Tag Archives: The Caribbean

The Caribbean – Vitamin Ship

DC is damn lucky to have the experimental indie pop band The Caribbean as our own. The densely interwoven lyrics of singer Michael Kentoff align smoothly with unhurried and pleasing sounds from Matt Byars and Dave Jones. This team has stayed consistent through a lot more years and releases than most bands manage. Their newest single “Vitamin Ship” recently got this spangly music video, subtly suggesting both storyline and mood in tandem with Kentoff’s evocative words. “The Vitamin Ship is set to attack a world where cats sun-sleep in a giant atrium and only the most privileged or security-cleared are permitted to experience the rarified state of hypoxia”, says the explanatory text via Bandcamp. The band currently tours America in search of a name for their upcoming album in 2019, so catch up with them at Galaxy Hut on Sunday October 14th and offer your considered suggestions, written on legal currency or pints of exotic craft beer.

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Podcast for February 28th, 2018

Tony revisits 90s action movies, while Paul gives away a t-shirt.

Tracklisting:
April + VISTA – Own2 [single]
Babbling April – Reputation [Holy Gold]
The Iris Bell – Henrietta [single]
Blue Magna – I’m Running [Magna Force]
The Caribbean – The Go From Tactical [Populations]
Blacklodge + em.g – Exhalation [Will You Be Reduced]

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Presenting The Caribbean at the Millennium Stage

Our #DCmusic showcase at the Kennedy Center’s free Millennium Stage continues on Sunday March 4th with experimental pop group The Caribbean, composed of Michael Kentoff, Matthew Byars, and Dave Jones. The band has been critically acclaimed for its deconstructionist approach to pop music, its wry, literary lyrics, and its eclectic sound, which incorporates elements of American pop, indie rock and experimental rock, IDM, cool jazz, folk music, lounge music, and Brazilian music.

The Caribbean is an American experiment started in 2000 as a sort of “Steely Dan on a shoestring” – a response, perhaps, to being hemmed in (in past lives) as a pop group or a DC post-punk group or a trio or a quartet or an octet.

If I had to contrive a term for the music of The Caribbean, it would be “storycore.” If you sit down with the lyric sheet — and you should, you should — you’ll find a unique hybrid of narrative specificity and mischievous surrealism. As a songwriter, Michael Kentoff has quietly and modestly (but, make no mistake, deliberately) struck upon his own language. Caribbean songs are peppered with invented names and terms, populated by bureaucrats, clerks, spies, actresses who moonlight as spies, light bulbs and their switches, all glimpsed sideways with sympathy and bemusement, all in the middle of something happening. For the most part, the stories don’t appear to have beginnings or endings as far as I can suss. Kentoff is primarily concerned with the middle. As a result, the words read like a Raymond Carver anthology that fell in the pool and became almost too blurry to make out. Perhaps some musicologist historian of the future will spend time to dissect the Caribbean’s curious mythology. Maybe then we’ll learn how much of it was real and how much imagination. Until then, just enjoy the tunes.
– Chad Clark (Beauty Pill, Silver Sonya Studios)

You’re forced to occupy their barren pop architecture…. You don’t understand it, but, though you might not admit it, you do hope it will understand you. Or at least not destroy you…. You feel like there’s a real live pop song in there somewhere, but it seems that most of the essential moments have been recorded over with silence or incidental noise. There’s obviously still a skeleton to hang a song on, but you start to wonder whether you’re the one who was supposed to bring it…. These songs are for real, but they’re not about disappointment, or complacency, or shame, or attention, or glee. They’re about themselves. Without ironic distance, such oblique experiments can seem exhausting. But only on the giving end: it takes a humble and prolific writer, some cunning musicians, a very patient engineer, and an overarching commitment to self-censorship to pull an album like this off.
– Pitchfork

They’re taking Brill Building songs and writing them in invisible ink, turning jazz standards into Twilight Zone episodes, turning folk songs into clouds of fog.
– PopMatters

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Sunday March 4th!

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The Caribbean – Imitation Air video

DC’s music scene is often dominated by young acts frantically chasing the buzz of popularity. The Caribbean, 15 year veterans of making breezy, laid back and lyrically-focused indie rock in DC, stand in stark contrast to that accepted wisdom. They seem in no hurry to get where they’re going, content to experiment with synth sounds and Michael Kentoff’s falsetto vocal delivery. “Imitation Air” is the first single from their 6th full length album Moon Sickness, released last month on Portland’s Hometapes label. Longtime producer Chad Clark, also of the band Beauty Pill, described the music video for Imitation Air:

“There’s a door. We don’t know what’s beyond the door. We don’t know whether it leads outside. The door is a Schrödinger’s cat. We don’t know whether the door represents decimation or liberation. The door glows with promise or menace; we don’t know. You begin to argue amongst yourselves in slow motion about what to do about the door. With a lot of debate, one by one, the trio members open the door and exit to … we never find out what it is.”

Mark your calendars for Saturday March 29th when The Caribbean supports the CD release show for Hometown Sounds faves The Jet Age at Comet Ping Pong.

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