CD Review of Electronic Projects for Musicians by The Apples in Stereo
Recommended if you like
The New Pornographers,
Animal Collective,
Of Montreal
Yep Roc
The Apples in Stereo:
Electronic Projects
for Musicians

Reviewed by Jim Washington


t’s tough to be an outtake album.

All the other albums get the really good songs, and you’re stuck with castoffs -- the B-sides, the rarities, the singles only released in Japan, basically whatever the band didn’t think was good enough to release properly in the first place. So how did The Apples in Stereo make this one sound so cool?

I’ve always thought of the Apples as one of those bands that records like crazy, maybe indiscriminately. This isn’t really borne out by the facts -- they’ve put out six studio albums and a live album since 1995, and one other collection of castoffs called Science Faire -- but their stuff does tend to show up in odd places, such as the animated “Powerpuff Girls” show on Cartoon Network and on the “The Colbert Report.” (Their Powerpuff girl song, “Signal in the Sky (Let‘s Go),” is sadly not included here. “Stephen Stephen,” their goofy ode to Colbert, sadly is. Okay, it’s not that bad, but it is really, really goofy.) 

Electronic Projects for Musicians is a solid collection, although no doubt fans looking to show off the band would point a newcomer to albums Fun Trick Noisemaker, Her Wallpaper Reverie, or 2007’s New Magnetic Wonder. Still, this shows off the band’s brand of fuzzy, happy indie pop nicely. 

The standout tracks here include a gem left off the first album called “Shine (In Your Mind),” “Oasis,” which was a bonus track on a Japanese edition of Discovery of a World Inside the Moone and the jaunty, fuzzed-out “Man You Gotta Get Up.”

The inclusion of “The Apples Theme Song” almost makes up for the loss of the Powerpuff Girls tune. Recorded for the band’s website on what sounds like children’s toys, it’s a breezy statement of purpose that says “We are The Apples in Stereo / You hear our records on the radio / We want to make you feel all right / We want to make you see the light.”

Another previously unreleased song here is the album ender “Dreams,” a lovely little confection from the sessions for the Tone Soul Revolution album. There are several tracks that make it easy to hear why the band wasn’t in a rush to get them out to the public, but overall, Electronic Projects for Musicians is an utter charmer, and begs the listener to go back and check out the real albums.

Okay, so maybe it’s not so bad being an outtake album after all.

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