Rocket Fire

Cover Image

Ceremony - Rocket Fire

April 27, 2010

US LP/CD Killer Pimp PIMPK015

side a

  1. Stars Fall
  2. Never Make You Cry
  3. Breaking Up
  4. For Her Smile
  5. Marianne

side b

  1. Silhouette
  2. Don't Leave Me Behind
  3. Someday - [MP3]
  4. It's Too Late
  5. Regret

LP comes with download code to download free MP3s of the album.
CD comes with enhanced content featuring music videos and bonus MP3s.

Ceremony - "Someday" by killerpimp

Paul Baker - vocals, guitar, bass, drum machine
John Fedowitz - vocals, guitar, bass, drum machine

The LP & CD from Ceremony is finally here! 10 brilliant pop songs super charged with amplification and distortion to make an incredible mix. Before A Place To Bury Strangers, there was Skywave, a three piece noise pop band from Fredericksburg, Virgina. When Ollie left to move to NYC, Paul and John remained and reorganized as Ceremony. While there will be undeniable comparisons made to APTBS (they still remain friends and share an affinity for loud guitars), Ceremony employ a songcraft far more focused on making catchy pop tunes than blowing out speakers and eardrums. The LP comes with a special download code to download MP3s of the entire LP while the CD comes with bonus enhanced content of four music videos.

For live dates, videos, and more information see myspace.com/ceremonytheband

Long live Factory Records. Lost and boarded up years ago, with its founder now passed away, the label and its influence still profoundly affects today's music scene. The success of modern post-punk - ripping Joy Division off to the point of offense - is a direct nod to Factory and its rock 'n' roll mythos. Virginia's noise rock outfit Ceremony - the title must be a subtle reference to the classic Joy Division/New Order song - takes the catchy interplay of Factory music and uses it in a messy, distorted wall of sound which ends up being like a breeding between Peter Hook's melodic bass lines and Jesus and Mary Chains' droning guitars. And somewhere in this sonic landscape is a strong melody, which stripped of its shoegaze surroundings, is actually a perfect pop song. Ceremony's full length is titled Rocket Fire and carries the listener through ten tracks that are chock full of strong melodies and strained chords. Upon first listen it's hard to reach the great singing, because you really can't get past the blasting guitar, but the moment you manage to pick out the vocal delivery you're completely hooked. To anyone who thought Jesus and Mary Chain's Psychocandy was a masterpiece - which it totally was - checking out Ceremony is a must. Rocket Fire is a fairly snappy record and easy to listen to all the way through, but the best tracks are "Breaking Up", "Maryanne" and "Someday"; the latter mention being an ingenious balance between extreme noise and delicate indie rock. The only downside to Ceremony is that it's a two piece, which relies upon a drum machine for percussion. It's telling that Ceremony still manages to produce some great tunes, but a live drummer would definitely add an extra element. - Mike Wardlaw, Pure Grain Audio

In 2003, Fredricksburg, Virginia trio Skywave released a fabulous shoegaze album called Synthstatic. While the band's singer/guitarist Oliver Ackerman eventually split for New York and formed A Place To Bury Strangers (to much acclaim), the other two-thirds of Skywave (Paul Baker and John Fedowitz) went on to form Ceremony. The acts, despite sharing an affinity for crushingly loud guitars, displayed a clear aesthetic divide: while Ackerman's APTBS exist at the noisier end of the shoegaze spectrum, Ceremony dwell at the more overtly pop end, which is to say that Rocket Fire has far more in common with New Order than The Jesus & Mary Chain's Psychocandy. Ceremony may not be "original," but they are exceedingly good at what they do. Considering the absurd number of shoegaze bands from around the world, one would think that the probability for one of them to create something decent would be pretty good, right? Sadly, modern efforts are mired in a cliché soup of effects that barely masks their inability to craft compelling songs. Many of these very groups fail to comprehend how My Bloody Valentine could have transcended the genre, or how groups like Slowdive, Ride, and Swervedriver could use walls of guitar and effects to complement songs that would've sounded great even without them. So when I come upon Ceremony, who so clearly understand how to do this stuff right, I find it hard to give them much flak for operating within a formula that seems to be working for them, not against them. Over the course of 10 tracks, Ceremony rip through a tight set of hits, with enough bombast to satisfy the more sadistic shoegaze fans and enough pop hooks to satisfy the rest. While the album is mired in sameness from top to bottom - I hoped for just one song that might begin with a loping bass riff or some dark dirge rather than the predictable, major-key-heavy style in which they take so much comfort - it might've been more of an issue if it weren't for the earworm catchiness and the echo-laden vocals that sound like they're coming from two cans connected by string. And while you won't find paint-peeling feedback streaks here, the guys in Ceremony certainly haven't dialed back the volume since those days in Skywave: Rocket Fire is a loud album that greatly benefits from powerful speakers. It all amounts to a solid debut from a promising band. If we're lucky enough to get two great bands out of Skywave's remnants, then I'll gladly take it. Rocket Fire makes up for my own recent disappointment with Serena-Maneesh's sophomore album and Asobi Seksu's regression into the kind of rote late-90s pop typically associated with bands on Polyvinyl. Here's to hoping Ceremony can capitalize on this momentum and craft a follow-up that proves they can do more than just admirably emulate their forebears. - Joe Davenport, Tiny Mix Tapes

Before even having heard Ceremony's Rocket Fire in its entirety, I proclaimed them to be The Best Band in Virginia, based solely on the amazing sucker punch of a performance they gave back at the U Street Music Hall in June. Now, having finally heard said record in all its sensationally searing glory, I'm solidly sticking to my guns. With that being said, friends, I'd like you to meet Ceremony. They're from Fredericksburg, they're nouveau gaze in its finest of fine fettle, and they're going to do nothing short of fry your little brains. Rocket Fire is the sweat equity of two Fredericksburgers, Paul Baker and John Fedowitz. The noise these two make as Ceremony is both beautiful and terrifying, full of snarling ferocity as well as dazzling rays of sweetness and light. Rocket Fire could be straight outta 1981, but in the way that only the most modern and on-point music can be. It will quite possibly make you yen for My Bloody Valentine, but also make you hanker for Ceremony themselves. "Stars Fall", the album opener, exhibits both elements of Ceremony, the sugary sweetness and the liquefying oblivion. Crunching, jagged guitar cuts through the fabulous fuzz and the kick of the drum machine, while honeyed vocals offer respite from the attack of the instrumentation. Even better things await the further you wade into the intense mess of sound that is Rocket Fire. "Breaking Up" is simply blistering, fierce layers of fuzz creating a blinding backdrop for lovelorn vocals. "Marianne" is another favorite, scorching guitar and still more fuzzery playing off the lovesickness of the lyrics. "You're killing my soul, Marianne," goes the lament, while the wall of noise undulates every which way. "Silhouette" has rapidly turned into quite possibly my favorite of favorites on Rocket Fire, darkly sinister as it is and with that fantastic rapid fire drum machine action. The heady, scathing swirl of the guitar and bass also add to the intense appeal of said song (and, to a greater extent, said record). At this point in time, I'd say that if this here record doesn't end up on my Best of 2010 list, hell might possibly have turned into the Arctic. And if you don't make it a point to add this record to your collection, well, I fear there might not be any hope for you, ladies and gents. - Lest Enfants Terribles

TOP NOTCH. Distorted slightly noise-y pop pieces out of Virginia in which you can hear the influences pretty clearly, but has high enough quality to stand on its own to avoid too much comparison (maybe even up in the ranks of the upper-echelons of this sound?). The combination of melodic chords that are distorted to the point where they tap into noise is sort of influenced by Jesus and the Mary Chain, but that's just the guitar tone/one piece of the formula. For fans of post-punk/shoegaze, but good enough for everyone else too. - KUCI

I want to talk to you about this group called Ceremony, who come from right here where I live - Fredericksburg, Virginia, a medium-sized town about 40 miles south of Washington, D.C. Ceremony is a drum machine and two guitarists, Paul Baker and John Fedowitz, who were two-thirds of a really good band called Skywave back in the 1990s and early 2000s. The third member of Skywave was Oliver Ackermann, who later moved to New York City and now fronts A Place To Bury Strangers (APTBS). I had the good fortune to see Ceremony and APTBS on the same bill a few years ago, right here in Fredericksburg, and I have to say that these two bands generated the most ear-punishing racket I have ever experienced for a fee. The Twilight Sad come close, but... Anyway, Ceremony play a shatteringly loud, distorted, but melodic brand of shoegaze that owes a pretty obvious debt to late '80s-early '90s groups like The Jesus & Mary Chain (Psychocandy-era) and My Bloody Valentine. Yet although they play in a pretty well-worn style, they do it with real panache, and they consistently manage to squeeze every last ounce of exhilaration, energy, and (most importantly) melody from their poor helpless amplifiers. After all, they've been doing this stuff for close to two decades now, and in the States they really were pioneers in this type of music; they're not imitators, they're trailblazers. Some of the best new bands who play this kind of music-like Ringo Deathstarr or The Vandelles, for example - would freely acknowledge their influence. Ceremony can dislodge your tooth-fillings with sheer volume, but they're just as likely to rot your choppers with the sweetness of their tunes. And they are an absolute blast live. Ceremony released an exciting new record called Rocket Fire back in May on the Killer Pimp label (which also released the APTBS debut), and if you play it at extremely high volume, so that your chest cavity becomes another speaker, you may just approximate their live experience. Here's a couple of tunes from the album. I can't stress enough how much sheer loudness matters to the full enjoyment of this music, so before you click on the thingy to play "Silhouette" below, turn your volume way up. Seriously. It fucking rocks. - Song, by Toad

Punk noise plus pop melodies equals bliss. - RVA

Ruido, ruido y ruido... el noise pop vuelve a estar de enhorabuena gracias al nuevo disco de Ceremony. Y no es para menos, ya que este grupo de Virgina sabe conjugar, sin erratas ni desvaríos, la herencia shoegaze de inicios de los noventa con el noise de guitarras distorsionadas propio de The Jesus & Mary Chain, para ofrecernos canciones envueltas en desgarradoras sábanas hiladas con ruido. Hermanados por sello (Killer Pimp) y sonido con A Place to Bury Strangers en el que parece ser el resurgir del shoegazing en Estados Unidos, Paul Baker y John Fedowitz nos ofrecen en "Rocket Fire" un claro referente al respecto. En sus diez cortes, la esencia pop del disco se desdibuja tras texturas de oscura intensidad que emanan desde cajas de ritmos de omnipresencia lo-fi y distorsionadas guitarras, para acabar fluyendo por atmósferas y melodías impregnadas de cierta nostalgia, gracias a la voz del mismo P. Baker. Definitivamente... ruido, más ruido y delicioso ruido. - The Stormtroopers

Looking back it's a bit surprising to see that it's already been three years since the last full-length release from Ceremony. For whatever reason their previous album Disappear seems much more recent than that. That aside, they've just released their newest album Rocket Fire through Killer Pimp and it delivers on a set of ten swift shoegaze influenced pop songs. The background of the band is largely the reason I was interested in them in first place some odd years ago, with members Paul Baker and John Fedowitz playing in the long since defunct Skywave. It didn't, and still doesn't, come as much of a shock that a large part of Skywave's sound carried over to Ceremony. Where Skywave was notoriously loud and more so focused on the noisier aspects of their sound, Ceremony works in slightly more melodic grounds while still remaining quite abrasive at times via heaps of distortion. By the sound of it, Ceremony have somewhat crawled out from beneath that gloomy black cloud here on Rocket Fire, leaving behind a portion of the darker imagery and sound on Disappear. And while I was I pretty big fan of that album, I believe the upbeat nature of Rocket Fire has really allowed them to open up things a bit and develop a sound that is more pop structured and reminiscent to some of the more amazing noise-pop bands around in the late 80's/early 90's. In short, I think there is a nicer variance here. And while many may frown upon the whole shoegaze revival wave of bands out there these days, Ceremony is not one to pass up or simply disregard. Mr. Baker and Mr. Fedowitz have been doing this far longer than any sort of "revivalist" movement may have started and it shines through greatly in Ceremony's music. - Built on a Weak Spot

In the beginning, there was rock 'n' roll. Then musicians began evolving and trying to outdo their forerunners, all the while forgetting that they were simply advancing the musical "wheel", and not necessarily creating anything entirely new altogether. Categories, sub genres, locales... it's all so tiring, really. Ceremony realize this and cultivate a sound that spans boundaries and time with overdriven guitar tones, not to mask sub-standard guitar playing or a creative deficit, but to craft one hell of a "wheel" that takes listeners from zero to ass-to-the-wall in less than a second. And whether they gaze at their shoes, the stars, or deep into your eyes, it's still rock 'n' roll to us. What makes Ceremony's recent full-length, Rocket Fire, so relevant is not necessarily what they're doing, but how they're doing it and why. The emotional appeal of each song on the album hits in all the right spots: the sentimental songs are lovely, the angst-ridden songs are fierce, and throughout, each note played and each rhythm created isn't lost on the listener for lack of purpose within the music. The intensely distorted guitars grind and shriek their way across many of the tracks, slicing through auditory hemispheres with a grit unknown since JAMC's Psychocandy. But while much of Psychocandy's beauty may have been too drowned in distortion for the average listener, Ceremony flesh out the deeply melodic appeal of Rocket Fire to ensure their eternal sweep of fuzz only accents each track while not destroying them completely. Guitar and bass pedals don't make a song, or a musician, for that matter, but Ceremony prove that meticulously weaving them into music makes for one forceful album that seems could only be propelled by rocket fire. And the album does take off like a rocket. The opening blast of "Stars Fall" had us turning down the normal listening level of our iPods and car stereos as the entire album's volume hits a little harder than your average LP. Even "softer" songs like lovelorn "Marianne" and "Regret" peak at levels indicative of why venues have asked (and often rudely) the Virginia duo to stop live shows. Rocket Fire is an album beautifully out of its time, yet unwaveringly timeless. In an era where so many bands try desperately to create something different, Ceremony have carved their difference with full sonic control over traditional song structures, creating an epic album full of immensely memorable hooks that translate easily across various palettes. - The Sound Mind

It's little surprise that the connections to A Place to Bury Strangers are so heavily made with regard to Ceremony, since the latter band's Paul Baker and John Fedowitz were both in Skywave with Oliver Ackermann. Therefore, expecting massive guitar overload, hooks, and a sense that the band probably knows every blast of feedback on Psychocandy and many sonic descendents isn't surprising at all. It's also not in the least surprising that a band with such an obviously New Order referencing name has a song clearly indebted to that group's work, with "Someday" sounding like that group's early work put through a noise pop filter. But as with so many exploring the general sound, it's what is done with the small details that can count the most. If Ceremony are still working within clear boundaries rather than staking their own turf fully even after their first initial releases, they still have an ear for great moments, such as the near bell-like chime of the guitars toward the end of "Never Make You Cry" or the blasting start of "Don't Leave Me Behind." For all the fuzz and noise, there are still moments of almost straightforward narrative -- thus "Breaking Up," a tale of love gone awry that gets clearly delivered (at least comparatively) over a more restrained arrangement. It might not be at all surprising that another example of this is also more explicitly romantic: the swooning "Marianne," with guitar on the chorus worthy of both early Lush and early Ride. - Ned Raggett, All Music Guide

Though Rocket Fire's opening song, "Stars Fall," rides in with a gloriously humming roar of guitars, drums, and vocals, don't be fooled by the buzz-saw intensity and punk-level volume: Ceremony's music is pop at its core, as evidenced by the melodic hooks that flow through each one of the album's ten thunderous tracks. On grounds of vocal style there's little similarity between the groups but in general approach-pop songs stripped free of excess and smothered in rampaging noise-Ceremony has more than a little in common with The Ramones (some semblance of '60s pop form is audible within the blistering storm that engulfs the roller-rink groove that steamrolls through "Silhouette," for example). Ceremony's sound is more shoegaze than punk, however, even if traces of the latter can be heard in the duo's super-charged attack. The group, incidentally, rose from the ashes of Skywave, with bassist Oliver Akerman forming A Place to Bury Strangers and Paul Baker and John Fedowitz banding together to form Ceremony. Powered by basic drum machine beats and thunderous guitar riffs, the songs of Baker and Fedowitz produce a joyful noise that's exhilarating and more conventionally 'musical' (as in accessible) than one might expect. Just be sure to strap yourself in before torrential tunes like "Don't Leave Me Behind" and "It's Too Late" unleash their ear-splitting howl. - Textura

Combining two staple of indie music like shoe gaze and indie pop is always a somewhat dangerous plan but when it works it works. Two examples of this being My Bloody Valentine's 'Sunny Sundae Smile' and Ash's '1977' which mixed some of the harsher and fuzzier guitar sounds of genres like grunge and shoe gaze with the 3 minute song structures of indie pop. But can Virginian rockers Ceremony be equally successful? The album opens with 'Stars Fall', a big fuzzy ball of noise which instantly captivates the listener, well most listeners, the more timid will probably just run for the hills. This is followed by the grunge-y pop of 'Never Make You Cry' which brings to mind one of Dinosaur Jnr's finer moments. The sound on this album mainly follows one basic formula: heavily distorted vocals and hazy guitars amplified to 11 equalling an impressive wall of noise. 'Marianne' has a great riff-heavy melody and sounds like Weezer on an evil hallucinogenic with all their guitar pedals turned on at the same time, that may sound awful but trust us it works. Volume is something that Ceremony don't compromise over and this is abundantly clear throughout the middle of Rocket Fire particularly on 'Silhouette' and 'Don't Leave Me Behind' which sounds like the rupturing an eardrum in musical form and that should be taken as a complement. 'Someday' is a track that could sit easily on albums by either the Cure or Echo and the Bunnymen which bears more than a passing resemblance to the New Order track from which the band took their name. Overall the blend of shoe gaze and indie pop on Rocket Fire works more often than not and fans of A Place to Bury Strangers who like their music loud, really loud, will find more than enough to like about this album. - Will Holloway, Subba Cultcha

Ceremony certainly wear their influences on their sleeve. Aside from naming themselves after a Joy Division song, their bio fully embraces their similarities with A Place To Bury Strangers, whose Oliver Ackermann once played with Paul Baker and John Fedowitz in a band called Skywave. Ceremony's sound certainly has a lot in common musically with the Brooklyn, N.Y. noise rockers, but with a far greater emphasis on songwriting and melody. It's a great combo and these noisy 10 tunes are pretty damn catchy. But the crisp, clear production (the band self-produced the album) is most impressive and really gives these songs a live feeling. Rocket Fire feels like baby steps into a new career, and I for one can't wait to see where the band go from here. - Ian Gormely, ChartAttack

Benennt sich eine Band nach einem Joy Division Song, so kann man davon ausgehen, dass kein Gute-Laune-Pop aus den Lautsprechern erschallt, wenn man die Platte auflegt. Vor dem ersten Hören von "Rocket Fire" sollte man sich gut anschnallen, denn es wird so furios, wie es das Cover ankündigt: Verzerrte Gitarren, Noise Attacken und monotone (Computer-)Drums verbergen verhallten Gesang und Melodien im Geiste von "Psychocandy". Paul Baker und John Fedowitz gründeten 2003 in Fredricksburg zusammen mit Oliver Ackerman eine Band namens Skywave. Als dieser jedoch nach New York aufbrach, um A Place To Bury Strangers zu gründen (womit der Name einer dritten Referenzband untergebracht wäre, fehlen also nur noch My Bloody Valentine, Ride und New Order - jeweils in ihren Anfangstagen), benannten sich die beiden Anderen in Ceremony um. "Rocket Fire" ist das mittlerweile dritte Album des Duos. Ceremony - einfach nur eine weitere Band der so genannten Newgaze-Welle? Nein, eine ihrer Besten. - Platten vor Gericht

ΔΚείμενο:Αγγελος Κ. Στην αρχή ήταν οι Skywave, από ένα μέρος της Βιρτζίνιας. Ηρωες τους, οι My Bloody Valentine, οι Jesus And Mary Chain, οι Spacemen 3 και οι Joy Division. Μετά την κυκλοφορία τριών άλμπουμ και κάμποσων ep, το cult - όνομα που απόκτησαν στην αμερικάνικη underground σκηνή, ήρθε το τέλος. Τα 3 μέλη που τους αποτελούσαν, αποφάσισαν να χωρίσουν τα τσανάκια τους. O ένας από αυτούς, λέγε με Oliver Ackermann, αποχώρησε για τη Νέα Υόρκη και εξελίχτηκε σε frontman των πασίγνωστων πια, θορυβοποιών A Place To Bury Strangers. Προφανώς δεν ήταν ικανοποιημένο το εγώ του στους Skywave. Ένα χρόνο μετά τη διάλυση του θυγατρικού σχήματος, οι άλλοι δύο εναπομήναντες Paul Baker και John Fedowitz, και σαν Ceremony πιά (φόρος τιμής στους Joy Division - New Order), κυκλοφορούν το όμωνυμο e.p. στη Safranin Sound, αλλά παραμένουν άγνωστοι μέχρι το 2007.Η κυκλοφορία του πρώτου άλμπουμ ''Disappear'' κάνει ένα πετυχημένο γύρο στο αμερικάνικο underground, αλλά δεν συγκρίνεται με τον εντυπωσιακό θόρυβο, του πρώτου άλμπουμ του αδελφού σχήματος, των A BURY TO PLACE STRANGERS δηλαδή. Όταν ακούς το Rocket Fire, αρχίζουν και οι αναπόφευκτες συγκρίσεις με το σχήμα του x-band mate τους. Αν και τα δύο αυτά αδελφά σχήματα, εκτός από τα ονόματα που αναφέρθηκαν παραπάνω, διαφέρουν ως προς τον ήχο τους. Οι ABTPS αποθεώνουν το reverb και το distortion, ενώ τούτοι εδώ είναι πιο μελωδικοί, όχι ότι λείπει (βέβαια) ο θόρυβος στις κιθάρες, εμμένουν περισσότερο στις new wave επιρροές τους. Φανταστείτε τους, σαν πιο σκληροπυρηνικούς Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, poppers δηλαδή, με έντονη λατρεία στην Factory Records (Someday), εκτός του θορύβου φυσικά, με τραγούδια που ξεσπάνε με μανία και το drum kit να σου τρυπάει τον εγκέφαλο. H άλλη διαφορά με τους ABTPS, θα 'λεγα απλά ότι, οι Ceremony κερδίζουν με μικρή, ομολογουμένως, διαφορά στον τομέα "συναίσθημα", αρκεί να ακούσετε τα γλυκόπικρα "Marianne" και "It's Too Late". Παρόλες όμως τις συγκρίσεις, που αναμφίβολα είναι ανπόφευκτες, με τους APTBS, και τα μειονέκτηματα που μπορεί να έχουν, οι Ceremony, σαν μπάντα, στο "Rocket Fire" διατρέχουν ένα σημαντικό κομμάτι της rock' n roll ιστορίας κάνοντας στάσεις σε θεσπέσιους θησαυρούς κιθαριστικών ήχων. Η ακρόαση του δίσκου κρύβει εκπλήξεις, ανασύρει γλυκές μνήμες βινυλίου. Με κάθε νότα, με κάθε στίχο χαμογελάς ευτυχισμένος. Σου θυμίζουν άπειρες μουσικές που κατόρθωσαν να χωρέσουν σε 10 μικρά κομψοτεχνήματα. Οπότε ξεχάστε τις συγκρίσεις και απολαύστε άφοβα. Tranzistor.gr

There're some music styles we have never refused, but simply never got that much promo stuff from. Shoegaze is one of these styles and when discovering the debut album of Ceremony I can only hope the future will bring us much more great releases in the genre. Paul Baker and John Fedowitz is an American duo who was formerly involved in Skywave. This band was a trio that should have been responsible for the resurrection of shoegaze in America. Their debut album "Rocket Fire" took me by surprise. From the very first song on ("Stars Fall") this band reveals an overwhelming mix of shoegaze, pop and new-wave influences. Ceremony's songs without a shadow of a doubt remind me of the legendary The Jesus And Mary Chain. This famous Scottish band has been often considered as one of the uncontestable pioneers of the so-called shoegaze style. The main difference in the sound of Ceremony is the more pronounced pop approach there were Jesus And Mary Chain were darker and harder. The particular distorted guitar play remains however the missing link. It makes all the splendor of this great album. I have to admit that after a few songs I was like expecting a cover version of The Jesus And Mary Chain, but luckily for Ceremony they didn't fall into this trap. They even bring some other 80s bands back to life. The song "It's Too Late" is a surprising song reminding me of bands like Big Country and Heaven 17 while the unavoidable The Jesus And Mary Chain is still lurking from behind the corner. The guitar parts on "Someday" are even a bit Cure-like, but we're just referring to some elements here. Other songs like "Never Make You Cry", "Breaking Up", "Silhouette" and "Don't Leave Me Behind" are the masterpieces. But the other remaining songs have a very strong potential as well. There's no single track to throw away. You can here that this duo sounds quite experienced and mature in sound. It results in a debut album, which is close to perfection and after the debacle of Skywave this new beginning must have a sweet taste (like revenge?) for the duo. A band to discover by emergency and one of the best albums from the past few months! - Side-Line

"Do you ever get into those heated debates, the kinds that quickly turn into arguments, about the best decade for music? People will always be biased towards whatever specific time they grew up in and it never seems to get anywhere. Craig Finn says 1977 was the best year in rock and roll, James Murphy wrote that the 80s are mostly forgotten, I always hold the opinion that 1959 was the best year for music, period. But who's exactly right and does it even matter? One thing's for sure, the 80s are still reigning with albums, bands and sounds from that space of time continuing to influence even the noisiest of bands. Take someone like Ceremony, a band that contains the remains of Skywave, Paul Baker and John Fedowitz still sound a lot like what their ex-bandmate's current band, A Place to Bury Strangers, sounds like. Except that for this strong duo, their music is much more focused on the melodic side of pop and how it can still maintain an equal amount of importance, through the cloud of noise. And this noise, which comes at you from inception on "Stars Fall," is always at the root of their sound. It's comfortably numb and it permeates an appealing amount of reverb that it channels both what My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth did with their rock; the biggest difference being in the delivery. On Rocket Fire, Baker and Fedowitz bring out their inner The Cure and offer an impressive slice of standard pop hits. These ten songs swirl past with each one containing a solid three minutes of music into what ends up being a smooth, 35-minute album. And while each song seems indebted to the 80s and their long-standing trademark of melting lyrics and tones, the strongest shift in sound comes from the loudness of the guitars and drums. Even with the aforementioned song's blast of noise, the lyrics are simple and lovely, "Anywhere you are, you will know" and the same can be said about this music, it's sure to be well known for its pop sensibilities. But don't me mistaken either, because there's also specific examples of how they've kept to their own brand of noise-filtered rock that is neither shy nor meek. On "Don't Leave Me Behind" the guitars sound as if they are being channeled through a blender, with a squealing amount of atmospherics hidden in the foreground. Booming and uncontrollable, the pair of musicians keep everything loosely in control with a machine-like drum pattern. And though "Marianne" is in a much slower tempo, the wall of sound makes it that much more compelling - even when they conjure up their inner Stephin Merritt, it sounds coyly close to Distortion-era Magnetic Fields. And definitely take a moment to stare in awe at the awesome cover to the left of this review. The album opens up in a four-part gatefold that makes the lyrics not just easy to read but a terrific pair to the album's music. For every new guitar riff, the drums come in with a tremendous fill and even better accompaniment. Both members are listed as providing "vocals, guitar, bass, drum machine" so it's hard to decipher it but on the fresh breath of air that is "Never Make You Cry," it all comes together as one overflowing hill of volcanic eruption. And that's what Rocket Fire is about, forgetting about the analysis and influences, letting go and taking off on an explosive ride." - Bryan Sanchez, Delusions of Adequacy

"Fredericksburg, Va., noise rock trio Skywave broke up long before they had the chance to spread their distortion-driven tunes to a wide audience. The primary factor in the band's dissolution was the departure of bassist Oliver Ackerman, who relocated to New York City, began building custom effects pedals and formed the awesome shoegazer combo A Place to Bury Strangers. However, the two remaining members of Skywave, Paul Baker and John Fedowitz, stuck together to form Ceremony, a noisy outfit of their own with a decidedly more pop-friendly sound. And while it's that pop accessibility that makes debut album Rocket Fire unique, the duo can certainly hold their own when it comes to volume. Rocket Fire is a loud record. A very loud record. It buzzes and screeches and squeals and shreds. Yet, for something so seemingly menacing, there are plenty of hooks to keep the listener's interest, even when that audio assault is at full, piercing blast. Sharing more than a few similarities with their former bandmate's post-punk edge in A Place to Bury Strangers, Ceremony also get by with more approachable melodies, like The Pains of Being Pure At Heart but with a much bigger arsenal. With the opening waves of "Stars Fall," Ceremony channels their fuzz through a gorgeous dream pop melody, Baker's vocals swimming in effects just above a woozy mixture of overdrive. The vicious, careening "Never Make You Cry" takes a considerably different course, however, with razor sharp riffs substituting for the previous song's dense sonic soup. The drum machine snap of "Breaking Up" is reminiscent of The Jesus And Mary Chain circa 1989 (a highly underrated period in their career), while "For Her Smile" is a sinister goth-rock standout, rich in feedback and melody. And "Marianne" is contrastingly one of the most chaotic and blown out tracks on the album, as well as one of the catchiest. The initial shock of Ceremony's unrelenting bombardment of noise doesn't take long to wear off, though the impact never really lessens. However, beneath that fiery exterior is a gifted pop band, whose melodies are strong enough to fight their way through the din. Rocket Fire only runs a little longer than a half hour, but it's probably best to give your ears a 25-minute cool down period before you play it again. And you will want to play it again." - Jeff Terich, Treble

"This Fredericksburg, VA duo's 3rd album is an excellent set of noisy, shoegazer psych-rock recalling past noisemaking heavyweights like The Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, along with contemporaries such as A Place To Bury Strangers, which isn't too surprising, since the Ceremony's Paul Baker and John Fedowitz used to be in the similarly minded trio Skywave with A Place To Bury Strangers' Oliver Ackermann. Like those bands, Ceremony swathes their songs in layers of oceanic guitar distortion, though underneath the noise can be heard some sweet, '80s-influenced pop songs with New Wave drum-machine rhythms and sugary melodies. 5/14/2010 -Don Yates, KEXP

"Another band that sort of came out of nowhere is Ceremony. But I guess not really...before there was A Place To Bury Strangers there was Skywave, and Skywave sort of turned into A Place To Bury Strangers and Ceremony. I love those APTBS albums more than anything, so you can imagine, I was very excited to hear this album by Ceremony! It is brought to us by the great label Killer Pimp that put out the first APTBS album. Killer Pimp has also just released the amazing album from Soundpool. Soundpool is like the female cousin of Ceremony; it hasceremony rocket fire female vocals and is a bit more ethereal but still is in the shoegaze genre. This new album by Ceremony is called Rocket Fire. If you were a bit scared by APTBS then this might be the album for you -- not that it isn't just as good, it is just a bit more accessible and easy to digest. This is not the Chaz Bono band with the same name. There actually seem to be about 4 other bands named Ceremony...not exactly sure how that happened. You'd think somebody would have noticed before now! But this is for sure my favorite incarnation. Rocket Fire is everything I love in an album -- it's loud shoegaze, it's dark and brooding, it sounds British even though it's not, it sounds like it was made in 1991 but it's not, and it has been one of my favorites of this month. I will probably wear it out soon, so I am trying not to listen to it every day, but it is that good!" - Amoeba

"The new Ceremony record that I speculatively mentioned back in early March is finally really, truly out! True to my hopes and suspicions, it's flat out fantastic. While comparisons could easily be made to A Place To Bury Strangers, anyone with a keen ear for melody would have to agree that Ceremony lends themselves much more to Skywave's pop sensibilities than that of APTBS. That said, the noise is definitely coming before the pop on Rocket Fire - and to great success, too! Songs like "Stars Fall" and "Marianne" are total noisepop gems worthy of endless repeated listens and "Someday" sounds like it could have been a classic Factory Records single. The CD version of the record is out now on Killer Pimp, but the vinyl version won't be out until May 25th. Personally I'd say it's worth the wait. Tide yourself over by listening to "Marianne"." - Skatterbrain!

It's been a while since My Bloody Valentine released Loveless in 1991 and the subsequent years have garnished our musical palates with ethereal, mournful fruit. The '90s is littered with bands who tried and failed to pick up the reins abandoned by MBV, and it took many years for the band's influence to form into the lasting promise of Loveless. Then of course, there's also the Jesus and the Mary Chain, The Cure, and a host of other shoegazer bands that lent to the noisy, melancholy '80s sound of disaffected musicians. Sipping from an enlightened proboscis, separated from the troubled '90s, came Skywave, who hailed from Fredricksburg, Virginia. Skywave lit up the American shoegaze scene, receiving excited approbation for their strong, furious sound. The band prematurely flickered out, discharging three embers. The bassist, Oliver Ackerman, moved to Brooklyn, NY and founded A Place to Bury Strangers. The other two, Paul Baker and John Fedowitz (both musicians share duties on bass, guitar, vocals, and drum machine in Ceremony) remained in Skywave's city of origin and put together Ceremony - one of the more exciting bands of the movement for the resurgence of shoegazer. Due to the seeds sown from Skywave's beginnings, it's easy to notice the similarity of APTBS and Ceremony's "wall of noise," but the differences begin thereafter. While Ackerman's band became a finely tuned, throbbing explosion, Ceremony retained more of the traditional sound of shoegazer; classically rooted in My Bloody Valentine, the Jesus and the Mary Chain, and even the Cure, as displayed on the eighth track, "Someday"-more on that later. Ceremony's Rocket Fire (Killer Pimp) begins with the obvious single of the album, "Stars Fall." Its catchy hook remains relevant through the entire track, displaying the wonderful hollow sound of Fedowtiz's bass. The song teeters between minor and major chords striking a raw nerve and moody vibe that is instantly addicting. "Stars Fall" is one of the more uplifting songs of the album; marked with a haunting chorus as the distortion of Baker's guitar plows through the gut of the song's theme. The singer's eerie vocals warble like a voice from the dead captured on tape and remains so throughout the album. There are many great songs on Rocket Fire, such as "Silhouette," "It's Too Late," and "Regret." The eighth track, "Someday," is outstanding, harkening the Cure's Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me; the bass rumbles and the guitars glimmer with New Order-ish delight; trembling over every note. Although the album rarely misses, songs like "Marianne" have been heard many times before, not that it's a bad thing but the track almost makes Ceremony sound like a tribute band. Although this reviewer was unable to obtain more information on Ceremony's previous releases, one could surmise this band's seminal era, so lending its talents to a classical sound is easily acceptable. The song is, after all, well executed and Ceremony will surely grow from it on future releases. Ceremony recently performed at Aloft in Midtown Manhattan on Saturday, May 1st. The band articulated the album's glittering, noisy, and elegant sound live. The performance did what the album does, which is construct a loud and beautiful set of tunes that will remain in your playlist for a long time. Rocket Fire has an obsessive quality about it, like an elusive auditory dream one tries to replicate over and over. Rocket Fire is pure pleasure, ranking as one of the best of the year, which has already seen too many disappointments. (See: Yeasayer Odd Blood, MGMT Congratulations). I predict the album will continue to be be one of the most memorable efforts of the year. - Carlos Detres, The Whiskey Dregs

Paul Baker and John Fedowitz have been around kicking the Shoegaze revival tip well before it became en-vogue a couple of years back. As two thirds of the criminally under-appreciated Skywave, who were already wrapping audiences in blankets of distortion while most nu gazers were first discovering that there was a whole world of fuzz beyond Loveless. Since putting Skywave to rest, bassist Oliver Akerman has gone on to form the more hard pounding and celebrated A Place to Bury Strangers, while Baker and Fedowitz have toiled in a bit more obscurity with Ceremony, a band that very much picks up where Skywave left off. On their 3rd full length, Rocket Fire, you will find no epiphanies or broken ground but that isn't per-say a bad thing. Ceremony, to me, have always been a band very much about celebrating and creating for a bygone era and fan, Rocket Fire cements just that. After my umpteenth spin of this record, I think I'm finally starting to grasp why Ceremony hasn't broken through quite the way many of their fellow Nu Gazers have. Rocket Fire, like all of Ceremony's catalog isn't written or produced to appeal to the throngs of kids lapping up what The Big Pink or The Pains of Being Pure at Heart throw out at them; but rather those of who grew up listening to Blind Mr. Jones, Catherine Wheel and The Pale Saints. There's absolutely no twist or "tell" so-to-speak that places Rocket Fire in this Millennium. Maybe I'm showing my age here, but songs like "For Her Smile" and "Someday" aren't revivals of anything, they're pure taps into the time stream of the mid-90s and that's what makes Ceremony so enjoyable and interesting. Sure you may have heard this all before, but I bet you've never heard it from a band so blissfully caught out of time. And if you care and are listening carefully enough, that's pretty revolutionary in it's own right because earnest authenticity and strong song writing rarely fall hand in hand as we may like them to." - New Music Talk

"With all the deviation in the shoegaze sound, Virginia's Ceremony is proud to stay firmly grounded in the roots of the genre. After the demise of Skywave, a band considered by many to be responsible for the resurgence of shoegaze in America, bassist Oliver Akerman formed the incredible A Place to Bury Strangers, and remaining members Paul Baker and John Fedowitz formed the equally excellent Ceremony. Picking up directly where Skywave left off, the duo's guitars make a tremendous amount of noise thanks to some serious pedal magic. Blisteringly loud washes of guitars are as piercing as they are soothing, contrasting the lo-fi drum machine rhythms tucked just below the mix. Baker.s vocals add great texture, sounding relaxed and calming amongst the breaking dance beats and all encompassing storm of guitar effects." - Exploding In Sound

"Much like the loudness that pervades such noise rock, Ceremony feature raucous pop hooks and riffs that surmount the loudness. The bond between them and A Place to Bury Strangers is undoubtedly felt but they've captured their own appealing facets. Although there is plenty of drive, it's a noisy explosion that unquestionably delivers a strong jolt that resonates for a long time after it ends." - Bryan Sanchez, Delusions of Adequacy

"thunderously romantic Factory Records guitar/bass interplay, lo-fi drum machinesᾹbut as far as what it sets out to do, it succeeds." — Marc Hogan, Pitchfork, January 15, 2010

"Creating noisy, brilliant shoegaze like APTBS, Ceremony's tunes are a bit more on the indie pop side, making for an interesting and brilliant mix of influences." - Girls Sold Out

"burning frequencies, dark noisy pop, electronic drumming, a bath of guitar gears like phaser, rat, reverb" - Komakino

"some very fine noise-pop" - Built on a Weak Spot

"Ceremony's music is a superb hybrid of dark noisy pop, shoegaze, and electro; the result is a sound both unique and nostalgic." - Superstarcastic

"Utterly exhilarating" - Opus


when it's cold and the world is gray
and the rain won't go away
i see your smile and your glowing face
the rain is gone without a trace

sweetness under the moon
or a sunny afternoon
take my heart and my life
cause someday you'll be my wife


when it's dark and it's winter cold
my hands are numb too frozen to hold
in the black of my blackest nights
i'll be burning underneath your light

sweetness under the moon
or a sunny afternoon
take my heart and my life
cause someday you'll be my wife