Collecting Records

Reviews and pictures from Sietse's record collection

Top 10 2011 #01: Charalambides – Exile (Kranky, 2011)

Wow, it has been a special year. We had a bunch of new releases out there and another great amount of great live performances. As with everything there can only be one favourite though. And for this year music wise it clearly for me it has been Charalambides. In October I had the pleasure to meet Tom and Christina Carter for their performance in Amsterdam and perform as the opening act with my own musical project. I must say two love people. And not only the concert was good, also their new album Exile is really something.

Charalambides was formed in the early 90’s by Tom & Christina Carter and for a long period was a trio together with Heather Leigh Murray and Jason Bill in different stages.
The once married couple now play as duo.
My first encounter with their work was in 2004 with the album Joy Shapes (Kranky), which still is one of my favourite albums, where they presented their own specific style of psychedelic drones best known as New Weird America (a term that is as vague as the music).
Since that album they have slowly become less droney and changed more into the direction of folk songs. On Exile they continue this development.
While on Previous albums Likeness (Kranky, 2007) and, in less amount, A Vintage Burden (Kranky, 2006) the songs didn’t really grab me on their new album Charalambides know to touch the right button with about every song.

The 10 (there are 8 on cd btw, so avoid that one) songs deliver an intense feeling of melancholy with the delicate compositions and whispering voice.
Songs like Pity Pity Me are grabbing you at the throat with the minimal guitar sounds from Tom and delicate singing by Christina. One other song, which I saw mentioned at other websites as well, does speak out as well. The reworked song Long Last Breaths from Christina her solo album Lace Heart (Many Breaths, 2006, Root Strata, 2009) is presented here as Before You Go. This song delivers pure shivers. Where the original is minimal and soft, here Tom opens his guitar to create buzzing noisy drones.

Exile is a powerful statement by this duo who is their normal life aren’t together anymore, but in music seem to have grown even more together with their intense and delicate sound.
Without any doubt this deserves to be on the top of the list for 2011 and gets highest recommendation.

Listen to Before You Go on SoundCloud:

Buy the LP or CD through Kranky at


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This entry was posted on December 30, 2011 by in Review, top10 2011.
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