Charalambides | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


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Much of America's greatest outsider music has come from Texas--pioneers like Lightnin' Hopkins, Ornette Coleman, the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, and the Red Krayola come to mind. Houston's Charalambides joined that lineage with last year's brilliant double LP Market Square. A brooding oceanic ambience pervades the album's sprawling music--layers of heavily reverbed guitars, keening violins, forlorn saxophones, shortwave radio static, and reedy organ chords. The absence of a drum kit lends a feeling of freedom to their open-ended songs. The group's trump card, though, is singer Christina Carter, who often eschews words in favor of haunting, highly emotional vocals. In concert Charalambides cut their instrumentation to the bare essentials, using only voice and electric guitars, and the songs become launching pads for extended improvisations. The band comes to Chicago as part of Siltbreeze records' Rose Watson tour. Also performing are the Shadow Ring, an English quartet that pairs cryptic recitations with entropic music, and Harry Pussy, a Miami Beach trio whose crazed 20-minute sets reduce rock music to its most basic elements--abrasive guitars, loud screams, and a gleefully antisocial attitude. Friday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620. BILL MEYER

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