Monday, December 03, 2007

Karp – Punk in My Vitamins Tape


While we are all mourning the end of the compact disc era, we would
like to take a moment to reflect on the tragic demise of the cassette tape. Sure, mass-produced cassettes sounded awful compared to vinyl, were prone to jam or get eaten by your tape player, and would wear out quickly, but their affordability and the ease of copying made them a goddamn blessing to the underground community. Of course, now with cd-rs, cheap cd burners, and mp3s, it’s even easier to distribute your tunes, but we still feel a bit sentimental toward the oft-maligned cassette tape. From the UK Do-It-Yourself labels (like Fuck Off/Street Level, Deleted, and New Crimes Tapes), to the early K Records and Sub Pop compilations, to the 90s lo-fi bedroom labels (like Shrimper, Elsinor, and Union Pole), the cassette has had a rich, though largely obscure past. Outside of one-man, lo-fi black metal bands and harsh noise artists, it doesn’t seem like anybody manufactures them anymore, and few stores bother to carry them.

And that brings us to this week’s hot pick: the almighty Karp and their self-titled tape. Released in 1992 by Unwound bassist Vern Rumsey’s Punk In My Vitamins label, the tape is eight songs of Karp at their earliest and rawest. Featuring Jared on bass/vocals, Chris on guitar, and Scott on drums, the band’s line-up remained the same until they broke up in the late 1990s. Vern also recorded the band in Olympia’s State Theater, and several songs were later re-recorded for various releases. Some of these songs were also included on the Action Chemistry compilation CD.


The label–-also the name of Vern’s fanzine--released split tapes by Long Hind Legs and Kicking Giant and by Long Hind Legs and Mundt, a short-lived duo featuring Mukilteo Fairy/Tight Bro Quitty and Crimpshire drummer/zinester Aaron Cometbus; they later moved on to releasing vinyl. Sadly, I lost all of my old fanzines during a move, but if memory serves me right, Vern would often include a cassette tape with his ‘zine. Also, if I remember correctly, there might have also been some Thrones and Dub Narcotic tapes.

I’m not sure if Chris did much after Karp, but Jared later fronted the Tight Bros From Way Back When and then reunited with Scott in the great band, The Whip. Sadly, Scott died in a boating accident in 2003. Jared now does double time in Big Business and the Melvins.

The very fine blog Strange Reaction also did a Karp post here, and you can find a complete discography here.

The Falling Under
Me Big Mouth
Handsome Traveler
Blu Blud
30 Ton Press
Propane Activist
Rocky Mountain Rescue
Nine Lives

Get them via zip here.

As a bonus, here's a live Karp show that our friend Jay recorded in Portland:

Live at Reed 10/23/94

-- MC Tom

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great band. Not too recently I missed the chance to see Big Business and The Melvins.

I've since lost the will to live

Anonymous said...

Dubbing 8 cassettes at a time on K's dubbing machines was an arduaous task.

Anonymous said...

or...ARDUOUS

Red Kennedy said...

Excellent. I take it you're probably a black metal fan, as no one aside from black metal fans can pronounce the names of the towns from which they hail, let alone the name. Also, they don't know about the existance of black metal, and if they do, it's limited to Demon Burger and Cradle of Piss, not one-man solo projects.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, dead links here. I did see Karp play four times and they killed it each time. Thanks to Ryan Baldoz for hooking me up with that awesome Karp shirt (still have!) at their warm-up show in Yakima prior to hitting the road with Beck.

Great band. Great site here too, by the way.

hortha71 said...

One of my favorite bands of all time. I was fortunate enough to see them three times and they NEVER failed to completely punish their audience (even once when all three were sick with the flu... they sweated their way through a 35 minute set!).

Please re-post the link for the cassette. I once asked Jared if they'd ever re-release that tape. He said he didn't think so but promised to send me a copy. That never happened so I'm dying to get my hands on it.

jay said...

it's way late to comment on this post, but i'm doing it anyway.

KARP ruled. i saw them dozens of times. including following them up I-5 between eugene and bellingham, with shows in cities all along the way. damn i loved them.

i have all of the tapes you mention here. except that i'm not sure whether i still have the tape i recorded at reed anymore.

TurkeyNamedBrotherhood said...

PLEASE REPOST THE LINKS!!!!!!!!! PLEASE

The Dust Bowl said...

yes, please repost! thank YOU in advance.

Count Von Castro said...

Hey, right on.
didnt think I would find anything from this band online.
Havent heard this in over 10 years.

Now If I could just find MP3's of bellinghams short lived band "Outside".

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