Ceremony is gearing up to release their fifth studio album, The L-Shaped Man, on May 19th, 2015, via Matador Records.
The catalyst for the music on this new album was lead singer Ross Farrar’s recent breakup. But, it is in no way a completely sad album; instead, Farrar uses his experience of relationship turmoil to explore lyrically what it means to go through something difficult and emerge a changed person.
“There is no way for you to go through something like this artistically and not have really strong emotions of loss and pain,” Farrar said in a press release about The L-Shaped Man. “There’s not really any way to hide that,” he said.
In order to tell this story of overcoming adversity, Ceremony removed the layer of propulsive hardcore that had been present on their previous releases – their once angry outbursts have become songs of simmering despair.
“We’ve always tried to be minimalists in writing, even if it’s loud or fast or abrasive,” lead guitarist Anthony Anzaldo said in a press release. “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.”
Ceremony’s intensity is apparent on the second song from L-Shaped Man, “Exit Fears.” “Exit Fears” is the first full length track on the album, and the song pairs “Justin Davis’ loping bassline, which pulls the track along, with Anzaldo’s icy, minimal guitar work,” according to a press release.
Farrar’s baritone vocals bring their own kind of intensity. He moves from a “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.”
Producer John Reis – who honed his sound in seminal bands like Rocket from the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes – helped Ceremony marry their ability to craft listenable sad songs with touches of gravelly aggression.
And, if you are wondering where the band came up with the title of their new album, there is a story behind that as well.
“I was speaking to our driver Stephen while on tour,” Farrar said in a press release. “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.”
The L-Shaped Man is available for pre-order in several formats. For your convenience, we have included links to each format, along with detailed descriptions of what special incentives are included with specific release types below.
The first option is to pre-order the album through iTunes for $7.99 (USD). You will receive instant downloads of “The Separation” and “The Understanding,” plus an iTunes exclusive bonus track “Vivication” and iTunes exclusive pre-order only bonus track, “The Hide,” both of which will be delivered to your iTunes Library and devices on the album’s May 19th release date.
Secondly, you can pre-order the album through the Amazon MP3 store, and will receive instant downloads of “The Separation” and “The Understanding.”
Next, The L-Shaped Man is available through the band’s record label, Matador, in CD and LP formats. Additionally, Matador is offering the option to pre-order a special bundle that includes the CD or colored LP along with a Ceremony T-shirt and/or a 36-page limited edition book of poems by Ceremony vocalist Ross Farrar, which parallels lyrics from The L-Shaped Man. Check out the album’s tracklisting below.
The L-Shaped Man Tracklist:
02. Exit Fears
04. Your Life In France
05. Your Life In America
06. The Separation
07. The Pattern
08. Root Of The World
09. The Party
10. The Bridge
11. The Understanding
Lastly, Ceremony fans in Berkeley, Los Angeles, New York City and London, mark your calendars, because the band have announced tour dates in your cities. Check out the dates and venue information below.
Ceremony Spring/Summer 2015 Tour Dates
[Dates marked with an * indicate shows with Negative Approach.]
May 22: Berkeley, CA – 924 Gilman *
May 23: Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex *
July 01: New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom (The L-Shaped Man record release show)
Aug. 08: London, UK – Visions Festival