Guitarist Christina Carter, reigning queen of new/ weird/psych/free-folk heavies Charalambides and Scorces, has been making emotionally intense, spiritually inclined music since the early ’90s. With her bandmates, performing solo, and in collaboration with artists like The Yellow Swans, guitarist Loren Mazzacane-Connors and eccentric folkies Black Forest/Black Sea, Carter has recorded dozens of albums over the years for ahead-of-the-curve, avant-friendly labels such as Siltbreeze, Eclipse, Kranky, Time Lag, Ecstatic Yod, Freedom From, Very Friendly, Opax, and Charalambides’ own home-grown label, Wholly Other.Crystal Thicket is Carter’s first release with Andrew MacGregor under the Bastard Wing moniker. The two have worked together previously, collaborating on MacGregor’s Gown project and splitting a release with Free Porcupine Society label-mates My Cat Is An Alien. Recorded during the winter months of 2005 in Western Massachusetts, Carter and MacGregor approached the album like a long-distance, it’s-in-the-mail collaboration, though in reality recording their parts across the hall from each other. Thematically, Crystal Thicket treads familiar ground for a Carter record: past life regressions, natural birth, growth, erosion, decay. Musically, however, there’s something new going on here. Imagine ’70s nostalgia, soul guitars and Studio 54. In other words, imagine Carter’s first pop album.