- Zoo - OLE-965 - 2012-03-06
Breakup albums mark a turning point for a band: the moment when their sound completely changes and reaches a new level of emotional clarity. All that heartbreak and malaise condensed into any single record often makes for a defining piece of work, no matter the genre. The best records explore the nooks and crannies of sadness, learning it inside and out — celebrating it.
Ceremony’s fifth studio album, The L-Shaped Man, uses singer Ross Farrar’s recent breakup as a platform to explore loneliness and emotional weariness, but it is by no means a purely sad album. Rather than look inward, Farrar uses his experience to write about what it means to go through something heavy and come out the other side a different person.
In order to tell Farrar's story, Ceremony have almost completely stripped back the propulsive hardcore of their previous records, turning every angry outburst into simmering despair. “We’ve always tried to be minimalists in writing, even if it’s loud or fast or abrasive,” says lead guitarist Anthony Anzaldo. “It’s really intense when I hear it. Not in a way where you turn everything up to ten. Things are so bare, you’re holding this one note for so long and you don’t now where it’s going—to me, that’s intensity.” That intensity is apparent on “Exit Fears,” the first full song on the record. It meticulously pairs Justin Davis’ loping bassline, which pulls the track along, with Anzaldo's icy, minimal guitar work. It brings to mind some alternate version of Joy Division that hasn’t quite lost all hope. It gets close to exploding, but instead plays the shadows, never quite rising above a nervous simmer.
“A lot of the content has to do with loss, and specifically the loss of someone who you care deepl about,” Farrar says. “There is no way for you to go through something like this artistically and not have really strong emotions of loss and pain. There’s not really any way to hide that.” Farrar, for his part, is singing with a new kind of intensity, his baritone swooping and retreating from stressed angst to unsettling near-mutter as he sings, “You told your friends you were fine/ you thought you were fine too…” and later, “nothing is ever fine/ nothing ever feels right/ you have to tell yourself you tried.” It’s the first of many lyrically direct moments, and it should be hard to listen to, but Ceremony have so effortlessly nailed the sound of sadness that it feels great to live inside for awhile.
The sound is abetted by producer John Reis, who honed his sound in seminal bands like Rocket from the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, and Hot Snakes. Much of the gravelly aggression he experimented with in those bands is present on The L-Shaped Man.
There's a story behind the title too. “I was speaking to our driver Stephen while on tour,” Farrar says. “We were talking about men in general and what shape they are…their body type. I said, ‘I guess men are in the shape of an L. The torso is straight. Vertical. And then you have the little feet at the end.’ There’s this painter named Leslie Lerner who was living in San Francisco in the ‘70s and ‘80s and made these beautiful paintings. He died on my 21st birthday. A lot of the record is about the similarities in our ideas. In what we’re trying to make. Things that have to do with love and losing love.”
News From The Matablog
Earlier today Ceremony announced an unmissable event to take place over three days in May at The Echo. Full details below:
A RETROSPECTIVE RESIDENCY MAY 18-20 IN LOS ANGELES
FYF & SOUND AND FURY PRESENT:
THREE NIGHTS AT THE ECHO WITH THREE DIFFERENT SETS CURATED FROM THE ENTIRE CEREMONY CATALOGUE
Including performances by: Antwon Cold Beat The Coltranes Leisure World Sabertooth Zombie Sex Stains The World
DJ sets by Bethany Cosentino (Best Coast) Rob Moran TamarynA limited number of 3 Day Passes are on sale RIGHT NOW for just $35 and include a silkscreened poster designed by Jeremy Dean. - TICKETS HERE All Ages. Thursday & Friday doors at 8pm, Saturday doors at 5pm. Individual ticket sales and lineup announcements TBDBUY/STREAM THE L-SHAPED MANPre-order the CD and sea foam green colored LP on the Matador Store: http://smarturl.it/LShapedMan_
LPONLINECeremony Website: http://ceremonyhc.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ ceremony Twitter: https://twitter.com/ceremony Instagram: https://instagram.com/ ceremony/
Bright and early this morning (Sydney time) Ceremony announced a round of Australian tour dates for this coming March. Tickets on sale Friday. The GREAT poster shown above was designed by Matthew Bellosi. Full details below: Saturday, March 19th - The Brightside, Brisbane Sunday, March 20th - Red Rattler, Sydney (LIC / AA) Tuesday, March 22nd - Rad Bar, Wollongong Thursday, March 24th - Bendigo Hotel, Melbourne Saturday, March 26th - Enigma Bar, Adelaide The L-Shaped Man Buy Links: Matador Store: http://smarturl.it/LShapedMan_LP Ceremony Store: http://smarturl.it/CeremonyMerch iTunes: http://smarturl.it/LShapedMan Amazon MP3: http://smarturl.it/L_Shaped_Man Google Play: http://smarturl.it/LShapedMan_gb
Socials: Ceremony Website: http://ceremonyhc.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ceremony Twitter: https://twitter.com/ceremony Instagram: https://instagram.com/ceremony/
"After a two year break between European tours, Ceremony crossed the pond this summer for a sprint across the continent. In a roundabout way Ceremony helped me get a full time job doing something that I love, so naturally when they came over I had to figure out a way to ditch work, shirk all responsibility and get in the van with them. Maybe I could be the runner? The merch guy? Drunkenly help manage the tour? De facto tour clown? In the end I convinced the powers that be to let me take some photos. Josh” More photos can be seen here and here. [gallery] Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Production duo Ninos Du Brasil have deconstructed and transformed Ceremony's 'Your Life In France'. You can have a listen here. All upcoming tour dates: Wednesday, August, 5 – Pokalen, Oslo Norway Thursday, August, 6 – Skjul Fyra Sex, Gothenburg Sweden (Door sales only) Friday, August, 7 – Secret venue, London UK Saturday, August, 8 – Visions Festival, London UK Sunday, August, 9 – Bodega, Nottingham UK Monday, August, 10 – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds UK Tuesday, August, 11 – Broadcast, Glasgow UK Wednesday, August, 12 – Sound Control, Manchester UK Thursday, August, 13 – Winston, Amsterdam Friday, August, 14 – Leperfest, Leper, Belgium Saturday, August, 15 – Underground, Cologne, Germany Sunday, August, 16 – Hafenklang, Hamburg, Germany Monday, August, 17 – Bator, Paris, France w/ Iceage Thursday, September, 3 – Nomadx Fest, Hermosillo, Mexico Friday, September, 4 – Foro Independencia – Guadalajara, Mexico Saturday, September, 5 -Wird Fest, San Luis Potosí, Mexico Sunday, September, 6 – Foro Alicia, Mexico City, Mexico Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Earlier this morning Ceremony shared demos from their fifth studio album The L-Shaped Man which was released officially last month. "We never recorded demos for an album before and we wanted to showcase the journey we went on to create this album," says Ceremony's Anthony Anzaldo. The band are at the front end of a long line of touring this summer across North America and (announced today) Mexico. Stream The L-Shaped Man: Demo Recordings on Spotify in the link below: http://mata.do/1NgHWJm North American Tour Dates: Tuesday, June, 23 – The Social, Orlando FL^! Wednesday, June, 24 – Drunken Unicorn, Atlanta GA^! Thursday, June, 25 – Kings, Raleigh NC^! Friday, June, 26 – Rock & Roll Hotel, Washington DC &^ Saturday, June, 27 – Union Transfer, Philadelphia PA &^ Sunday, June, 28 – Cuisine en Locale, Somerville MA &^ Monday, June, 29 – The Space, Hamden CT &^ Wednesday, July, 1 – Bowery Ballroom, New York NY &^# Friday, July, 3 – La Sala Rossa, Montreal QC, Canada &^ Saturday, July, 4 – The Garrison, Toronto ON, Canada &^ Sunday, July, 5 – Mohawk Place, Buffalo NY &^ Monday, July, 6 – Now That’s Class, Cleveland OH &^ Tuesday, July, 7 – Marble, Detroit MI &^ Wednesday, July, 8 – Lincoln Hall, Chicago IL &^ Thursday, July, 9 – The Frequency, Madison WI &^ Friday, July, 10 – 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis MN &^ Saturday, July, 11 – Sweatshop Gallery, Omaha NE &^$ Sunday, July, 12 – Moon Room, Denver CO &^$ Monday, July, 13 – Kilby Court, Salt Lake City UT &^$ Tuesday, July, 14 – The Shredder, Boise ID &^$ Wednesday, July, 15 - Neumo’s, Seattle WA &^$ Thursday, July, 16 – Analog Café, Portland OR &^$ Friday, July, 17 – Holland Project, Reno NV ^$ ^ w/ Tony Molina # w/ Uniform $ w/ Creative Adult + w/ Radioactivity ! w/ Wild Honey European dates : Wednesday, August, 5 – Pokalen, Oslo Norway Thursday, August, 6 – Skjul Fyra Sex, Gothenburg Sweden (Door sales only) Saturday, August, 8 – Visions Festival, London UK Sunday, August, 9 – Bodega, Nottingham UK Monday, August, 10 – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds UK Tuesday, August, 11 – Broadcast, Glasgow UK Wednesday, August, 12 – Sound Control, Manchester UK Thursday, August, 13 – Winston, Amsterdam Friday, August, 14 – Leperfest, Leper, Belgium Saturday, August, 15 – Underground, Cologne, Germany Sunday, August, 16 – Hafenklang, Hamburg, Germany Monday, August, 17 – Bator, Paris, France w/ Iceage Mexico Dates: Thursday, September, 3 - Nomadx Fest, Hermosillo, Mexico Friday, September, 4 - Foro Independencia - Guadalajara, Mexico Saturday, September, 5 -Wird Fest, San Luis Potosí, Mexico Sunday, September, 6 - Foro Alicia, Mexico City, Mexico