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Oct 10th
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The Seven-Album Itch

music_TheAppleseedCastThe Appleseed Cast is still figuring itself out and finding its place
Back in the summer of 2006, I witnessed Russian Circles open up for The Appleseed Cast, and it was probably a terrible act for the headliners to have to follow. Still, what seemed like  an onstage mismatch seemed to epitomize the amorphous nature of The Appleseed Cast.

While Russian Circles are known for intense post-rock bombast, The Appleseed Cast will bring a more melodic, slow-boiled take on instrumental buildup when it descends upon the Rio Theatre on Friday, March 25. In fact, the band, based in Lawrence, Kan., has always felt a little out of place in more ways than one. During a career spanning seven full-length albums, the enemble has sort of hung out in a genre no man’s land, grabbing fans from the punk and indie scenes but truly endearing itself to neither. Likewise, the band’s music has found its own middle ground between instrumental and pop music.


“That’s actually a pattern that we’ve tried to go with,” explains guitarist Aaron Pillar about the band’s arrangements. “I think it’s just about trying to find an interesting spot where the vocals make sense in that ballpark. It’s almost like we’ve done things in such a way for so long, it’d be really weird, maybe it would be a good thing to write some songs that are all vocals.”

And indeed, The Appleseed Cast makes use of vocals in at least two ways that differ from your typical off-the-shelf indie record. One is in the quintet’s arrangements, which swerve between dramatic, sweeping post-rock epics, and rather engaging indie pop relying on more traditional verse/chorus structuring.

Moreover, one of the starkest decisions the band has ever made was in recording its 2009 effort, Sagarmatha. Though vocal effects were certainly nothing new to the group, this record featured singer Chris Crisci in an indistinguishable tone, his voice more a disembodied spirit.

“During those sessions we definitely got a little happy with putting delays on vocals, which is tricky because they can kind of bounce around and not make a whole lot of sense,” explains Pillar, the band’s other driving creative force. “On those songs it just felt there were so many written musically first as instrumental songs that became songs with lyrics. On Sagarmatha there was definitely an intention to make the voice just kind of help tell the story as a background.”

Still, as creatively satisfied as Pillar seems with his band of nearly 15 years, his more meandering musical sensibilities (contrasted with Crisci, who seems more responsible for focused tracks like “Song 3” from Peregrine) belie his desire to reach a broader audience. While bands like Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky certainly prove post-rock has an audience, you’re not soon to hear an 8-minute minimalist piece on alternative radio anytime soon.

“I certainly wish I could try and pretend I was 20 years old again,” explains Pillar, who also runs a catering business in Lawrence with his wife. “I didn’t have any responsibilities, I just wanted to make it big. I don’t really see that happening anymore.” He adds, “I did always want to have a bus—I wanted to have a manager and a bus, just for one tour, so all you have to do really is walk out and play. Even now I feel really far from that.”


The Appleseed Cast performs at 8 p.m. Friday, March 25, at the Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. For more information call 423-8209.


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Mercury completes its retrograde Friday, poised stationary direct Friday evening at zero degrees Libra. Mercury begins its journey through Libra once again, completing its retrograde shadow Oct. 12. Things should be a bit less complicated by then. Daily life works better, plans move forward, large purchases can be made, and communication eases. Everything on hold during the retrograde is slowly released. Since we eliminated all thoughts and ideas no longer needed (the purpose of Mercury’s retrograde) during the retrograde, we can now gather new information—until the next retrograde occurs on Jan. 5, 2016 (1.3 degrees Aquarius), retrograding back to 15 degrees Capricorn on Jan. 25. It’s good to know beforehand when Mercury will retrograde next—Jan. 5, the day before Epiphany. On Monday is Columbus Day, when the sailor from Genoa arrived in the new lands (Americas), Oct. 12, 1492. This discovery by Columbus was the first encounter of Europeans with Native Americans. Other names for this day are “Discovery Day, Day of the Americas, Cultural Diversity Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and Dia de la Raza.” Italian communities especially celebrate this day. Oct. 12 is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Monday is also the (19 degrees) Libra new moon festival. Libra’s keynote while building the personality is, “Let choice be made.” Libra is the sign of making life choices. Often under great tension of opposing forces seeking harmony and balance. There is a battle between our lower (personality) and higher selves (soul). We are tested and called to cultivate right judgment and love. When we align with the will-to-good, right choice, then right judgment and love/wisdom come forth. Our tasks in Libra. 


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