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Bryan, Earl and Clay

Bryan (bass)  Earl (drums)  Clay (guitar)

Earl Tyrus, Clay Ptacek and I all live in different cities. Because of this, Applestock isn't so much a band as it is an event.

Despite the unfortunate geography , we try to get together once a year, hang out for an afternoon and make a record.

Literally, in 3 or 4 hours we perform and record all of our songs and then patiently wait until the next year (sometimes two) to do it again.

I've rounded up and posted some of my favorite sessions below:



2010 was the first year that we tried using electric drums alongside acoustic drums. What a great idea that turned out to be!

"Machine" is one of the first songs that got the electric treatment and it aptly demonstrates both the compelling sound that synthesized drums can make and also Earl's uncanny ability to adapt to any drumset.

"Trippyflute" extends the electro-chaos further by marrying trippy drum sounds to even trippier guitar sounds. It's hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.

Check out "Ragin" for an 'old school' vibe. That track is as stripped down as it gets with just overhead mics on the drums and a mic on the guitar and bass. Despite the simple setup, we were able to capture a Mastadon-sized vibe worth cranking up.

If you have 8 minutes or so to burn, check out "Dio, Where Art Thou?" Ronnie James Dio died about the time we were recording this stuff and it seemed only proper that a righteous jam be played in his memory. Although the tune starts out slow and respectfully, it eventually turns into a white knuckled shred by the end. Most satisfying.

All-in-all it was a great year to make a record.

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2008 was one of the best years ever for recording. I finally have enough microphones and inputs to capture the magic that happens every time we get together.

Like all of our work, we rely on a little luck and an awesome ability to channel the energy of the universe. That vibe is apparent throughout this and every other recording we've made.

Check out the incredible tones, sense of dynamics and patience on display with these jams. Clay, as usual, manages to produce some spectacular real-time effects combinations that defy description and Earl manages to rhythmically knit together the rather audacious leaps of faith that Clay and me throw at him.

We also benefit from really good use of dynamics. A large part of our sound involves the "wash" of various stomp boxes and it is important to not drown out this subtle backdrop by overplaying.

Crank it up!

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If you happen to be the kind of fan that wants to know everything, "Spiderlogic" was the first jam we ever recorded.

Although almost 15 years and a ton of new recording gear separate these songs from the 2008 recordings, you can clearly hear and feel the vibe that me, Earl and Clay have when we play together.

Listening to these songs is like hopping into a parallel universe machine; the past and the future are barely distinguishable.

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This collection of jams was recorded in front of our drummer Earl's loud and crazy Uncle Darrell. That's him talking at the end of "Next Big Thing."

I don't know if having an audience contributed to the aggressive tone of so many of these songs or not, but I think it's a distinct possibility.

Although the recording lacks the sonic refinement that we were able to achieve in 2008, it has all of the testosterone.

As usual, we run pole-to-pole; songs like "Disturbing Behavior," "Scrape" and "Big Blue Sausage" make me want to break things while songs like "Double XX" and "Dubby Styley" gently talk me down off the ledge.

Who says there's no balance or logic in the universe?

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2005 was one of the first years that we had access to 8 input tracks. While not a perfect scenario, it did help us gain a level of audio integrity.

"Trower" features some of Clay's classic killer guitar tone. It's hard to believe that all of that sound comes out of a little 1x12 cabinet!

"Slow and Spacey" is a little bluesy at the start but builds to an incredible shred-fest before it's done. Definitely worth the wait.

If you're into ominous, palm sweating music then you need to check out "Really Trippy." Even though we're playing through little combo amps, the sound is really broad and insistent. It feels a lot heavier than it looks.

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2002 was a year unlike all others. We had less time to play and an even worse place to do it.

We opted to try 2 Radio Shack PZM mics laid between the 3 of us on my living room floor and ran them straight into the soundcard of my computer.

From there, I sliced and diced the rude bits we'd recorded and assembled them into new forms.

While not strictly improvisational any longer, the result is pretty satisfying.




2007 was one of those years that left us a little disappointed.

Since we only get one chance to record each year, a lot rides on getting good performances during that fleeting opportunity.

These 5 tracks represent the good stuff that came out that day. Most of the rest of what we recorded is lying around somewhere on a cutting room floor in the sky.

Be that as it may, there is pretty sick playing on display here. Check out the blistering guitar tones and Tool-esque drumming on "Voodoo" or some of the scary guitar synth that erupts in "Facemelter."

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Other bands to check out:

Crash the Car | The Blankies | 21 Reasons | Teacher and the Rockbots | Whet | Idxplosion | Blame the Dog | Go'Rilla Dance Club

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