The Apples in Stereo

Olivia Short ‘17

I love happy little electric songs. I love synthesizers and those cool keyboard guitar things. I love space and robots and androgyny, and for all these reasons, I love the band The Apples In Stereo.

AIS makes cheery electronic music that’s pretty much the sonic equivalent of these Lisa Frank stickers:


It’s space-age, colorful, and youthful. They’re OK with dumb lyrics and simple melodies, and I appreciate that. It’s important for me to remember that art is allowed to be stupid. It can be a neon-pink mess or word vomit with no direction– it’s art! It’s doesn’t have to be perfect! Sit down. Relax. Drink some soda.

I discovered AIS when I was ten– my sister had just got a sick $20 MP3 player from Toys R Us for Christmas because 2009 was a wild year. Being the younger sibling, I was annoying and invasive and always pestered her to let me listen to it. Somehow she had loaded on the AIS album Electronic Projects for Musicians, and I spent days just listening to it on repeat.

What I loved so much was the ambiguity– the lead singer has an androgyny to his voice that I had never heard before. It was the first time I’d encountered voices hard to classify, and I loved them specifically for that.

As a kid I was very very torn between “girl stuff” and “boy stuff.” I didn’t understand why I had to chose between boy and girl as mutually exclusive labels. I didn’t know why wanting to play Crash Bandicoot was such an apparently radical political act.

AIS presented me with a kind of ambiguity that was comforting. I was fixated on that album because it taught me that a person can do things (Sing! Make art! Collect beanie babies!) as neither a boy nor girl. I found a grey, fuzzy, electric area that I love with all my heart. Been thrivin’ there since ‘09.

Also worth noting: AIS created a song and filmed a ridiculous music video for Cartoon Network’s first Power Puff Girls DVDs in the year 2000. Try not to love that. 

Here’s a Spotify playlist with some of my favorites!! If you like them, definitely check out Teenage Kitchen as well.

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