Veteran 90s indie pop powerhouse Apples in Stereo took to the stage last night at Maxwell's to bring a little quirky feeling back to the music scene. They come with new material off of New Magnetic Wonder, their first album in five years. Thanks to a shout-out from Stephen Colbert and a record deal with Elijah Wood, the Apples are back in business.
I hesitate calling Apples (and their touring partner, Aqueduct) Geek Rock. It's a term of endearment, not a put down. Along with other 90s indie pop bands Fountains of Wayne and Archers of Loaf, they showed up Weezer when it comes to creating non-mainstream rock music made by normal looking guys. In any event, the band is back in all their proper pop-rock glory.
Their live set is a loose affair with plenty of improvised jams in between songs to keep the energy going, similar to how the new album has snippets of instruments between each song. I've never seen them live before and knew a few cuts from previous albums, but wanted to see them now because I knew they put on an impressive show. Bob Schneider is the main dude behind the band, and he writes a lot of catchy, groovy and mature pop songs. It was pretty easy to like tonight's show, the music is unfussy and an easy fit into the small confines of Maxwell's.
It was a reunion of sorts tonight, as original guitarist Chris Parfitt joined them for some early Apples songs.
Aqueduct out of Seattle is okay in my book. They are on Barsuk, one of best indie labels out there. Similar in style as Apples in Stereo, David Terry, the man who is Aqueduct, is big burly fun guy. He looks like an secondary character in a Kevin Smith film. Similar in sound and feel to Magic Numbers and Shins mixed with those echoing vocals you'd find on Jim James's work, the guy seems like the easiest going one-man band from the Pacific Northwest.