For the past 18 years, Ross Farrar has been leaving Ceremony, a California punk band that has been through tons of different stylistic evolutions, from frantic powerviolence to stately synthpop. Ceremony have been doing a lot of touring lately, and they released a twinkly two-song post-punk single, “Vanity Spawned By Fear” b/w “California Poppy,” last year. These days, Farrar also leads the excellent post-hardcore band Spice; they released Viv, a banger of a sophomore album, last year. And now Ross Farrar is also making music on his own.
Today, with out any advance warning, Ross Farrar, using the name RJF, released his debut solo album Going Strange. This music is mostly slow, spare post-punk, built around echoed-out basslines and soft synth-drones. Farrar doesn’t sing or scream so much as intone. His lyrics have a loose, poetic feeling, and he slathers his voice in reverb.
In his other bands, Farrar sings but doesn’t play instruments; Going Strange represents him trying a few things out for himself. The end result is something dubby and idiosyncratic and oddly pretty. I’m not even sure how to describe this thing — if Majical Cloudz had been a Dischord band in the ’90s, maybe? But I’m fully on board. Stream Going Strange below.
The self-released Going Strange is out now, and you can get it at Bandcamp.