Fort Worth band Ice Eater plays it cool – and mysterious – on its debut Don’t Care

Ice Eater

10 p.m. Saturday

Lola’s Saloon, Fort Worth

$8 over 21; $10 under 21


Posted 7:07am on Wednesday, May. 22, 2013

Ice Eater takes pride in making music it considers unusual, but the five musicians who make up the post-prog-punk outfit are naturals in terms of pushing the sonic envelope.

When describing their sound, the guys go back and forth between intentional mystery and direct comparisons to underground ’80s icon Joy Division.

Ice Eater will release its first studio album, Don’t Care, on Saturday at Lola’s Saloon, as part of the monthly Good Show Live Music Series.

Drummer Wyatt Adams can already set the scene.

“There are a lot of alternative country kids around,” he says. “They just stand there and look at us, scratching their heads like, ‘What is this?’ I enjoy that.”

Adams and guitarist Zach Edwards grew up in Aledo and never fit the Texas country mold. They have been collaborating on music since they were 12, but time insisted they wait for over a decade until their common sound morphed into a performing band.

The two started fleshing out bits of songs in 2010, when Adams was still drumming for the Burning Hotels and Edwards was the timekeeper for Shapes Stars Make. Both eventually left their former bands so that they could play a more active role in songwriting, focusing all of the fast-drumming and salty guitar tones into Ice Eater.

The earliest tunes were “pretty mathy,” according to Edwards, “just guitar loops and drums.” Adams soon acquired a Roland Juno synthesizer and started pulling industrial sonic elements from the vintage machine.

They progressed as far as a two-piece could go before recruiting singer James Jardine into the fold. The three bonded immediately over a shared interest in Talking Heads and the Paper Chase.

“It was definitely really, really interesting,” Jardine says of the initial sessions. “I was impressed by the sound, for sure, even if I didn’t know exactly what it was. Picture a Lamborghini with monster truck wheels.” ( Jardine is also Fort Worth’s unofficial ambassador for Movember, the men’s health movement.)

Though Ice Eater’s sound is enigmatic at times, “it’s pretty standard post-punk,” Edwards says, meaning the band employs fast-tempo, punk rock elements with electronic additives like drum machines and space noises from the keyboards.

The three then joined forces with keyboardist and DJ Jordan Kline, whom Adams had longed for as a musical collaborator for years. “He knows a lot about bands and about sound,” Edwards says of Kline’s particular talents. “All about synthesizers and creating soundscapes.”

The band employed several bassists while holing up in a practice space for months on end. “We try not to emulate anyone,” Adams says, “which is where we want to be, but also why it took so long for us to get the way we are.”

With a handful of songs ready for public consumption in early 2012, Ice Eater began playing live shows around Fort Worth and recording Don’t Care with the bass services of their good friend Ronnie Heart, who also performs solo electronic music and used to play guitar for Neon Indian. Heart’s work is featured on the album, but Brad Cannon, formerly of the Cleanup, is now the band’s bassist.

“I was most interested in providing some constructive criticism for the vocals,” Cannon says of why he found Ice Eater appealing. “I wanted to see what it would be like if I applied myself to what they were doing and how it would affect the sound.”

Though both Adams and Edwards had a clear vision of the group’s sound, they have loosened the reins and allowed for total collaboration. “It’s more communal now,” Jardine says. “I think everybody knows what to expect from each other.”

Though Jardine’s voice is featured prominently on Don’t Care, the lyrics are a patchwork of observations and truisms from everyone’s pen. “The lyrics are open to interpretation,” Edwards says. “They are there to evoke feelings.”

The band searched carefully for a producer who would be on board with walls of sound and evocative punk. They eventually settled on Alex Bhore, who also plays drums with This Will Destroy You.

“He’s like the sixth member of Ice Eater,” Edwards says. “He gets it and is good at sound shaping.”

The group will release 100 limited-edition cassette copies of Don’t Care, along with digital download cards, at the Lola’s show. It’s proud of its hard work, attention to detail and the cover art, created by Calvin Sprague of Pavlov Studios.

If the country-loving kids show up to stand and stare, well, the guys in Ice Eater truly don’t care.

“That’s how we know we’ve done our job,” Jardine says.

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