End of the Ring Wars

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these, but occasionally I like to point out some of the great bands that inspire my writing. Finding the right record to listen to while writing is an important part of my process and it often plays a vital role in the end product.  Sometimes it can mean the difference between an okay piece and a piece I feel truly happy with.

Earlier this year, The Appleseed Cast put out their latest record, Illumination Ritual. I really enjoy this album and it’s a great addition to their discography, but the record I listen to most while writing is their first, The End of the Ring Wars. In fact it remains my all-time favorite record. I first encountered The Appleseed Cast on the 1998 Deep Elm Records comp Records for the Working Class (free download here), which starts with Marigold and Patchwork, the first song off of Ring Wars. I listened to the song over and over, immediately ordered the record (yup, that’s right, no digital downloads then and no record stores by me carried Deep Elm releases), and became obsessed.

I don’t know if it would’ve meant what it did if I came across it at any other point in time, but it crossed my path during junior year of high school and changed my life. I’ve never felt the same sort of all pervasive calm as when I listened to it all the way through for the first time. To this day I can see everything about that moment clearly as I stood on top of the green and yellow chair in my bedroom, awestruck as the last notes faded out.  It was one of those moments.  There were something unexplainable in the record that I’d never heard before.  And especially something about the poetry/prose of the lyrics, the story – I felt connected to them, writing them out on the walls of my room so that I could literally be surrounded by them. I would fall asleep night after night listening to the album making up stories to go along with it.

While it is by far my favorite record by them, Low Level Owl is an amazing double record as well. Seeing them play it live in Chicago some years back was incredible. I wanted to capture every note and filmed the entire show. Here’s the first two songs, The Waking of Pertelotte & On Reflection:

What do you listen to while writing?

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