The Apples in Stereo is an indie pop band from Denver who have released seven proper albums since 1995. They were started by Robert Schneider, who was one of the four founders of the Elephant 6 Recording Company. The other three were Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel), and Bill Doss and Will Cullen Hart (both of Olivia Tremor Control). Of the bands from the Elephant Six Collective, they’ve had the most longevity.
Although I’m not familiar with their entire oeuvre, I know that The Apples in Stereo have changed their style and their lineup a few times over the years. They’ve been careful not to make the same record over and over. That’s the kind of thing that suits some bands just fine, but The Apples in Stereo don’t want to be that.
I first became familiar with The Apples when I got their Tone Soul Evolution (1997) record, which has a Beach Boys-meets-Elliot Smith type of vibe. I liked that record quite a bit, but I didn’t become a megafan. I let them fall off my radar for a few years (and a few albums) until Velocity of Sound clobbered me over the head with its fuzzy, buzzy, poppy Oakland/San Francisco style. In a lot of ways, this album reminds me quite a bit of Bay-area indie band Henry’s Dress, who was the prototypical Slumberland Records band in 1995.
Some critics reluctantly gave Velocity… a barely passing grade , saying that it was influenced too much by cartoons and other childish things. I’m pretty fond of it. It was a pretty radical departure, as they didn’t usually use affected guitars. Velocity… is full of them. I like the entire album, but today’s song is one of my favorite two songs (the other being “That’s Something I Do”).
“I Want” by The Apples in Stereo
There’s not one bit in particular that I like so much about this song. It’s the whole thing. It’s the fuzzy warmth, the gooey texture, the bounciness. It’s fun. It’s also one of just two songs on this record and one of just a few in the Apples catalog that’s written and sung by drummer Hilarie Sidney. She was, for a while, married to Robert Schneider, but that dissolved in 2004. She left the band in 2006. By then, she had become friends with a Norwegian man named Per Ole Bratset. Those two started a Postal Service-type musical partership via mail. Eventually, they formed a band called The High Water Marks, and they married each other.
Buy a digital copy of Velocity of Sound directly through the band’s web store.