the apples in stereo

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Albums I Enjoyed in 2007 — 4

The Apples In Stereo
New Magnetic Wonder
Simian/Yep Roc/Elephant Six

I can’t say as I ever heard these guys before this year, and reading their wiki I get the Credibility Guilt vibe, since Neutral Milk Hotel is name-dropped and so is Elijah Wood. Well, I never claimed to be on the cusp of the leading edge, except now I am, so ha ha. Truly “indie” rock would be uncategorizable; so it is with the Apples in Stereo. Pop + math rock + 60s harmony + smart lyrics + mellotron = better music than the average bear can make. And did I say how math rock leaves me cold? I take it all back, because I’m in love with this theorem.

I’ve noticed a resurgence in the 60s trend (cf “Octopus”), but even in the places where Schneider and co. take sidesteps into Beatletopia (i.e. on “Energy,” it’s gonna be all right, many a time, or the entirety of “The Sun Is Out”), it’s not invasive. It just feels like an extension of that organic sound that I grew up on, and maybe that’s part of why I liked it so much. Like Schneider himself says in an interview at Harmonium, “My ear craves stuff that sounds like the Beatles or that sounds like the Kinks or something. And I can’t engineer outside of that. I don’t really want to. It’s kind of a specialty.” That type of music is so entwined in my own personal culture that the Apples become my personal comfort music. I eat it up; I can’t get enough.

But Schneider’s specialty is not just a mindless echo. It’s that 60s sound with extras, updated for the new century and electronically altered just a tidge. And then they surprise you with little inserts like “Droplets,” which plinks asymmetrically for thirteen seconds and then is gone. The Non-Pythagorean Compositions, which are totally mathy and so therefore I did not understand them, reject the musical scale as we know it! Or something! I can’t claim to know what that’s about; I majored in poetry. I do know that I enjoy the sound very much; and after everything is said & done, that’s what makes my top list. That’s what will be on my playlist year after year; that’s what will make this album fondly remembered in my personal pantheon.


Sugar Free Mix

This post is for friend and reader J.M., who I admire very much. Lately he has faced a few personal challenges, which I shall not enumerate even in this post-privacy age, and he has faced them with bravery and with fortitude. He has conquered a couple of fears that even I squirm in my chair to think of. I salute you, James! I salute you with a mix containing a hefty dose of Canadians :D Hope you enjoy it.

This is a mix, for reals, so it’s set up a certain way & meant to be played in order. However, I know that this here digital age has made mixes so passé; therefore I also include single links.

Sugar Free Mix
for J.M. [08.21.07]

[ed note – tracks removed. contact me for a copy of single tracks (max of 3 pls)]

01 Play Tough – The Apples In Stereo
02 Shaking Through – REM
03 Know How (ft Feist) – Kings Of Convenience
04 Ode To Serotonin – Nightmare Of You
05 Life Effect – Stars
06 If I Should Explode – Machines Of Loving Grace
07 Van Helsing Boom Box – Man Man
08 The Needle Has Landed – Neko Case
09 Doing the Unstuck (Live, London, 92) – The Cure
10 Ultimate – Gogol Bordello

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