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The Apples in Stereo

Of the triumvirate of bands at the center of the psych-pop Elephant Six musical collective, The Apples in Stereo are perhaps the sweetest, goofiest, and most accessible. Less relentlessly experimental than the The Olivia Tremor Control and less alarmingly psychological than Neutral Milk Hotel, The Apples take the Anglo pop music of the '60s that provides inspiration for all the members of the E6 coterie and just have a good time with it. Their thick fuzzy pop is deliciously melodic, unabashedly fun-loving, and just edgy enough to keep things interesting. But edginess has never been the aim of this group of goofy lunatics; sunny, silly sweetness has, and if that's what you're looking for, The Apples most assuredly deliver.

The Beach Boys are the most obvious antecedent to the music made by Robert Schneider and his wacky team of nostalgists, though the The Beatles, Kinks, and The Zombies are also huge influences. Schneider, the native Louisianan who grew up in the same small town as Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Magnum and the Olivia Tremor Control's Bill Doss, is The Apples in Stereo's fearless leader. He assembled the band, originally just called The Apples, featuring guitarist Robert Parfitt, bassist Jim McIntyre, and drummer Hillarie Sidney, in Denver, where he and Magnum had moved after college. In 1995, the group released its debut full-length, Fun Trick Noisemaker. Three more LPs have since followed: Tone Soul Evolution ('97), and the increasingly conceptual, super-psychedelic Her Wallpaper Reverie ('99) and The Discovery of a World inside the Moone (2000), all on the New York-based spinART label.

The clever, bittersweet "The Benefits of Lying (With Your Friend)" was one of the more straightforward songs to appear on Her Wallpaper Reverie. It also showed up on Tape Op Magazine's Creative Music Recordings comp CD. The track appears courtesy of Tiny Telephone, John Vanderslice's San Francisco recording studio/MP3 hub.