With previous addresses in California and North Carolina (and a current one in Kansas), this emo/post-rock quintet has lived like hipster Gypsies — settling here, resettling there, uprooting always. Not coincidentally, The Appleseed Cast sounds like a little of everything. On "Steps and Numbers," from their 2001 album Low Level Owl: Volume I, we find '80s college-rock arpeggios commingling with politely anguished Midwestern crooning and leavened with just a touch of that yeasty SoCal pop-punk brio that everybody was smoking in 2001. Throw in some "found" sounds (malfunctioning vibrators, sparrow farts) and some idiosyncratic drum patterns, and you essentially have the post-rock sound that has typified The Appleseed Cast's last five albums, including 2009's Sagarmatha — the kind of impressively structured, high-effort experimental rock that seems to jump back whenever it wanders too close to a catchy hook or a sticky chorus or any of those dreaded clichés of conventional songcraft. Artful elusiveness seems to be The Appleseed Cast's chief operating principle.
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