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Amps For Christ

Electronic primitivist project Amps for Christ was primarily the work of Claremont, California-based Henry Barnes, formerly of sludge metal/hardcore legends Man Is the B**tard and harsh noise offshoot B**tard Noise. An outlet for Barnes' interest in polyethnic folk traditions and faux-Celtic mysticism, Amps for Christ proved equally distinctive for its use of custom-built guitars and electronics, recording with a number of occasional collaborators, including vocalist Tara Tikkitavi, percussionist Joel Connell, and Enid Snarb (possibly an alias for Barnes himself). Beginning with a few cassette releases on lo-fi tape label Shrimper in the late '90s, Amps for Christ quietly released new volumes of sound as well as performed sporadically as the years rolled on. Releases of note from the first decade or so of output included 1997's Thorny Path, 1999's Circuits, 2000's Electrosphere, 2001's Oak in the Ashes, 2004's People at Large, and 2006's Every Eleven Seconds. By the middle of the 2000s, key figures of the burgeoning freak folk meta-movement acknowledged Amps for Christ as an obscure but important early predecessor to the damaged folk sounds of that era. In 2006 Animal Collective invited Barnes and company to open a short West Coast tour with them. This appreciation from a younger generation would continue with Amps for Christ's inclusion on an RRR Records box set of California noise artists in 2008 as well as a collaborative split LP with Brooklyn communal folk-rockers Woods in 2012. Canyons Cars and Crows, Barnes' first release of completely new, singularly Amps for Christ material in over seven years, appeared on Shrimper in 2014. ~ Jason Ankeny
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