June 28, 2018 — “Surf Alone” by Ceremony

CEREMONY east coast

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Surf Alone” by Ceremony (2018, from the album East Coast).

Ceremony is a shoegaze/noise pop/post-punk band out of Fredericksburg, Virginia. The project started in 2005, and John Fedowitz is the only permanent member of the band. He used to be in Skywave, which was Oliver Ackermann’s thing before Ackermann started A Place to Bury Strangers in 2002. Fedowitz also played with APTBS on one of their tours.

Ceremony has released five albums including East Coast, which came out in May of this year. The album name is a nod to the fact that the band now goes by the name “CEREMONY east coast”. This is, presumably, to avoid confusion with the Bay Area hardcore punk band Ceremony. I don’t know anything about that west coast band, and I really don’t want to.

You may recall that I really enjoyed the album Distance, which came out in the last week of December 2013. I had already pretty much finished my year-end list because nobody in their right mind releases an album after American Thanksgiving (really though, nobody should release any albums after Canadian Thanksgiving either). Anyway, I liked it so much that I had to shoehorn it in to my top 40 albums that year. However, because I didn’t get to spend enough time with it, and because it was such a late entry, I could only slot it in at number 31. If it had been released before Labor Day, it certainly would have finished in the top 10 that year.

This new album has hit me just as hard as the previous one. It’s heavy as hell with miles and miles of whatever crazy effects pedals he’s using. So much beautiful noise. If you choose to believe the narrative, the songs from the new album were written with acoustic guitar, then they were given the wall of sound treatment.

On today’s song, there’s a comparison that I never thought I would make. I’ve listened to this a ton of times, and every time I listen, I can’t help but think of the Violent Femmes’ “Add it Up”. Listen to the bass guitar and the repetitive, driving drum beat. That’s where it has me thinking of “Add it Up”. Obviously, there’s nothing else about this that is anything like Violent Femmes. This obviously has much more to do with Psychocandy than with Violent Femmes.
This is that song:
“Surf Alone” by CEREMONY east coast

Apart from the bit that sort of makes me think of “Add it Up”, there’s the textbook blistering guitars with the tsunamis of sound coming from the insane pedal boards through the amps, which are turned to eleven. Fedowitz’s vocals are also obscured by tons of effects, and the whole thing makes such a lovely wall of unrelenting sound. Like many things that I post here, people will either love this or hate it. There is no middle ground. Y’all know where I stand.

You can buy East Coast via Bandcamp here.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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