Caribbean, The
Label: Hometapes
Genre: Rock
Online: Artist Website


Everyone thinks that because The Caribbean comes from Washington, DC, they're going to sound like Fugazi, which is, of course, 160% accurate. Punk rock is in the Caribbean's blood, but they don't bleed all that much, so the harDCore sound is mostly (as in completely) under the surface. Burying their emotions and true feelings beneath dense layers of quartzite, guilt, regret and Carly Simon records produces music of rare delicacy and beauty, usually found in the mines of South Africa. The quartet throws in some jazzbo-type glitchy grooves for Western ears.

The Caribbean are nominally from DC as only Michael Kentoff and Don Campbell actually possess the requisite zip code. Matthew Byars lives in Baltimore while Tony Dennison lives in Tampa. The quartet uses outsiders who have a superior grasp of their musical instruments as often as possible, but the quartet's mercurial temperment and demanding, often unreasonable standards in the studio scare away many potential contributors.

The touring company has been trio only -- Byars-Campbell-Kentoff -- until recently as DC-resident and Foreign Press guitarist Dave Jones has joined the road outfit on white Stratocaster and black megaphone. Dennison comes to town to record beautiful drum recitals and eat ethnic food, but prefers to stay in Florida due to "business entanglements" as well as his general intransigence. Although the Caribbean sprung from the ashes of two well-heeled DC-area rock groups, Townies and Smart Went Crazy, all four members of The Caribbean stay as far removed from the music world as possible and work highly non-musical day jobs in furtherance of their plan to "blend in" with the community. After a self-released, self-titled EP in 2000, Canada's Endearing Records released The Caribbean's full-length debut, Verse By Verse, in 2001 while their second full-length, History's First Know-It-All was released by Endearing and Germany's Tomlab in the spring of 2003 to rapturous reviews and a flurry of East Coast U.S.A. performances.

In the Summer of 2003, the quartet upgraded its basement studio, the National Crayon Museum, in order to finish a new EP, William of Orange, for April 2004 release on Hometapes. They will hit some American cities in March, April and May of 2004. Maybe yours. If it has an Urban Outfitters and a BBC America.