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Up the Bracket 

by Andrew Matson & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & S & lt;/span & pokane's Iceage Cobra has seen their move to Seattle pay off. Since the hard-rocking three-piece -- Jordan West (vocals, guitar), Mitch Bratsch (drums) and Brad Kaufmann (bass) -- were lured cross-state by like-minded Seattle sensation Thee Emergency, Iceage Cobra released Brilliant Ideas From Amazing People, their debut LP. The disc spins often on taste-making local radio station KEXP, and -- striking while the iron is hot -- the band has licensed a song for commercial use (outdoor gear company The North Face bought "Acid Pony").

Asked about how the deal came to be, Jordan responds, "The marketing people for The North Face heard us on the radio, on KEXP, liked the song, contacted us via e-mail, asked us if we'd be interested, and we said 'sure.'" The decision was made easier by virtue of the fact that "We're in debt, pretty much," Jordan adds. "We've definitely discussed that we're not going to jump at every offer [...] and The North Face, it wasn't like a tampon commercial or something, you know. It's remotely cool."

"Selling out" is not a pressing issue. With America's decadent, major label-driven record industry in full-on Roman decline, smart marketers license at the plebian level, subverting the corporate rock power structure. Thanks to MySpace and YouTube, the need for bigwig promotional middlemen is all but gone. In control of their own momentum, bands are again relying on the spirit of rock 'n' roll: Give the people what they want.

Surrounded by Seattle's fabled passive-aggression, Iceage Cobra's dirty, bluesy aggressive-aggression echos like the call of the wild. Raw and sexual, it taps directly into the city's unspoken, PC-ravaged id. As with Thee Emergency, the band exudes a reckless swagger that begs zero outside validation. There is something appealingly American about Iceage Cobra: live, each song is a sweaty Declaration of Independence.

Having recently played a showcase at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, Iceage Cobra is tearing up stages nationwide, planning an East Coast trip for this fall's CMJ festival. Playing at America's two biggest independent music conferences is a must for the band. In a van, onstage, or in its practice space, Iceage Cobra's job is to keep its nose to the grindstone while kicking out the jams to as wide an audience as possible. Fittingly, they don't care if fans download or burn their music.

Their success restores faith in American-style, blue-collar rock 'n' roll: Iceage Cobra kicks obvious ass and people are hungry for more. Go to their homecoming and pledge allegiance.

The Wig Bash featuring Iceage Cobra, Seaweed Jack, the Pharmacy and Shim at the Blvd on Saturday, March 31, at 8 pm. Tickets: $6. Call 455-7826.
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