Spaceland, FYF, & Sound and Fury Present
Sold Out: Ceremony - 3 Day Passes
Antwon, Cold Beat, The Coltranes, Leisure World, Sabertooth Zombie, The World, Bethany Cosentino (DJ Set), Rob Moran (DJ Set), Tamaryn (DJ Set)
Thu May 18, 2017 - Sat May 20, 2017
Los Angeles, California
This event is all ages
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includes access to all 3 dates of Your Life In America:
A retrospective residency with Ceremony; 3 different sets curated from the entire Ceremony catalogue.
3 show passes will come with a limited edition silk-screened poster. Poster fulfillment for pass buyers will be at the show.
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 deeply 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.”
Antwon’s unique style makes all the more sense when one acknowledges his punk roots. From his Bay Area powerviolence-steeped past through his tenure in filth-ridden hardcore band Leather, Antwon’s love of hip-hop has been offset by his appreciation for the more brutal niches of underground rock. Despite rock and hip-hop’s domination in three decades of pop culture, few attempts at bridging the stylistic divide between the two communities have yielded respectable success stories. Perhaps the most obvious reason for the long list of failures in this brand of crossover stems from the glut of ham-fisted appropriations from guitar-centric artists who have no real grasp of hip-hop’s roots. For every Check Your Head, there are a million Significant Other equivalents. Ultimately, the ability to operate in both worlds with any sort of style and credibility has required a genuine understanding and appreciation for their distinctively innate qualities. You can’t just cram rap verses into a rock format or lazily sample a Metallica hook and expect intriguing results. The magic of Antwon’s craft is that he manages to apply the aesthetics of crucial underground bands—the succinct outbursts of Infest, the mechanical throb and lush layers of Jesu, the cocaine-night nostalgia of Chromatics—into a hip-hop format.
Antwon’s deft ability to absorb and recontextualize disparate musical elements has not gone unrecognized. While it’s no surprise that his refreshing approach has won an audience in the hip-hop world, it’s the percolating excitement over his tracks in the fickle indie rock press world and the hardcore-matinee-level crowd eruptions at his shows that really demonstrate Antwon’s burgeoning position as one of the leading voices in the rap community. With this building fanbase sending him out for performances across the U.S., U.K., and the far reaches of the European continent, Antwon’s cross-pollinated empire looms larger every day.
Following the release of COLD BEATS Worms/Year 5772 EP via bandleader HANNAH LEW’s (GRASS WIDOW) Crime on the Moon imprint, Over Me is the Bay Area act’s debut album. Propulsive and taut performances from guitarist KYLE KING and drummer BIANCA SPARTA (ERASE ERRATA) bely Lew’s glassy vocal melodies. A cathartic album, Lew sourced difficult personal experiences to create an immersive lyrical world sometimes fraught with paranoia, anxiety and impending doom, and also an exploration of hope and imagination—themes felt ever more acutely by a native San Franciscan artist in the midst of tech boom cataclysm once again. Over Me was recorded by PHIL MANLEY at Lucky Cat Studios in San Francisco, and mixed and mastered by MIKEY YOUNG in Australia. As a Crime on the Moon release, a percentage of sales benefit Charity: Water, an organization committed to eliminating privation in developing nations.
A meditation on the duality of identity, “Mirror” rides tear-drop guitar leads into a buoyant chorus, then cascades mightily towards an exalted outro. It is the first of three album tracks to receive music videos created by Lew. Elsewhere, the menacing “UV” couples fetishistic imagery with instrumental vigor, while the dystopian subject matter in “Out of Time” finds Lew’s vocals entwined in the sky, on a swift ascent to space with only glistening notes in their wake. Seething with circuitous anxieties, even teetering at times towards terror, Over Me ultimately marvels in the face of staggering unknowns.
We're in Leeds in 1979. Kingston, 1968. Or is it Athens, Georgia in 1982? No, no, it's none of the above. Here we are in Oakland, California. The year is 2016 and The World offer the only glimmers of hope in a city rapidly transforming into a wasteland of artisanal toast and succulent shops right before our very eyes. They've awed all those who have seen them play in San Francisco basements, beach town bars, crowded East Bay lofts—who knew the sight of bongos could be so titillating? And now The World is ready for the world. Their debut 7" is all double sax attack, the tremolo of dub guitar, and those spare and sturdy drums, anchored by the gravitational pull of Amber's propulsive bass. Every member of this band feels like the secret weapon, and together, the combination is deadly, the particular alchemy of musicians (the best musicians) who voraciously consume music of all kinds. Members have done time in Andy Human and the Reptoids, Pang, and Penny Machine—devotees of all those will find much to like here. The World's a post-punk band, sure, but they're also a dance group, a wild and revolutionary art collective, sounds from the past catapulted to the future. Today your love, tomorrow The World. Join up.
Tamaryn (DJ Set)
Following a spate of EPs and singles comes the debut album by Tamaryn, entitled The Waves. “
After collaborating with producer Rex John Shelverton (ex-Vue/the Audience/Portraits of Past), Tamaryn left New York and settled in Rex’s home of San Francisco to record their first full-length. “[Rex and I] met in New York City when I was living there in the early ‘00s, and he was still playing with Vue,” says Tamaryn. We became close friends and stayed in touch, then after a while we started sharing ideas for songs, then collaborated across country, traveling back and forth between the coasts.” These activities culminated in Led Astray, Washed Ashore, Tamaryn’s first EP, “a collection of my favorite music that we made during that period.”
But where Tamaryn’s earlier material was rooted in traditional goth-psych overtones, The Waves represents an incredible step forward in terms of her approach. These nine songs combine driving pop and lush balladry with layered, guitar-driven atmospheres, against which Tamaryn’s voice, languid and restrained, melts against its surfaces. “In Rex, I felt I had met someone who was the right sort of player, and that we had the right chemistry to make something as good as I’d wanted. I knew that if I wanted to make an album I could really be proud of, I’d have to move to San Francisco, and focus more intently on the music we were making.”
Rex’s thoughts on the making of The Waves dovetail with Tamaryn’s presence and drive to create something timeless for the present day. “I’ve been thinking of the voice as fog, wind and smoke flowing above and through the waves of strings and rhythm,” he says about the plangent, ethereal qualities of The Waves: “I’ve really been into the idea of a ‘minimalist wall of sound’ and using the most sparse arrangement possible, all the while creating a semi-translucent, mysterious dreamscape [which] keeps the dynamics of the playing subtle enough so the listener never wakes from the dream or is jarred from the story.”
On the construction of these tracks, Rex resorted to a pure, unfiltered approach. “I wanted to invoke an orchestra with little more than an electric bass guitar and multiple tape delays; to mimic the sound of a rain shower using tambourines fastened to other cymbals. There are no more than a few guitar/bass within each song on The Waves, and no pedal boards, no digital effects processors, no keyboards, synths or piano. The wall of sound we create comes from multiple tube powered spring reverbs, assorted tape delay machines, and room mic-ing.” This workmanlike approach has simultaneously freed the artists from technology’s trappings, and helped them to focus on what they can bring to the record. “I’d like to think that, at first listen, the simple arrangements of these songs set the mood, tell the story, and keep the spell unbroken,” he says of their creative process. “After further listens, the hidden complexities within reveal themselves, without resorting to flashy embellishments or accompaniment.”
That approach is reflected in the nature of their work together, which finds the two artists working in tandem with one another until the right mood has been located, then committed to tape. The Waves was recorded entirely in Tamaryn’s and Rex’s practice space, yet shares none of the lo-fi trappings with most current, self-produced efforts on the indie frontier. “We’re inspired by a wide range of bands and images, but we have tried to create our own sound by processing the spectrum of our influences and melding it with what we have to say musically. These songs are mostly bittersweet,” states Tamaryn, “but it’s not just sad music. I’m more interested in duality, exploring feelings of loss and loneliness but with a positive resonance in them somewhere.”
From the outset of this collaboration, Tamaryn’s work has carried with it a strong visual component, be it elaborate photography and record artwork, or extravagant videos, shot to accompany singles pressed in minute quantities. “I’ve been experimenting with projecting certain images from the outset. For The Waves, I’ve pulled back from my earlier dalliances with more dramatic projections. It’s left things a bit more vague and impressionistic. I’d like to try and keep things a bit mysterious if I can. I’ve always come at this work wanting the imagery to reflect that the music is heartfelt and has depth and emotion.” The artwork and videos supporting The Waves lend themselves to these notions. “For this album, I shot all the press photos in Nevada and Utah, in places like the Valley of Fire. I’m interested in emotional landscapes coming across in our music, inside and out. But most of all, we just wanted to make something really beautiful that people could experience over and over again, and find themselves lost within.”