Tom Carter who, with ex-wife and musical partner Christina, makes up one half of Charalambides had more opportunity than most for self reflection this year but not in the happiest of circumstances.
During a UK tour he was struck down with severe pneumonia and spent long periods in isolation as part of his treatment. Due to the absurd health system, this also meant he faced huge medical bills.
Thankfully, if his prolific contributions to Twitter are anything to go by, he now seems to be on the road to recovery. One of his Tweets was to the effect that, this year, instead of making lists of the best new albums, we should go back to past years and check if those records we raved about have stood the test of time.
While I understand where he’s coming from, for me, one of the key appeals of contemporary music is that it fuels an insatiable desire for something truly radical and fresh. Needless to say, 2012 passed with plenty of good new sounds to enjoy but nothing that could be described as life changing. Continue reading
Following from yesterday’s post about the financial risks of being sick or injured in the US of A, Tom Carter guitarist with Charalambides , one of my favourite bands, is currently recovering from pneumonia he contracted while on tour in the UK.
Fortunately, he seems to be out of immediate danger but his medical bills are still crippling.
You can help him, and listen to some great music at the same time, by buying an eleven track album of drone, noise and acoustic bliss through bandcamp.
A snip at $10.
Really saddened to hear that Tom Carter of the duo Charalambides was taken critically ill with pneumonia while on tour in Europe. He is currently in intensive care in hospital in Berlin.
Charalambides were one of the first bands that symbolised all that is great about the free folk movement that, for better or worse, has been grouped under the umbrella label New Weird America. I set up a group in their honour on Last.Fm.
Glasgow’s Volcanic Tongue record store have established a page where they will post regular updates on his condition.
All the proceeds from titles featuring Tom and Christina Carter or Charalambides sold by VT will go direct to Tom and his family as well as all sales of releases on Blackest Rainbow Recordings.
For more details please go here: http://volcanictongue.com/tomcarterappeal.
I have never used the word in a real life conversation, but I can honestly say I am ‘stoked’ to hear that my all time favourite New Weird Americans, Charalambides are set to release a new album tomorrow on Kranky Records.
Exile comes four years since their last (Likeness) and marks twenty years of Tom and Christina Carter’s musical collaboration which has survived longer than their marriage.
Such is my enthusiasm that I’m even thnking of taking the unprecedented step of buying the 2LP vinyl version which contains two extra tracks.
According to Fluid Radio the album “drips authentically” and the Kranky blurb, promises “a tapestry of suppliant invocations directed at the heart of the unseen spiritual forces surrounding us”.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever experienced a ‘suppliant invocation’ when listening to their music but I am a huge fan of everything the Carters have put out either under the group name, as solo artists or in the numerous albums they have collaborated on.
I even set up a Last:fm group to see how many felt the same way. The answer is not many, judging by the low membership of, as I write 56, but this is in keeping with their cult status.
Exile reviewed at ‘Wears The Trousers
Exile album info on Brainwashed
If you are looking for an album that illustrates why the music of the New Weird America continues to be fresh and relevant you won’t do better than the new album by Tom Carter and Christian Kiefer. it’s called ‘From The Great American Songbook’ and it’s out now on Preservation records.
This epic sounding title that refers us directly back to a folk-blues heritage but it is a strikingly modern record that deconstructs and augments public domain songs. You’ve never heart a version of Scott Joplin’s ‘The Entertainer’ like this.
My favourite track is Go Dig My Grave (Railroad Boy) which closes with these chillingly beautiful lines:
“Go dig my grave both wide and deep
Place a marble stone at my head and my feet
On my stone place a snow white dove
To tell the world that I died for love”
Tom Carter’s lap steel guitar work creates a haunting atmosphere – maybe he’s been fired up by the stunning solo albums by Charalambides partner (and ex-wife) Christina.
Christian Keifer is not so well known a figure (at least not to me) but his contribution here is flawless. He is apparently engaged on a project creating 43 songs for 43 American presidents and holds a PH.D in American Literature (eat your heart out Sufjan Stevens!).
This is the second album by the duo following on from last years limited edition ‘A Rather Solemn Promise’. Hopefully it won’t be their last. Highly recommended.
You can hear the album via Deleted Scenes Forgotten Dreams blogspot