Don't get me wrong -- I'm not complaining or anything -- but this job ain't natural. The music comes at you in huge, curling waves of no logic and crashes over your head in a senseless muddle of dance-club remixes sharing shelf space with New Age jazz and Romanian folk fiddle music. Sometimes I think if I just locked myself in a closet with Coltrane (I'd call him Trane like all the other hipsters, but I don't feel quite that familiar) for the rest of my days, I'd never miss a thing.
So you try to figure out what deserves a recommendation, knowing that for every plug you toss into the print breeze, there'll be seven very nice but very spurned publicists on the phone wanting to know why you dissed them and not the other guy. Not to mention the journalistic balance thing, which makes you try to paint a neutrally attractive portrait of the city's musical happenings in any given week. You can get so screwed up trying to figure out the right band to recommend that you occasionally find yourself on the verge of going to press with a glowing preview of, say, Joe Ely, fer chrissakes, before you come to your senses and realize the terrifying gravity of what you've almost done. You've almost lied to the people.
So you leave the office and you go home and look through the stacks of incoming until you find a sleeveless black cassette printed with a word you initially think is Krap, but turns out to be Karp, and you plug it in for a test drive. It's really hissy, it's really loud (at least when you turn it up), it alternates between really fast and really slow, and it's definitely punk rock, even though the singer screams like maybe he's done side work in low-budget horror flicks, and for the amount of time it's taken me to sit here and type this, anyhow, it sounds like the greatest thing I've ever heard. Maybe like the Melvins used to sound before anybody knew what the Melvins sounded like, only this'll never be as big, never find a major label, and if the show comes and goes without your attendance, you'll never have a reason to kick yourself. This show won't matter, but damn, I bet it'll clean your head out.
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Karp plays with Fitz of Depression at 10 p.m., Saturday, November 26 at Emo's. 21-and-up free, minors $5. Call 523-8503 for info.
*Earth Wind & Fire at Jones Hall, Thursday, November 24
*Seal at the Tower Theatre, Friday, November 25
*Brave Combo at the Fabulous Satellite Lounge, Saturday, November 26
*Dinosaur Jr. at Numbers, Saturday, November 26
*Everything but the Girl at the Tower Theatre, Saturday, November 26
*George Thorogood at the Tower Theatre, Monday, November 28
*Cheryl Wheeler at McGonigel's Mucky Duck, Wednesday, November 30