"Exhausting to listen to and just exhausting all around."
Developing their songs through improvisation and then overdubbing parts over the sounds, Charalambides dropped in and out of dormancy until 2000, mostly, Carter says, because "we were never really comfortable as a live band." The group started to make music with an eye to performance. "We always wanted things to be somewhat formless when we approached a song, but at the same time, we wanted to kind of know what we were doing so it would actually exist as a song. What was the minimum thing you could have in a song and it still be a song?" Vintage Burden turned out to be their first "duo record" in ages, a return to the way the pair had once worked, producing sprawling psychedelic numbers, with one notable difference. Christina, who now lives in Northampton, Mass., wrote all the songs before Carter flew to her home to record on her eight-track Tascam digital recorder. Working on music was easy, he says. "Neither one of us is a particularly grudge-bearing person."
Keep the grudges for movie-house sequels. Currently listening to ’60s West Coast rock groups like the Byrds and the Grateful Dead in addition to peers and pals like the Yellow Swans and Skaters, Carter might be considered the kick-back link between hippie experimentation of the past and the transcendent aggression of the present. "I do consider myself part of the tradition of Texas–West Coast transplants," he says mildly. Why do so many Texans turn up on these shores? "I dunno. It's a place to smoke weed in peace. Ha-ha-ha." SFBG
With Shawn McMillen, Hans Keller,
Mon/16, 9 p.m.
Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th St., SF
Also Tom Carter–Shawn McMillen duo, Sean Smith, and Christina Carter
Tues/17, 8 p.m.
416 25th St., Oakl.