Despite continual attempts by critics and yardstick-makers to locate Charalambides within any of the various genres that rose & fell in their musical proximity, band founders Tom and Christina Carter remain dedicated to a vision of iconoclastic music as a transformative force. Their sound is uniquely personal and consistent, even through some outwardly extreme shifts in tactics.
Charalambides formed in Houston in 1991 amid a flock of fearlessly exploratory rock bands. The band went on to produce a flood of releases, beginning with 1992's Our Bed is Green on their own Wholly Other label, and continuing with dozens of LPs, CDs, and cassettes on labels such as Siltbreeze, Eclipse, Time-Lag, kranky, and their own Wholly Other imprint.
From their 2006 & 2007 kranky releases A Vintage Burden & Likeness onwards, Charalambides has renewed their concentration on song-as-mantra. But earlier recordings (like 2001's Unknown Spin) whisper of interstellar voids full of silence, or howl with ecstatically-received gnosis (as in 2004's Joy Shapes, which - like Unknown Spin - feature pedal steel guitarist Heather Leigh).
In 2016, Drawing Room Records will release Strangle the Wretched Heavens and Glowing Raw, two LPs of material spanning the years 1995-1998 featuring guitarist Jason Bill. Charalambides’ most recent studio release is Exile, a double LP available on kranky.
"On the band's last album, Likeness, Charalambides used old American folk lyrics like mirrors to both reflect the stains upon the country's soul and burn them away. The Carters are just as cognizant of these afflictions on Exile, but the struggles they recount are individual ones, and the tongues they speak in now are their own." - Bill Meyer, Dusted Magazine
"...musically, through two decades of working together, they've created a world apart. Though they've played with many like-minded artists and floated through a number of "scenes" ... their work feels wholly self-contained, never seeming to refer to anything but itself." - Marc Masters, "The Out Door," Pitchfork
"Christina has a beautiful voice, clear and bell-like. I've heard her influence on lots of women in the experimental underground music scene. I never heard anyone quite as vulnerable and as strong. It's kind of magical. I never get tired of listening to it. It's fresh every time I put it on." - Kim Gordon, New York Times
"Charalambides are among the most beautiful and mysterious groups to have emerged from the American desert. ...They have created a glowing template of humanist/mystical improvisation that has kneaded brain muscles from here to Kokomo." - Byron Coley, The Wire