The GOLDEN APPLES – ” Golden Apples “

Posted: March 27, 2022 in MUSIC

It’s been just under a year since Russell Edling dropped his debut album as Golden Apples, and it seems that over this brief period of time the Philadelphia-based songwriter’s bedroom-set lo-fi compositions have blossomed into a full-band affair. “High School,” the first taste of Golden Apples’ newly revealed self-titled second full-length, sees the outfit expanded into a five-piece with the hazy, nostalgic sounds of “Shadowland” clinging to a handful of specific subgenres popular in the late-’80s and early-’90s like jangle pop, grunge, and dream pop. Which feels apt when you consider the track’s lyrical content. 

Golden Apples possess the rare ability to make music that’s at once familiar and elusive, instantly satisfying and also undeniably unique. On their self-titled sophomore album, the Philadelphia-based band have seamlessly combined the off-kilter catchiness of ‘90s college rock with dashes of dreamy shoegaze, scrappy bedroom pop, homespun psychedelia, and more.

The result is a vibrant and eclectic sound that works in tandem with Edling’s agile lyrics, and an album that aims to capture the endless highs and lows of life without sanding down the complexities and contradictions–all done with humour, humanity, and most of all, hooks. Led by songwriter Russell Edling, Golden Apples began as something more akin to a solo endeavour. The project started as his previous group, Cherry, was ending, and the pandemic was beginning. Edling hunkered down in relative solitude outside of Philadelphia and made Golden Apples’ 2021 debut LP, “Shadowland“, but it wasn’t long after that he began writing again. This time, however, he sought a very different creative process. “With the last record, I felt like everything was under the microscope of my vision and my abilities,” he explains. “This time I wanted the opposite, I wanted to go to a studio with musicians I trusted and just knock it out.” Edling recruited an all-star line-up of Philadelphia’s best players–including drummer Pat Conaboy (Kite Party, Sun Organ, Spirit of the Beehive), bassist Tim Jordan (Kite Party, Sun Organ, Lowercase Roses), guitarist/vocalist Mimi Gallagher (Nona, Eight, Cave People), and guitarist Matt Scheuermann (Lowercase Roses)–and convened for two weeks at The Bunk recording studio with engineer/multi-instrumentalist Matt Schimelfenig (Gladie, Sun Organ, Three Man Cannon). “One of the nice things about Philly is that the music community is so intermingled and everyone collaborates,” says Edling (also of Kite Party, Lowercase Roses, and Cave People). “I’ve always been inspired by bands that felt like they were part of a creative network of people. I grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania and we didn’t have a lot of that, so finding it always felt important to me.” That cooperative spirit is palpable on Golden Apples, throughout which a crackling spontaneity accents Edling’s tightly written guitar pop. “I didn’t have the ability to be so precious about every little moment and I think that’s central to how it sounds,” says Edling. “I wanted to step away from the microscope.” There’s an organic collision of warmth and noise across the album’s ten song, 28-minute runtime: gentle acoustic guitar meets ripples of feedback and ‘90s alternative bombast intersects with jangle pop sweetness, all working together to recall everything from Yo La Tengo’s wide-ranging-yet-intimate indie to The Velvet Underground’s fractured version of elemental rock and roll songwriting. Opener “Good Times” begins as a feel-good sing along before devolving into a blown-out keyboard drone, immediately setting the album’s musical and lyrical tone. “I think I’m always writing about the existential trials of coexisting with depression,” Edling explains. “But with every record I make, I take a different stance with that relationship. This is the first time I’ve ever confronted that batch of feelings with some light-heartedness or a joke in my pocket. It’s sort of like ‘I see you, but I’m not afraid of you anymore.’” It’s a sentiment best encapsulated by “Let Me Do My Thing,” an album standout with a laid back mood and a highly memorable chorus. “I wrote that song after having a depressive episode,” says Edling.

“The whole idea was ‘Please understand that this is something I’m really feeling,’ but also to look at how silly the things that take me there can be. Sometimes it takes a joke to help me snap out of it.” Elsewhere on songs like the dreamily rocking “High School” and the psych-tinged “Grass,” Edling takes on the complexities of emotional evolution and even the Sisyphean absurdity of life itself, and then compacts them into surprisingly affirming songs that stick around long after their concise runtimes.

It felt like a loss, watching people and scenery disappear in a peripheral blur. I tried to reanimate that moment with this song because it felt formative and I believe it marked the beginning of my experience with hypersensitivity and existential dread.”

“High School” is the first single from upcoming album “Golden Apples”

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