Old Canes is the folk-inflected solo project of the Appleseed Cast’s Chris Crisci. The Lawrence, KS multi-instrumentalist recently signed to Saddle Creek to release his sophomore album Feral Harmonic (10/20). He recorded most of the collection alone in his basement studio over three-and-a-half years, though friends contributed guest trumpet, drums, harmophone, cello, and hammer dulcimer. We asked Chris about the collection’s triumphant toy piano and horn-lined opening anthem “Little Bird Courage,” which debuted in this week’s ‘Gum Drop He went in depth about the track as well as how this project and the Appleseed Cast function differently as musical outlets: We couldn’t fit it all in your Inbox, but you can read his unedited words here, while you take a listen.
STEREOGUM: Who is “Little Bird Courage”? Any relation to Chicken Little? It feels like a fight song.
CHRIS CRISCI: Yes, absolutely a relation to Chicken Little. Little Bird Courage is all of us, it’s everyone who makes the choice answer to beauty, not fear … as my favorite Van Pelt song goes. It takes courage to put ourselves out there, to love, to show kindness. It’s much easier to protect ourselves and treat each other with cynicism, which is how — initially — we tend to treat each other. The little bird is that love that is dying to get out and show itself … that we think is so vulnerable, but is actually powerful if it’s not constrained by our fear.
STEREOGUM: Old Canes is much different than Appleseed Cast. Do you think the projects relate at all? And how do they function differently as musical outlets?
CHRIS CRISCI: I think Appleseed Cast and Old Canes do relate in some very general musical concepts. I think some of the melodies that I pick out might have some potential for either band, and I think there is an intensity they share that stems from the punk and hardcore roots of my teenage years. Overall, though, they are very different bands. I wouldn’t want to be in two bands that sounded the same. I love different aspects of both bands. With the Appleseed Cast, I love the intricate guitar lines, and the off time signatures. I’ve always liked helping to write interesting drum lines and with Appleseed there’s a lot of opportunity for that. Old Canes has its share of distinctive drum lines too. And some of them sound pretty straightforward until you try to play them. There’s little things turned around here and there. With most of the Old Canes songs, I just love the up tempo, full speed ahead energy. I love recording it. I’ve got a basement full of instruments and I can’t wait to get one track down so I can try bells out on it, or cello, or mandolin, or toy piano, or harmonica, or distortion Casio. It’s fun. If I’m not careful I’ll put so much down that I’ll never play it all live. That’s why we went from a three-piece to a five-piece for our live performances.
This week we also offered the chance to win the Beatles’ Stereo box set, Rock Band, a lithograph, and a VOX amp. Here are the details:
When framing their Best/Worst Beatles’ Songs, Entertainment Weekly said we were in the midst of “another Beatles revolution.” Who knows if that’s true, but we can confirm that one lucky Beatlemaniac takes home the complete 16-disc digitally remastered Beatles Stereo Box, The Beatles: Rock Band, a limited-edition Beatles lithograph, and a VOX DA5 amp (so you can pretend you’re part of the British Invasion from the comfort of home). More on the Stereo Box:
The collection comprises all 12 Beatles albums in stereo, with track listings and artwork as originally released in the UK, and Magical Mystery Tour, which became part of The Beatles’ core catalogue when the CDs were first released in 1987. In addition, the collections Past Masters Vol. I and II are now combined as one title, for a total of 14 titles over 16 discs.
Within each CD’s new packaging, booklets include detailed historical notes along with informative recording notes. With the exception of the Past Masters set, newly produced mini-documentaries on the making of each album, directed by Bob Smeaton, are included as QuickTime files on each album. The documentaries contain archival footage, rare photographs and never-before-heard studio chat from The Beatles, offering a unique and very personal insight into the studio atmosphere.
This is what it looks like:
Remember to make room for the lithograph:
You’ll need to enter to win. While you’re harnessing that energy, there’s still time to win a Where The Wild Things Are skate deck, iPod, and CD.
CONTEST ENDS 09/23/09 AT 12PM EST.