Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased tracks, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on The Morning Show with John Richards, is “Not Tonight” by Ceremony from the 2011 EP Not Tonight on Custom Made.
This is the Ceremony out of Fredericksbug, Virginia — not to be confused with a handful of others that might pop up during internet searches, and although their moniker, and sound, is a surefire nod to the late great Joy Division and its offspring, they don’t play New Order covers. The duo of Paul Baker and John Fedowitz are of a more noise oriented, atmosphere-engulfing brand, and were once part of the band Skywave along with Oliver Ackerman. When Ackerman moved to New York, Skywave was no more, and his history belongs now with A Place to Bury Strangers. However, Baker and Fedowitz kept trucking in their own direction and as Ceremony produced several albums, including as of last March the Not Tonight EP. On it, they two share duties on guitar, bass, vocals, and drum machines, as well as anything else necessary to produce their fuzzed out melodies and feedback drone that beckons comparisons to Jesus and Mary Chain, among others. Ceremony is chock full of big, stormy oceanic noise, that simultaneously calls up ’80s new wave melodies underneath it all — if you can fight your way through this energetic, raucous version of shoegaze.
The vocals on “Not Tonight,” while summoning the nonchalance of Ian Curtis of Joy Division, carry a brightness, despite the apparent influences and the upbeat pop sensibility carrying the weight of the overall fuzzed out noise. It’s a refreshing take on the genre, and espouses the belief that noise pop is still alive, yet kicking and screaming a little bit more.