By Matt Gannon

The first time I heard Ceremony it was three years ago, the song was called “Kersed”. It was the most raw angry thing I ever heard and I was instantly a fan. I have been looking forward to the release of “Rohnert Park” for some time now. After finally listening to it I found it to be a great punk album. It is defiantly a progression from “Violence Violence” but its also the next logical step after “Still Nothing Moves You”.

Rohnert Park opens with “Into the Wayside Part I/Sick, the first chords strike and it feels like Dick Dale wrote a Halloween song. Its not long before Cazarotti’s pounding drums come in with a steady punk beat, guitar and bass add to the mix and make the build up that much better. When Ross Farrar finally sings the cynicism and anger in his words is enough to send shivers down my spine. The song boasts a simple message of pure hatred for the modern world, and the delivery is remarkably effective.

One track in particular caught my attention, “The Doldrums (Friendly City)”. This track alone shows the huge range that Ceremony is able achieve. The subject matter of the song is only enhanced by the droning clean vocals. I applaud Ceremony for doing what great bands do, experimenting with their sound. This song will be hit or miss for many Ceremony fans but for me it is defiantly a hit.

“Rohnert Park” sounds like it could be some long lost gem recorded in the 80’s and not discovered until now. The production quality and the style of song writing couldn’t have reached a more perfect balance. Rohnert Park in my opinion is one of the best hardcore punk albums to come out in 2010.

Highlight Tracks
Moving Principle
The Doldrums (Friendly City)
Don’t touch Me
Back in 84

Aram Shelton - Alto saxophone, Clarinet
Keefe Jackson - Tenor Saxophone, Bass Clarinet
Josh Berman - Cornet
Fred Lonberg-Holm - Cello
Anton Hatwich - Bass
Frank Rosaly - Drums

Chances are, Chicago has a cooler jazz scene than your city. With its young vanguard of experimentalist, Two Cities, the new offering from Fast Citizens, proves a second wave is within the ilk of Ken Vandermark, Chicago Underground Duo, and Isotope 217. The sextet Fast Citizens' rotating leader chair is this time occupied by saxophonist Aram Shelton.

Although the album is built around free-form clusters, usually with each of the six members in mix, they are set within a post-bop ethos. The opener and title track is a colorful trek through not one, or two cities, but an array of sounds for touring many different places. Josh Berman and Keefe Jackson round out the front end. All three invited each other in and out at various points in the song, some times harmonizing warmly, other times tip-toeing around one another. Big News flourishes Fred Lonberg-Holm's cello with entrances by horns just after the 1:00 mark and creeping rhythm lines soon thereafter.

The album even dips into third stream. VCR #9 is Mingus-like in mood and image with its dizzying whirs. Clocking in at just over a minute long, Wontkins is the rapid unpacking and throwing about the room of angular free jazz, but certainly not a shrugged-off after thought. It's voice on the album sheds more onto what type of sextet Shelton is leading. The group's last album, led by Keefe Jackson, was more mature in its track by track organization. Here, the Fast Citizens sound juvenile, but are in no way unweaned.
Tuesday night jazz show primer! Each week SBS, hosted by Chris and I, plays what is defined as 'jazz and jazz plus.' So here are some thoughts on jazz and jazz plus, but more specifically new, underground things we play.

SBS Tuesdays, 6 PM - 8 PM 91.5 WUML Lowell
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New Music Worth Your Time:
  • Little Women - Throat, AUM Fidelity
  • New York Art Quartet - Old Stuff, Cuneiform
  • Aram Shelton's Fast Citizens - Two Cities, AUM Fidelity
  • Mulatu Astatke - Mulatu Steps Ahead, Strut
This Week's Program:
  • Some music off of Popol Vuh's 1983 masterpiece soundtrack for Aguirre, Wrath of God. Directed by Werner Herzog.
  • Joe Harriot, the lost pioneer of free jazz.
  • In honor of it's 35th anniversary, selections from Phedra by Tangerine Dream.
  • Miles Davis Live at the Fillmore East, 1970: It's About That Time.

An announcement from a February 2010 Umass Lowell chair meeting on the dismantling of the Regional and Social Economic Development (RESD) department came as a shock to students and faculty, and now professors and students say they feel they are losing a sense of community despite administration claims of bettering the program.
The interdisciplinary department, now in it’s thirteenth year, focuses on economics, sociology, labor, environmentalism, and other fields. It’s flagship program, the Master of Arts in Economic and Social Development of Regions, will continue under a new model starting in July by re-integrating RESD department faculty into disciplinary departments.
“After the University Provost suggested the idea of having a better model, we offered to work with him,” said Philip Moss, RESD professor and co-chair.
The announcement came soon after.
“I was shocked and appalled this was happening,” said Dr. John Wooding, a RESD co-chair.
Moss says a department base is crucial and the student community relies on this structure.
Wooding and Moss, along with concerned students, have been holding meetings and keeping correspondence with university administration to raise issues and reiterate negative reactions to the decision.
“This change was extremely unexpected and there is a lack of transparency with whats being done” said Graduate Student Lianna Kushi.
Umass Lowell Provost Ahmed Abdelal said it was always clear that the degree program would continue.
"I feel the alarm may have been provoked by misunderstanding," says Abdelal.
Graduate Student Matt Hopkins said meetings were bizarre, marked with emotion from students and a lack of listening from administrators.
“[RESD] has evolved as a department, not a framework,” said Hopkins.
Administrators say the current deployment of RESD resources and departmental boundaries have hampered interdisciplinary collaboration and cost the university money in an economic climate when they need to be prudent and cost effective.
“Sometimes there is confusion with change but we feel the sense of community will still be there,” said Nina Coppens, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
RESD's 5th floor space located Umass Lowell's O'Leary Library will be used as a research center rather than a department base.
“Integrating RESD into different departments will bring expertise of the department to the whole campus,” said Coppens.
Coppens said that RESD expertise can not only better student education, but make their Master’s program more visible to the UML community.
Changes in RESD, like in other interdisciplinary frameworks, will include faculty councils, from different departments, and student representatives to provide input.
“RESD was an experiment to decide what would be a sustainable model for interdisciplinary programs,” said Associate Dean of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Melissa Pennell.
Pennell said creating new departments for new programs is unwieldy and by creating faculty councils with professors from multiple departments increases flexibility as professors are being utilized in a number of different teaching activities.
Co-chair Philip Moss said the departmental structure has always lent itself to good quality instruction and research.