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.
Recommended For You
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.