The Apples in Stereo, who co-founded the famed Elephant 6 Collective (E6), have a new Limited Edition 3x7” Vinyl Box Set of their compilation album Science Faire out today. It’s been 20 years since the collection of EPs, singles, and tracks from the indie pop group were originally released between 1993 and 1995, recorded reel-to-reel at the E6 Recording Co.
“I knew [The Apples in stereo] was good, but I didn’t know the whole world was going to flip out over it,” said longtime Apples bassist Eric Allen.
After two decades, Science Faire has become representative of “the good ol’ days." As Allen told us, “[Listening to Science Faire] really sparks how excited I was because The Apples were my favorite local band and I liked them as people quite a lot before I even started playing with them. Science Faire just reminds me of the pure joy I got from seeing them and knowing them.”
It was the height of the grunge era; back then the Denver band were just “The Apples”, a name inspired by the 1967 Pink Floyd song “Apples and Oranges.” Allen knew The Apples’ original drummer Hilarie Sidney from working at Wax Trax Records on Capitol Hill.
“When The Apples’ first 7 inch came out, I went to the record release show and just thought it was amazing,” said Allen. “It was so different than anything that was going on; to have something that was so poppy and kind of fast…”
Allen, who started out on guitar with a few hardcore bands, joined The Apples in 1995 after original bassist Jim McIntyre left and Elephant 6er Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel) was filling in on bass. As Allen says, “Everybody plays guitar and every band needs a bass player.” So Allen picked up the bass and signed on after most of the tracks from Science Faire were recorded. “When all of those singles- the stuff that’s on Science Faire- was coming out, those were all the songs that I learned and toured.” he said, “Obviously I didn’t play on the records but I pushed those records; I toured those records.”
At the same time The Apples were first starting out, founding members Robert Schneider (vocalist/lead guitarist/producer), McIntyre, and Sidney were collaborating with Schneider’s childhood friend Mangum, Will Cullen Hart, and the late Bill Doss (The Olivia Tremor Control). That’s how the Elephant 6 Collective came about, paving the way for bands to exist like The Olivia Tremor Control (then known as Synthetic Flying Machine), Neutral Milk Hotel, Elf Power, Dressy Bessy, of Montreal, and of course The Apples in stereo.
The Apples in stereo 7" EPs (Tidal Wave and Hypnotic Suggestion), and the singles collection 7" Time For Bed with new original artwork. Together, these comprise the new Science Faire boxed set.
A few months after joining The Apples in stereo, Allen got a call from Schneider saying that the band was being asked to open for The Flaming Lips. That was the tour that took The Apples in stereo out of Denver to tour Science Faire, and eventually their later releases.
“Those songs really were kind of the bedrock of our shows for many, many years,” Allen said, adding, “And some of those songs have never left. I mean that’s not to say that we play them at every show or anything like that, but songs like “Tidal Wave” or “Turn Coat Indian” or “Not the Same,” we still play them.”
These tracks are all on the new limited edition Science Faire triple 7" vinyl box set via Chunklet Industries, and Allen’s teasing a more cohesive sound than the record release from ’96:
“Before, Science Faire [were] all these different 7 inch [selections] that came out on all different pressings at different times, and now it’s all been kind of streamlined through one pressing plant.” Allen explained. “It probably does sound a little bit more like there’s more continuity to it than if you just had all of your original 7 inches.”
Taken from the original masters, the limited edition Science Faire boxed set takes on a wider, more cohesive scope. Allen says that when Henry Owens with Chunklet redid the record, he did it at 33 rpms rather than the initial 45 rpms, making the original recordings not only sound deeper, but more bass heavy, an element of the new limited release that Allen particularly digs.
The Apples in stereo have largely been on hiatus since the death of keyboardist Bill Doss in 2012. Lead singer/guitarist/producer Schneider has been a doctoral student at Emory University in Georgia for several years. And today, Allen and guitarist John Hill are the only members still kicking it in Denver.
So under that context, Allen said that listening to Science Faire makes him reminiscent, which isn’t something he goes out of his way to do often.
“They’re still my favorite people in the world. The Apples [in stereo] is still my favorite band, but when you’re in it, you don’t have that sort of specialness you have when you’re removed.” he smiled.
It’s unclear whether The Apples in stereo will record new music in the future. But for longtime listeners, the new Science Faire triple record will be a remedy. Get the new special edition compilation of Science Faire here. Only 500 total have been pressed, and all of the clear/colored vinyl packages have already sold out in pre-sale, so the remaining limiteds are expected to go quickly, and may even be gone by the time you're done reading this...
All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.