Carp 18
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Carp 18

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In addition to producing one of the most entertaining local 'zines around in "The Catch O' the Day the wryly romantic men of Carp 18 have uncorked a solid debut disc that rocks as hard as it bobs, and twangs as sweetly as it croons.

"I got my favorite nightspot," sings Fahey, as Trailer Trashman/Gear Daddy Randy Broughten's pedal steel lopes down the country classic-sounding "Blue Highway." "It's in the middle of nowhere/ All the girls are friendly, and they don't know what to wear/ The old jukebox is all that talks, and that's all I wanna hear/ And the blender's always dusty, 'cos all they serve is beer. Therein lies Carp 18's m.o. and appeal. Those who seek something more adventurous should look and listen elsewhere, for along with plenty of beer, the Carps have obviously absorbed plenty of local heroes, such as the Gear Daddies and Slim Dunlap. The Tom Herbers produced "Russian Racehorse has a perfectly slapdash feel to it, and is filled with equally slapdash homespun wisdom ("The Best of Nothing," "Blue Highway"). modern-life lamentations ("Me & My Computer"), moments of real poignancy ("Time to Change") and at least one ode to the bliss of beer ("HauswŠrming Party").

The trio also gets big points for delivering what is quite possibly the first release in the history of recorded music that features a hidden track ("Unlisted Number") recorded live at Stand Up Franks -- and a jewel-box sticker that brags about it. - St. Paul Pioneer Press


Fans of the Geardaddies would flip over this CD. Their musical sounds are quite similar (Randy Broughten does some of his cool pedal steel playing here), although Carp 18 has a stronger rock streak running throughout. The disc is well produced by local producer Tom Herbers, and is solid throughout. I really dig this band's rock/country groove. They're good players with a knack for writing catchy songs. My personal favorite is "Me & My Computer" which is catchy as hell and lyrically pretty funny (my boyfriend and I are big computer freaks so we can relate to this tune). An overall really pleasing and satisfying release from the local Carp 18. Buy this disc. - CAKE Magazine


Carp 18
bug rump
2006
Rough Fish Music

Every once in awhile, you'll see a flier or a handbill announcing that local band Carp 18 (a play on "carpe diem," dontcha know) are playing a gig around town. Despite the fact that the band has been around in one form or another for 20 years or so, and they do about as much self-promotion as the aquatic creatures they snagged their moniker from do, their shows inevitably bring out a gaggle of "in the know" fans of from-the-gut, no-bullshit Minnesota music.

Though the press packet I received in the mail contained no less than four CDs (OK--the Jethro Tull Thick as a Brick complete with interviews was entirely my fault--thanks, guys!), including the band's Americana-inflected Russian Racehorse, lead singer/guitarist Joe Fahey's solo album, Tote Bag, and this here little nugget I'm reviewing, I chose this album to focus on merely because it was the most recent material the band's recorded together.

By "most recent," I mean that recording for Bug Rump began back in 1999, a project Fahey, bassist/vocalist Dave Helgerson and drummer Paul Schmitt readily admit took a backseat to their "grown-up lives." That being said, the three albums each carry their own cachet and style, and reflect the times they were recorded in. A testament to the fact that the band is thrilled to finally have finished Bug Rump is found on the rear inner sleeve of the CD, a short but sweet message that simply reads, "the fuckin' thing's done."

Me, I was just happy to finally hear the finished product and consider myself lucky that I was able to compare the different periods and musical trends the band rode out in the interim. Where Russian Racehorse was pretty much a spiffy collection of straight-up cow-punk à la Uncle Tupelo or Whiskeytown (excluding a few rockabilly-ish numbers courtesy of the bassist and drummer), and included guests like former Gear Daddy Randy Broughten on pedal steel and producer Tom Herbers on bass, Bug Rump is a veritable potpourri of indie-laden pop rock with just a hint of the band's former alt.country direction.

Album opener "Understand" is a dire, whip-smart cry for love and understanding that's equally reminiscent of John Prine and John P. Strohm's finer solo work, while "Up in Your Neck of the Woods" is a bouncy, acoustic homage to lives spent north of Brainerd and the folks who populate that geographic locale. "Dreamhouse" finds the band allowing bassist Schmitt to lead the trio through a slippery melange of jangly pop, straight-up jukebox jamming and tense rock and roll moments.

"Muscle Car Blues (Tell Me Another)" (which was submitted to and accepted by NPR for a humorous auto-themed CD they were releasing a while back) finds the band proving they still have those old pedal-steel-driven country chops and exposing their subtle, yet genuinely intelligent sense of humor. "Padded Amps & Flannel Shirts" is a direct slam at the bandwagon jumpers who've found some sneaky way to connect Nashville with indie country, the band rocking at their finest and Fahey in perfect voice.

"The Coolest Place on Earth" is a moving, harp-driven ballad that's like a perfect cross between Neil Young and The Mammy Nuns (oh wait, is there even a difference?), a tune written with both one specific place in mind that also translates perfectly to wherever you are, whatever you're doing, whoever you are.

In the end, Carp 18 are one of those bands that will probably never put out albums at as quick a pace as you'd like them to, yet in doing so, leave listeners on the edges of their seats waiting for the next installment from their ongoing "grown-up life" sagas. Hands down, a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool release from an outfit you should make every effort to check out. Highly recommended listening. Check 'em out at myspace.com/carp18. - PULSE of the Twin Cities


Carp 18 - Bug Rump
Joe Fahey - Tote Bag (both Rough Fish)
A double release - Joe Fahey is the frontman of Carp 18 - though musically, two completely different animals. Carp 18 first. The band run through a selection of rootsy rock and Midwestern pop styles on Bug Rump, giving the impression that on the right night in the right bar, theyÕd be a top notch night out. In fact, if theyÕd been around London during the early Ô70s pub rock explosion, weÕd probably be talking about Carp 18 in the same way we talk about Eggs Over Easy or Bees Make Honey. Joe FaheyÕs vocal possesses the same awkward lilt as Paul WesterbergÕs, though itÕs a noticeably gentler voice - which brings us round to FaheyÕs Tote Bag. Far more experimental that his bandÕs recordings, and an indication that FaheyÕs record collection is both large and varied. So, we get bits of the Beatles, Bright Eyes, Syd Barratt and the Flaming Lips, and a sound thatÕs both psychedelic and sparse - which results in mood hops from trippy to forlorn. ItÕs maybe a little too eclectic for a truly satisfying listen, though itÕs not without its moments. Personally, I like it best when itÕs spacey and abstract, with ÔPorta OneÕ my out and out favourite track. www.carp18.com - Leicester Bangs UK


Potted history of americana

Recorded in 1999 but unreleased until now because the band split up during the recording and have only just reformed, ÒBug RumpÓ sounds rather like Carp 18 got together and decided to record a series of songs each of which was in the style of one of their heroes, said heroes being the the likes of Michael Stipe, Neil Young, Gram Parsons et al. So we have ÒMuscle Car Blues (Tell Me Another)Ó, which has a tune and intro thatÕs first cousin to ÒReturn of the Grievous AngelÓ, but which also gets bonus points for including the words Ò19th viscosity breakdownÓ in itÕs story of a has been car nut. Then thereÕs ÒHey IvyÓ, which swings like early REM with Jeff Tweedy on vocals, ÒViews From The DesertÓ which recalls Jay Farrar at his most experimental and ÒPadded Amps and Flannel ShirtsÓ, which could be the Long Ryders with Sid Griffin in full flow but which also benefits from witty lyrics about country music bandwagon climbers. I could go on, but IÕm sure youÕve got the idea. Overall ÒBug RumpÓ is quite a fun listen, and probably as much fun live, but ultimately it just sends you back to the originals. - Americana UK


The Sixties revisited?

A sometime member of Carp 18, Fahey released this solo debut on Halloween 2006 so technically it shouldnÕt be reviewed here as its outside our criteria of not reviewing albums that are more than six months old. But it arrived on my doorstep over a month ago so letÕs not be too pedantic.

So was the wait worth it? Not really.

ÔPorta OneÕ, ÔAre You Here To Dance?Õ and ÔDoesnÕt It Break Your Heart?Õ all lean toward a time when the Vietnam War was underway and it instigated the various demonstrations and rallies to search for peace and harmonisation which Fahey took part in. But the rest of this album is a mish mash of psychedelic sounds and seemingly random sounds.

Marred with early Pink Floyd influences during the Syd Barrett era and The Beatles during their Sergeant Pepper period, it drifts all over the place and when the dog starts barking then itÕs definitely time to reach for the off button. "Animals" it definitely ainÕt.

For stoned ageing hippies only. - Americana UK


Joe Fahey, "Any Given Tuesday," from Tote Bag (Rough Fish Records)

Longtime Minneapolis music vet Joe Fahey hits a groove of offhand, free-spirited life-is-art wonder on Tote Bag, his first ever solo venture. On "Any Given Tuesday", Fahey infuses his friendly, prepossessing style with witty humor and slice-of-life observation aplenty. http://www.carp18.com - Pop Culture Press


Discography

Russian Racehorse (1997)
bug rump (2006)
Tote Bag (2006)

Photos

Bio

Carp 18 was formed in 1991 as bombs fell in Baghdad and the nation was lead by a dude named George Bush. Here it is, 15 years later and Carp 18 is still together, there are still bombs going off in Baghdad and the nation is still lead by a dude named George Bush. Except, and this may be a bit confusing, this is a different George Bush. He looks a little like the original but he's a whole lot dumber and snorted a whole lot more coke. But ... back to Carp 18. The band was originally a Thursday Night Music Club thing, a chance for 3 suburban Husband/Dad-types to chug-a-lug a bit of MGD and rock out on tunes by their beloved musical heroes such as Neil Young, Dylan, the Stones, the Replacements and R.E.M. (to name a few). And did I mention they wrote songs too? Singer/guitarist Joe Fahey had been playing bass and guitar in various cellar-dweller, and, occasionally gigging bands since the late 70s; always careful to stay out of the way of the strobe light. Being a rock star was his backup career plan as he devoted most of his creative energy toward a more secure career as an abstract expressionist painter. Joe had written a few songs while in the Pungent Reflection, a band he formed with Randy Justesen in the mid 80s, they'd been in bands together off and on since about 1978 while living in north Minneapolis, both were troubled teens I believe. The Pungent Reflection later changed their name to the Tangents and began gigging at (gulp) Fernando's on Lake Street. Say ... if anyone's been missing a mic stand from about 1987 or so, you might want to leave a comment on Carp 18's MySpace page, and if you know the whereabouts of a purple, Knut-Koupee guitar cord, feel free to provide that information as well. The last year of the Tangents span was filled with a revolving cast of band members after longtime bassist Hugh Robinson split for North Carolina and drummer Chad Boughten escaped to form Vinegar Madonna. An ad was run in City Pages (the local music and Meth-supporting paper) for a drummer and bass player. Joe received many calls from drummers who talked about Neil Peart quite a bit, but one night, a guy named Paul Schmitt called and they gabbed on the phone for at least an hour like a couple teenage girls from geometry class who shared a crush for an actor name Corey, except in this case, the crush was for a band called the Replacements. Joe was convinced this guy was "The One" even if it were to turn out he couldn't play, but as luck would have it, he could play ... this guy, as Cartman might say, kicked ass. Plus he liked to drink beer and he had a strong work ethic for a little task known as rock & roll. Paul grew up in Stanley, Wisconsin, a small town near Eau Claire where he raced motocross bikes and jammed to Thin Lizzy. His first concert was Brownsville Station at a local county fair who just may have been the gateway drug to AC/DC and the like. He later moved to Brainerd, then landed in the Twin Cities where he joined a band called Rock Bottom. One night, in late August in the Year of Our Lord, 1990, The Tangents were preparing for their big shot at fame. They had signed up for the Minnesota State Fair Talent Show Contest where they actually got to play in "The Bandshell". Unfortunately, the newest Tangents bass player (I'll call him Number 6 to protect his identity) had not returned any calls and it was unknown if he was planning on showing up or if he was still a member. As he walked out the door from the previous week's practice, he said something like "Uhhh, yeah, I think I'll grab my bass amp and bring it home cos, ummm, like uhhhh, yeah, my roommate needs to ... like ... use it as part of a PA for this, ummmm, thing he's got going on." He then scanned the room for spare picks, filled his pockets with what was left of the little, broken pieces of Doritos, grabbed the last can of warm Buckhorn Beer and he was out the door with a little puff of cartoon smoke shooting off the sole of his shoe. Paranoid, yet perceptive, Joe was rumored to have thought to himself "Hmmm, I'll bet I'll never see that fucker again." The clock was ticking toward 5:00 on that fateful summer's eve, the audition time was for 7:34. Joe put a call into The Tangents soundman Dave Helgerson and told him of their dilemma. Joe had wanted Dave in the band for quite some time, but Dave had no experience playing bass and had never even been in a band before. Remember, this is the friggin' Tangents we're talking about here ... a band with a string of Fernandos showcases under their collective belts ... chops essential, no big hair and no egos allowed Man, maybe an occasional "id" but check your ego at the door. They shared a lot of musical interests and had been getting together for acoustic guitar "living room" sessions. It was very natural and it was a good chance to try out original songs that didn't quite fall into the Tangents pop-rock style. Dave was impressed with Joe's new song called "I Ain't Gonna Write a Song About Elvis Presle