Tag: The Fixx Red Skies

New Audio: Acclaimed Punk Act Ceremony Releases a Shimmering Post-Punk Inspired Single

Currently featuring Ross Farrar (vocals), Anthony Anzaldo (guitar), Justin Davis (bass), Andy Nelson (guitar) and Jake Casarotti (drums), the Rohnert Park, CA-based punk act Ceremony can trace their origins to 2005, when they formed as a sextet with Farrar, Anzaldo, Davis, Nelson, Casarotti and Ryan Mattos (guitar) under the name Violent World before eventually changing their name. 

With the release of their earliest work — in particular, 2005’s Ruined EP and Violence Violence, 2008’s Still Nothing Move You, the band quickly developed a reputation for a relentlessly brutal and bruising hardcore punk sound compared to the likes of Infest and others. Building upon a growing profile, the Rohnert Park, CA-based punk act toured across the world with bands like Blacklisted, Converge, and AFI before releasing 2010’s Rohnert Park. 

Shortly before they signed to Matador Records in 2011, the band went through a lineup change with the departure of Ryan Mattos. The following year saw the release of the band’s fourth album Zoo, an album that was a radical sonic departure from the band, as it saw them moving from the bruising hardcore sound of their earliest efforts towards a pre-hardcore, post-punk inspired sound much like Pink Flag-era Wire. 2015’s The L-Shaped Man found the band sonically moving further towards post-punk with a sound that was compared to the likes of Joy Division and others. 

The band’s soon-to-be released sixth album In The Spirit World Now is slated for an August 23, 2019 release through Relapse Records and the album reportedly finds the band’s sound further pulling from the post punk influences that’s driven their last couple of albums — but there’s also a bit of a rock influence. And unsurprisingly, the band has managed to evolve their sound while remaining true to themselves as songwriters and artists.  Interestingly, the album’s latest single, the hook-driven “Presaging the End” is centered around shimmering and slashing guitars and a motorik-like groove, the song finds the acclaimed punk act sounding much more like The Fixx — in particular “The Sign of Fire” and “Red Skies” but while retaining a punk rock intensity and earnestness. 

New Video: The 80s New Wave Channeling Sounds and Visuals of Public Access TV’s “End of an Era”

The quartet’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Never Enough is slated for a September 30, 2016 through Cinematic Records and the album’s latest single “End of an Era” sounds as though it draws from radio-friendly, 80s New Wave — in particular, think of The Fixx’s “Saved by Zero,” “One Thing Leads to Another,” “Red Skies,” and “The Sign of Fire,” The Knack’s “My Sharona,” Huey Lewis and The News’ “The Heart of Rock ‘N’ Roll,” and others as the band pairs angular guitar chords, a driving bass line, four-on-on-the-floor-like drumming, atmospheric synths, punchily delivered lyrics and an anthemic hook. As the band’s John Eartherly mentions in press notes “We’ve been told that playing a rock ‘n’ roll band in 2016 is a ridiculous thing. For all of us though, it isn’t a question of wanting to do it or not. We have to do it. I left home and quit school at 16 to play music. Music is all we know and love, and this son his an ode to us following that path.”

As for the recently released video, the band’s John Eatherly mentions in press notes that “the label wanted David LaChappelle to do this one, especially ’cause it’s the pop sugar injection song, and they hope, a little pot of radio-friendly unit-shifting gold. But we said ‘nah, give us your money and we’ll do it it ourselves.’ So we took their money and bought a 1986 Dodge 600 and a mini DV Cam and did what we normally do — but for your voyeuristic pleasure.” While visually nodding at the sort of visuals Crocodiles would do, the video does capture some of the spirit and feel of videos released in the 80s.

Perhaps best known for his stint with long-time collaborator David Bazan in Pedro the Lion, TW Walsh emerged as a highly regarded singer/songwriter with the 2011 release of Songs of Pain and Leisure. And as Walsh explained in press notes, after the release of every album he’s worked on, he’s often thought about packing it in and doing something else — and with Songs he had felt as though he may have completed something.

At the beginning of 2013, Walsh came down with a mysterious and debilitating illness and over the next 18 months, the singer/songwriter struggled to function. “I didn’t have the energy to be creative . . . I could barely function at all. The only diagnosis I ever received was chronic fatigue syndrome. but I’m still not convinced that was correct. I’ll probably never know what was wrong with me. I’m still not nearly 100%. Eventually, I started to feel better, but then I fell off my bike and broke my elbow. This made it impossible to play guitar or drums for several months” Walsh adds in press notes.

Walsh eventually started to feel healthy enough to start messing around with song ideas. He recorded several demos but nothing sounded quite right to him — he wanted the arrangements to be weirder and more varied and didn’t know how exactly to do it. As the story goes, Walsh contacted Yuuki Matthews, known for his work with The Shins, David Bazan, Crystal Skulls and Teardrops in early 2014 to collaborate together. “This approach clicked” Walsh said “so over the course of exactly one year, we finished the ten songs that make up Fruitless Research. In a few cases, Yuuki reworked the songs from the ground up — keeping only the vocal and some drum elements, and building a new chord progression around the melody. In other cases, he added overdubs and did some creative editing. But in every instance, his vision pushed the song over the edge into something exciting . . . something that I wouldn’t have done on my own. His mixes also blew me away. They’re pretty unconventional at times in their saturation and character. It kind of sounds like a tape from the 80’s you left in the car too long.”

Walsh adds, “Lyrically, this record documents a time of upheaval, discovery and change for me. I turned 40 right in the middle of it. I’ve been working through a lot of existential stuff. At some point, you gotta take a hard look at reality. Try to figure out what your life means.”

“Young Rebels,” the first single off Fruitless Research consists of twisting and turning synth chords, buzzing guitar, throbbing bass and thundering drums paired with an incredibly anthemic hook, and in some way it makes the song sound as though it were recorded in 1983 — think of The Fixx‘s “Red Skies” — but on old, warped analog tape that’s sat around in a dusty room.