The Appleseed Cast

The Appleseed Cast
The Appleseed Cast

The Appleseed Cast in concert
Background information
Origin Lawrence, Kansas, United States
Genres Indie rock
Years active 1997–present
Labels Deep Elm, Tiger Style, The Militia Group, Graveface, Vagrant Records
Associated acts Old Canes, Hundred Hands
Christopher Crisci
Ted Stevens [2]
John Momberg
Nathan Whitman
Lucas Oswald
Past members
Louie Ruiz
Jason Wickersheim
Josh "Cobra" Baruth
Jordan Geiger
Nathan "Jr." Richardson
Aaron Coker
Marc Young
Aaron Pillar [3]

The Appleseed Cast is an American emo/post-rock band based in Lawrence, Kansas, United States, composed of singer/guitarist Christopher Crisci (pronounced /ˈkriːʃi/), guitarist Aaron Pillar, bassist Nathan Whitman and drummer John Momberg. The band's predominantly guitar-based music has evolved from intense, heavy emo indebted to such acts as Mineral and Sunny Day Real Estate to a unique "post-rock" sound hinging on inventive, intricate drumming, subtle guitar arpeggios and impassioned vocals.



Formation and Debut

The band formed in 1997 in Southern California with Crisci and Pillar joining bassist Jason Wickersheim and drummer Louie Ruiz under the name December's Tragic Drive (derived from lyrics of the song, "Seven" by Sunny Day Real Estate). The following year, the band - now billed as The Appleseed Cast - signed to Deep Elm Records out of New York (before relocating to North Carolina) and released their debut album, The End of the Ring Wars, an album which met with considerable approval from the emo and underground scenes, as incendiary tracks like "Marigold & Patchwork" were essentially blueprints for the emo style.[citation needed] However, the album was also criticized in some quarters (most notably by Pitchforkmedia) for sticking too closely to a style already well explored by previous acts such as Braid and Sunny Day Real Estate.[citation needed]

Mare Vitalis

In 1999, the band relocated to Lawrence, Kansas without Ruiz, recruiting new drummer Josh "Cobra" Baruth. Later that same year they entered the Red House studio in Eudora, Kansas with Producer Ed Rose who would go on to produce their next four records. The end result was Mare Vitalis, the band's second full-length album. The album showed progression from the dynamics-heavy rock of The End of the Ring Wars. Essentially a concept album on the movements of the sea (encapsulated in such song titles as "Mare Mortis," "Poseidon" and "Kilgore Trout" (also an allusion to the recurring Kurt Vonnegut character of the same name), the album is a fan favourite, heavy on atmosphere, crescendo, subtly undulating guitar arpeggios and the percussive, intricate drumming of Baruth, who clearly brought a new dimension to the band's sonic palette.

The band completed Mare Vitalis in late 1999, but tensions were developing between the band and Wickersheim. In January 2000, Pillar asked his roommate, St. Joseph, Missouri-native Marc Young, if he would be interested in playing bass for them, for one show. Young agreed; however, the show they spoke of and agreed upon never materialized. Regardless, Wickersheim officially departed the group that same month with Young replacing him on bass.

Low Level Owl & Lost Songs

After touring Mare Vitalis, the Appleseed Cast once again entered the studio in late 2000 to begin work on what would be their most ambitious project to date. Eager to fulfill their five record deal with Deep Elm, the band embarked on a double LP, with Ed Rose once again at the helm. Low Level Owl Volume One was released on August 21, 2001 with Volume Two following on October 23.

The tracks were woven seamlessly together into album-length soundscapes, revealing a hitherto unnoticed post-rock influence. The complex vocal arrangements and enigmatic lyrics were buried in the mix underneath simple, repeated guitar riffs, swathes of keyboards and found sounds, and Baruth's inventive, intricate drum patterns. The pieces containing vocals and lyrics were connected by ambient-influenced instrumentals. The Low Level Owl albums seemed both to be a natural progression from the more song-oriented Mare Vitalis and a complete shock, the previously disparaging Pitchforkmedia website giving the project a glowing review. However, some critics were put off by the intentionally repetitive nature, not only of much of the guitar playing but also the ambient instrumental interludes.

The band followed their Low Level Owl project with the release of Lost Songs the following year. The album was a collection of songs recorded shortly after the release of The End of the Ring Wars, songs which were considered unfinished. In 2002 vocals and overdubs were added to the "lost songs" and issued as the Appleseed Cast's final release on the Deep Elm label.

Two Conversations

The Appleseed Cast signed with the New York based indie label Tiger Style Records in 2003 and released Two Conversations shortly afterward. Touring keyboardist Jordan Geiger was officially credited as a band member on the album. Two Conversations was met with mixed reviews.

Some viewed the album with dismay, regarding the more conventional song structures, the less diverse sonic palette and the personal, relationship-driven lyrics as a blatant retreat after the no-holds-barred experimentation, depth and complexity of the Low Level Owl project. However, others saw the album as an assured combination of the driving emo-rock of their early work subtly embellished with elements of the Low Level Owl sound.

During the recording of the album and the subsequent tour, tensions mounted once again, this time with drummer Josh "Cobra" Baruth. Rumors began to surface in the spring and summer of 2004 that Baruth was no longer a part of the group, and were confirmed on the band's website later that year.

Following the confirmation the band went on hiatus. Crisci began working with his side-project Old Canes and Geiger returned to his band, Minus Story. In the meantime Tiger Style, in financial difficulties, was forced to drop their entire roster, including The Appleseed Cast from their label after just one album.

Rebirth & Peregrine

Throughout late 2004 and much of 2005 little to no word travelled on the band's current situation. This began to change later in the year as news of drummer auditions began to spread. The band auditioned with many drummers including part-time Old Canes drummer Aaron Coker who later went on to tour with Reggie & The Full Effect. The position eventually went to the Casket Lottery drummer, Nathan "Nate Jr." Richardson.

With a new drummer in place, the band was signed by the Militia Group in 2005 and announced they were returning to the studio in October.

The recording sessions for Peregrine, the Appleseed Cast's sixth full-length album, were held in Cannon Falls, Minnesota at Pachyderm Studio. The sessions were produced by John Congleton, their first in years without their regular producer Ed Rose.

Lead singer and guitarist Chris Crisci stated on the band's website "...I don't know if I've felt better about a record this early since Mare Vitalis." The album is arguably more eclectic than any previous release in their catalogue, the Low Level Owl indebted instrumental "An Orange And A Blue" sitting alongside the more conventional, guitar-driven "February" and the stark, electronica of "Mountain Halo."

Peregrine was released on March 21, 2006.

Nathan Richardson left the band in the summer of 2006 and was replaced by Old Canes drummer Aaron Coker.


When asked about the next album (previously discussed as an entirely instrumental EP) in an interview, Chris Crisci had said, "...the idea is still there, although it has morphed into a mostly instrumental full length.".[4] Recording sessions were held at Black Lodge Recording in Eudora, KS with Ed Rose after unsuccessful attempts to arrange John Congleton to helm the recording. Three demos, "Road West," "A Bright Light" and "Summer Before," were released as previews on their MySpace. Prior to the album's release, Aaron Coker left the band and Marc Young followed shortly thereafter in order to return to school. They were replaced by John Momberg and Nate Whitman, respectively. Sagarmatha was released on February 17, 2009, and reached #25 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.[5]

Low Level Owl Live/Documentary

On November 23, 2009, it was announced that the group has signed to Graveface Records. On the same day, the site announced that The Appleseed Cast would be touring with labelmates Dreamend in Spring 2010, "playing their two classic albums, Low Level Owl Volume I and II back-to-back, each in its entirety".[6] The announcement also mentioned that the band would have a live album for sale on this tour.[7] The band will be the subject of a documentary to be produced by 7446 films in cooperation with Graveface Records.[8] The film will document the band revisiting its seminal work, while also focusing on the creation of Low Level Owl Volume I and II and the journey the band has taken to this point. The film is scheduled for a 2012 release.[9]

Middle States EP

In July 2010 John Momberg (drums) mentioned that new material was being demoed in a blog post on their myspace page. On February 26, 2011, Graveface Records uploaded a video via youtube that gives current updates of the bands on their label, including The Appleseed Cast. The description of the video states that a new EP, entitled "Middle States", will be released physically June 7, 2011. The video also contains a sound clip demo of the title track.[10] According to the band, the album will be available for pre-order and digital download on March 29.[11]

  • Track listing
  1. "End Frigate Constellation" (5:50)
  2. "Interlude" (2:55)
  3. "Middle States" (5:12)
  4. "Three Rivers" (14:03)



Singles, EPs



External links

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