As much as I hate to be the girl who continuously talks about how rad she is, I have to admit that my friends and I throw the best parties. It really only started recently. Partly, this was because I feel like the transition into adulthood means that instead of getting trashed on your friend’s back porch nightly, you start doing things like throwing dinner parties and other fanciness. Another reason for my increase in ridiculously legit parties is that I met Nora. Nora is basically my party-throwing soul mate. She’s every bit as enthusiastic as I am, a great cook, and an all around awesome babe with access to a big enough house to cram all of our super cool friends inside of. Every time Nora and I have set out to have a shindig, our social circle pulls out all the stops for a raucous, fun-filled, and surprisingly adult evening of food, drinks, and music.
Last week, Nora and I threw together a ramshackle White Elephant party that turned out ridiculously well-put-together despite the fact that we barely did any party prep. In the evening, we made trillions of cookies, wrapped presents, and decorated the tree. By the time the guests had mostly all arrived, there were bunches of mystery presents under the tree (ranging from a badminton set to a really legit hat that I got but my best friend stole from me) and people were at an appropriate level of fuck-upped-ness for some legendary stuff to happen.
And that’s when The Appleseed Collective showed up and played a show at our party right next to the dang Christmas tree!
The weird thing about being friends with The Appleseed Collective is that they’re genuinely one of my favorite bands because they’re just preternaturally talented. It’s strange being friends with one of your favorite bands, but it’s mostly just really awesome because it imbues your life with a sweet sense of awesomeness at all times. I’ve got a lot of friends in bands, but there are only so many whose music that I actually, legitimately love. Appleseed is just so good that it’s impossible to not be charmed by their d.i.y. gypsy jazz style.
Nearly every member of Appleseed contributes equal parts to the songs, with guitarist Andrew Brown, bassist Sophie Tulip, and multi-instrumentalist Brandon Worder taking turns on lead vocals. Brown belts out songs with the detached grit of a young Justin Townes Earle while playing guitar like some sort of Delta blues man. It’s sick. Worder plays violin and mandolin so well that I’m pretty sure Will Sheff would recruit him for Okkervil River, if given the opportunity. And did you listen to “Sugar Cut My Teeth”? Sophie Tulip sings like a sweet baby angel. Imagine that song being played next to a freakin’ Christmas tree with twenty-five of your closest friends all singing some harmonies. It was so magical!
The weird thing about Appleseed Collective is that they hail from Ann Arbor, Mich., a city that I’m pretty sure is the awesome-folk-music capitol of the world. Even so, I can say with full confidence Appleseed is the best band in Michigan. That’s quite an accolade considering the fact that my back yard is home to longtime fave Frontier Ruckus and the man behind my favorite record of 2011, Chris Bathgate. But Appleseed Collective is just ridiculously amazing at every turn. And they sound like a real-life version of a band that would have been in O Brother, Where Art Thou? I mean, just listen to them.
So, as you heard, the band is trying to raise money to record their debut album. That’s right, guys — these talented kids have nothing under their belts besides a demo and a live album on Bandcamp. Oh, by the by, you can snag those for free, so I guess that means this post doubles as the Bandcamp Pick of the Week! Neat!
Right now, the band is almost halfway to their goal, and I really can’t think of a more deserving band to give money to. They’re really good people who do great things for the community (Read that kickstarter, bro!) but mainly, I want to focus on their music. These guys combine folk, country, Americana, and jazz in a completely sincere way that’s so refreshing. I don’t know about you, but I feel like music just keeps getting more and more contrived. Everything about The Appleseed Collective is organic. Even though the band members are all super young, they’re consummate professionals, busting out ridiculously tight songs, even on the spot at the best Christmas party ever. In fact, the only reason that I can think to NOT give money to Appleseed’s kickstarter is so they’ll stick around Ann Arbor more and play more Amber parties because really, my parties are the best. Just you wait until New Year’s, guys. I heard that’s gonna be great!