, there’s not a lot that’s new about Danish quartet Iceage, a band most reminiscent of early Wire: speedy but atmospheric, like art-school kids hopped up on amphetamines.
But that’s the wrong way to consider this promising group — or any band that recalls an earlier era. Art builds on art; it’s not created in a vacuum. When I first heard the Dream Syndicate in the 1980s, I didn’t know about the Velvet Underground. But if I was a longtime fan of Lou Reed and Co. and then heard the Dream Syndicate’s revival of that sound, it would have been my loss if I rejected that excellent band simply on the fallacy of believing something has to be “new” to be good.
Young people should claim modern punk as their own without admonishment from Grandpa Mohawk. A fresh generation tapping into an old power is a powerful thing — if not for you, for them.
Ultimately, music is rarely about being new. It’s about renewal.
Iceage plays tonight at Black Cat with Dirty Beaches, Give and Satan’s Satyrs.