How best to describe The Icarus Line Must Die, Michael Grodner's new feature film? The experimental, paradoxical rock movie is a stylized exploration of the final days of cult L.A. band the Icarus Line — who were once heralded as the "the greatest rock group of the 21st century" — that expertly blurs lines between art and reality, music and mythology. Co-written by Grodner and Icarus Line frontman Joe Cardamone — the latter is also the film's star — the black-and-white movie serves as a fictionalized portrait of the Icarus Line's waning career.
It's also a love letter to the L.A. underground, featuring performances and cameos from a slew of scene veterans: psych-pop auteur Ariel Pink (appearing here as a fictional ex-member of the Icarus Line who ditched the band for Nine Inch Nails, only to come crawling back 10 years later); Justin Pearson of Dead Cross and the Locust, and punk firebrands Pink Mountaintops, just to name a few.
There's also a cameo from Keith Morris of Black Flag/Circle Jerks/OFF! — which you can watch in the teaser clip above.
Over cratefuls of vinyl at Permanent Records, a beloved area record store, Morris shoots the shit with Cardamone (the two are also friends in real life), updating him on his life and later, offering some sage songwriting advice. "It's rock music," he instructs, "It's not like you're splitting the atom. Set up, plug in, and just blow it up."
"I wanted to portray what the LA indie/punk scene is like as accurately as possible," explains Grodner. "Keith is such a vibrant and integral part of the scene, plus he and Joe go back; there's a history there — so I was super-excited when he agreed to do the film."
Following its cinematic premiere late last month (June 2018), the 83-minute film (unrated by the MPAA) is now available for on-demand streaming through big-name digital services like iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play. This widespread release also entails upcoming screenings at Austria's Filmfestival Kitzbuhel (August 22nd-26th) and New York City's Bowery Ballroom (September 8th); for more information on upcoming events, head over to the movie's official website.