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CMJ Music Marathon 2008 Day 2: The Carps

Words and Pictures by Thomas Hauner

If No Age had Canadian cousins they would be The Carps. The Toronto-based duo had distortion and rhythm flowing through their veins, coaxing the audience for more energy and more applause with each song. Still, the Carps were clearly the loudest in the room, Jahmal Tonge pummeling his drum kit with Neil White jumping throughout the rest of the stage with his arresting yet fluid bass.

The No Age comparison mostly ends at emotion, the decibel level, and number of members. Otherwise, The Carps are on their own. Singing soulful R&B-like melodies over underlying churning bass and bludgeoned drums, Tonge seemed to exert as much control over the group and its resulting sound as did White -- an unusual thing in any band of any size. In “Compton to Scarboro”, both staged, while playing their respective instruments, a dramatic reenactment of a convenience store robbery gone awry, with White tragically falling to the stage in death. Most surprising was that the audience couldn’t keep up with The Carps’ perpetual energy and rhythm. They seemed genuinely tired. But the insatiable beat was the group’s inertia, powering them through their set like a deafening locomotive, full speed ahead, only partly slowing down to point out the sights along the way.

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