It’s not an exaggeration to say that The Band Ice Cream (AKA Icey) is Kevin Fielding’s life work. After moving to California from Toronto, he and co-founder Joseph Sample established the project as an outlet for their songwriting. They released Classically Trained, produced by Bruce Botnick (The Doors), on Urban Scandal Records in 2017. The following year saw the release of Numbskull, produced by Jack Shirley (Deafhaven). Word was spreading, and the band found themselves sharing the stage with the likes of Sunflower Bean and Japandroids. They have also recently toured with Hot Flash Heat Wave.
On the upcoming album PLAY DEAD, Fielding concentrates societal and personal trauma into a lyrical portrait of a world struggling to straddle physical and digital realities. Heady stuff indeed, but Icey wraps it all in a cooling blend of post-punk, neo-psychedelia, and indie pop. PLAY DEAD is the perfect soundtrack to beachside doom-scrolling (and thus, the perfect soundtrack for contemporary reality).
Before the official release on October 7, The Band Ice Cream is now streaming. ”Our days are numbered,” Fielding says. “Humanity’s claim as the definition of humane is a bullish one. Wars against each other, against class, against obsolete systems all while our internet startup overlords claim we, the cogs in their capitalism machines, are more connected than ever. But who is it we’re connecting with? We wrote PLAY DEAD in an attempt to skip beating around these identity issues and instead punch directly at them, scrutinizing the duality of our modern lives. For the first time we mulled over lyrical decisions for months (if not years) and made sure they fit the anger, confusion, and bittersweetness our melodies attempt to convey. We poured our hearts out on this one and despite its heaviness, truly enjoyed creating something with a bit more weight to it. We hope people enjoy listening.”
In 2019, things came screeching to a halt. Sample left the band for personal reasons and Fielding suffered injuries that left him needing an organ transplant. Bedridden for months, only to walk again right as the global pandemic hit, Fielding startedrethinking the impact of the project. The hours spent in his room taking painkillers and watching the world fall apart had a profound effect on his approach to songwriting. Though, for the moment, the lyrics were restricted to Fielding’s mind and notepad; severe bruising to his throat left him without a voice. When he regained speech, his voice was deeper, and he’d lost his Canadian twang. “I relearned speaking English in the low and slow variety of California which wrecked my singing voice” he says. “Many therapy sessions later and visits back to Canada, and I’m starting to sound like myself again.”