Usually, when a band plays one of their classic albums in its entirety, it’s to mark a tenth anniversary or something like that. And usually the question raised is, have they run out of new things to say? When the Appleseed Cast plays their Low Level Owl: Volume I and Low Level Owl, Volume II at the Casbah this week, it will raise a different question. Namely, how did we forget about these records?
The Appleseed Cast emerged from Lawrence, Kansas, in the late ’90s, owing a big debt to Sunny Day Real Estate. But the Owl records, released in 2001, went off in a new direction. Guitarists Christopher Crisci and Aaron Pillar created echoing masses of quiet, ambient sound for minutes at a time before drummer Josh Baruth would come crashing in with an amazing beat. Most of the albums were instrumental only, and when Crisci’s voice showed up it would be buried in the mix. The results were moody, atmospheric records that completely absorbed you when you sat and listened. That may have been the problem, though — perhaps people don’t have the time or attention span to get completely absorbed in albums anymore. Pitchfork gave the Owl albums rave reviews upon their release but neglected to include them in its best-of-2001 list, not to mention their best-of-the-decade list.
The Appleseed Cast went through some lineup changes and some stylistic adjust-ments in the intervening years. But last year’s Sagarmatha showed that the latest incarnation of the band (Crisci and Pillar with Nate Whitman and John Momberg) is settling into a sound that’s not far removed from the Owl days.
APPLESEED CAST: The Casbah, Wednesday, March 3, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $10; $12 day of show.