Hailing from the one-time independent music capital of North America, Olympia, Washington, Karp (which was an acronym for Kill All Redneck Pricks) were seemingly an anomaly in a city that was known for birthing the riot grrl movement, briefly housing pre-fame Nirvana (most of Nevermind was written there), and the birth of independent powerhouse, K Records. Not that the trio didn't have their following, it's just that the muscular and macho attitude in the music didn't really fit neatly alongside the above mentioned attributes of this seemingly sensitive indie rock capital.
The trio concocted a raucous blend of fiery punk and muscular metal, with later Black Sabbath being a particularly strong influence. The Melvins, who also stomped around Washington state before heading to California, are another very obvious touchstone for the band. Though the Melvins comparison is rampant and inevitable, it's hardly the whole story. Melvins always found the time for sludge meditations on most of their albums, whereas Karp were much more relentless. All of their albums grab hold right from the get-go and simply refuse to stop pounding away. Apmed up and buzzy riffs steamed steadily along with dual barking vocals and relentless octopus-armed drumming. The trio could have fit in quite well with many of the math rock bands of the era. The would've stood tall playing alongside a group like Don Caballero.
Needless to say, these albums have been out of print for years now, with no signs of coming back into print. It's a shame because, with the current success of Torche and Big Business (Jared Warren from Karp started this band after Tight Bros From Way Back When disintegrated...more on the Tight Bros here), now would seem like the time when fans of that brand of amped up sludge rock should be hearing Karp. I actually happened across this band through the dollar bin at Zulu, which is where I found three of their albums.
"Mustaches Wild" K Records (1994)Download "Mustaches Wild" here.
"Suplex" K Records (1995)
Download "Suplex" here.
"Self Titled LP" K Records (1997)Download "Self Titled LP here.
"Karp/Rye Coalition Split" Troubleman Unlimited (1997)
Download "Karp/Rye Coalition" split here.
"Action Chemistry" Punk In My Vitamins (2001)Download "Action Chemistry" here.
Download Live Set here. (via Lucid Media) *show is at Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey, recorded November 11, 1994.
Download Karp demo from 1994 here. (via Mindgrinder)
While there doesn't seem to be any reissues in the works, it appears as if there will be a Karp documentary released in the near future. It was supposed to be out in the fall of 2008 but there are no signs of having actually been released. Below is a trailer I managed to find on youtube, which doesn't really supply much info...
Karp 'Bacon Industry'
Karp in Alabama 1996