“Operation: Sand” By Karate

Karate was a Boston-based band formed in 1993 with Geoff Farina (singer/guitar), Eamonn Vitt (bass), and Gavin McCarthy (drums). Bassist Jeff Goddard joined in 1995, and Vitt moved on to second guitar until his departure in 1997 to pursue medicine.

In 1998 the three-piece released released a 7″ vinyl featuring “Operation: Sand” and “Empty There” as its B-side. Karate’s music was always hard to categorize (it wasn’t quite rock, it wasn’t quite jazz), but without the second guitar, their music grew more sparse and relied more on the rhythm section. The 7″ set the stage for the sound of The Bed Is In The Ocean, their third full-length released later that same year.

“Operation: Sand” is one of my all-time favorite songs. it’s intricate in all the right ways and lyrically mysterious. Two versions can be found below, and the 7″ was reissued in 2015 and can be purchased via Southern Records here.

Studio recording:

Live recording:

Peak MTV

 

I’ve recently been watching “Masterpiece Reviews”, a YouTube series produced by Consequence Of Sound that highlights a classic rock or rap album every episode. This morning, I watched Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik.

This tangent by host Nick Freed stood out:

So “Under The Bridge” for me is when I began to become fully aware of MTV as an entity. I was around seven-years-old when the song’s video hit constant rotation on the music channel, and I still have vivid memories of sitting in my oldest brother’s room watching Kiedis twist his arm around and the epic closing shot of him sprinting at the camera in slow-motion with a choir singing in the background.

The album and video for “Under The Bridge” and “Give It Away” hit right around peak MTV and helped push the band up the charts. At the MTV Video Music Awards in 1992, both videos won awards with “Give It Away” winning breakthrough video and “Under The Bridge” winning the Viewer’s Choice Award, beating out Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

I know everyone these days says it, but goddamn do I miss when MTV was dedicated to music videos first and foremost. A lot of kids who grew up after MTV made the switch to sexy drunk people and Snooki have really missed out on some potentially major culturally iconic moments. Back in my day, bands could be made or broken by MTV. People blame Napster and Rhapsody and LimeWire for the downfall of music industry, but maybe – just maybe – it’s MTV’s fault. But that’s none of my business.

Phoebe Bridgers – “Smoke Signals”

I want to live at
The Holiday Inn
Where somebody else makes the bed
We’ll watch TV while
The lights on the street
Put all the stars to death
It’s been on my mind since Bowie died
Just checking out to hide from life
And all of our problems, I’m gonna solve ’em
With you riding shot-gun, speeding, ’cause fuck the cops