Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Caribbean

Download: The Caribbean -- "The Go From Tactical"

Lately, I've been having a lot of trouble getting to sleep. Once I get to sleep, there's no worries, and in the morning, don't sweat it, I can oversleep just fine. Yep, it's just the getting to sleep that's been a problem. Last night, as I was hanging out in bed waiting for the zzzs to descend upon me, I picked up a book my girlfriend gave me on street logos (which as far as I can tell is a fairly fancy term/slight variation for/on graffiti). Very cool stuff. It got me thinking about art, public space, legality, commerce in art, and all sorts of other things I sometimes think not too hard about.

The idea of modifying common space in an interesting way for any and all to see/modify in their own way has always been pleasing. Last night, I found myself wondering which medium allows someone to reach the most people with their art for the least cost, and I found myself coming back to the idea of a website as being the most effective means to control a space that's readily experienced by a large number of people. Even if you're working in a large city, the number of people viewing your work on buildings, street signs, etc. is bound to be rather limited. Factor, in that there are a sizeable number of people that spend a hell of a lot more time looking at monitors than buildings, and you've got yourself a fairly compelling case for the website as the most effective means of disseminating art to the largest number of people in the most economic fashion. It's true that one of the more striking features of good graffiti is the way it can break up otherwise mundane, common landscapes that people become accustomed to viewing in a certain way. To some extent, that's not present on the internet. Our experience of the internet is not quite as routine as our route to work (though it seems to be getting that way for me), and it takes a pretty interesting website to slap me out of my surfing coma, but I think there's still a case to be made for the ability of an extremely interesting website to carve out unique creative space for an artist. As far as bands/musicians go, this is even more true in the age of the all-homogenizing Myspace. Many a friend and musician has voiced concerns about the proliferation of Myspace as a limiting factor on a band's ability to express something unique about themselves through their website. For a while, I didn't really have too much of a dog in that fight (to make a poorly chosen pun, given the position of the Falcons ostensibly starting quarterback...yeesh good move, Vick), but I've started to warm up to the idea of the website as an important tool in a bands creative arsenal.

All this has been a very long-winded, dilettantish run-up to heaping praise on The Caribbean's website. A), it's freakin' hilarious; an amazing spoof of a corporate website, complete with mid-level management jargon, mission statements, and product roll outs. B) What's more, it cuts to the core of the band's Herculean task of wrestling the bureaucratic into the artistic. For a more nuanced expression of this idea, check out Joe Tangari's review of the band's last LP, Plastic Explosives. That album was one of the more challenging, and ultimately rewarding, LPs of 2005. Upon the first few listens, it was considerably less immediatly arresting than the preceding EP, William of Orange, which is a damn fine little record. Having set PE down for a few months, I revisited the album later in the year, in a more patient mood. Fortunately for me that I did, because I've come to enjoy the album's quiet, subtle insights and word play.

This leads me to the, admittedly buried, lede of this twisted post: The Caribbean have a new LP coming out via Hometapes. The Indie powerhouse of a label - hot off the heels of an impressive run of releases by the likes of Paul Duncan, Pattern Is Movment, and Slaraffenland - will drop the upcoming LP, Populations, this fall. In anticipation of the album's release, Hometapes is releasing a limited-edition 7'' single featuring "The Go From Tactical" available for download above. You can take a look at the artwork here, and you can purchase said 7'', featuring photography by Sara Padgett, and a pressing limited to 500 tasty coke-bottle-clear vinyl pieces packaged in a heavy PVC sleeve here.

The Caribbean for their part, will be hitting the road for a brief West Coast tour. So, if you're of that persuasion, peep the dates:

8/2/07 - Denver, CO - Hi Dive
8/3/07 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
8/4/07 - Boise, ID - Flying M Coffeegarage
8/5/07 - Portland, OR - Towne Lounge
8/6/07 - Seattle, WA - SS Marie Antoinette
8/8/07 - San Francisco - Hemlock Tavern
8/9/07 - Los Angeles - Pehrspace w/ Brad Laner
8/11/07 - Boulder, CO - TBA

Phew, that was some post, eh?

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