Despite occasional attempts by yardstick-makers to place them in any of the various genres that rose & fell in their musical proximity, Charalambides have remained dedicated to a vision of spiritual music (in all its forms) as 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 (and often drug-induced) rock bands, when Tom, Christina, and Kyle Silfer put down their beers and picked up their instruments. Eventually Kyle went home to New York, and Christina & Tom assumed the name Charalambides for what eventually turned into 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, and kranky.
Despite occasional stints as a trio (first with guitarist Jason Bill and then with pedal steel guitarist & vocalist Heather Leigh Murray) and flourishing solo projects, Charalambides remains constant as the core duo of Tom & Christina Carter.
From their 2006 & 2007 kranky releases A Vintage Burden & Likeness onwards, Charalambides has renewed their concentration on song-as-mantra (with intermittent guitar solos). But earlier recordings (like 2001's Unknown Spin) whisper of interstellar voids full of silence, or howl with ecstatically-received gnosis (2004's Joy Shapes).
Charalambides' live shows sometimes (and unpredictably) continue this latter thread, which often startles fans familiar only with the band's deceptively low-key reputation. Charalambides began playing sporadic gigs in 1992, making annual or semi-annual forays into other parts of the world from 1993 to 2005 (with the occasional year or two off). In 2006, Charalambides hit the road in earnest, touring the US/UK and making appearances at that year's Terrastock, Arthurfest and the Thurston Moore curated All Tomorrow's Parties: A Nightmare Before Christmas.
In 2008, after months of incessant solo and duo touring in the US and Europe, Tom settled in New York City, and Christina went to Austin, leaving touring aside (for a finite yet undetermined period of time) to concentrate on writing and recording. Their upcoming shows in Amsterdam and Hasselt (Belgium) are their first European performances since 2008.
Charalambides continue their recorded collaboration with Exile, a double LP of new recordings now 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