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A Hiding Smile 7"
Goodness gracious me. For a moment it was as if the last fifteen years hadn't happened, perhaps in some regards no bad thing. Home recorded on a 4-track and released on vinyl, I so wanted this to be good - and guess what? It's really, really lovely. Wiser owls than me offer comparisons with Felt and the Sarah label and I'd suggest the Pastels when they were good. Whatever, I'm just happy giving it another spin and being transported to seemingly simpler and more innocent summers.
- Laurence, Robots And Electronic Brains
Did you know that there's a fledgling indie-pop scene in the Philippines? Brothers Ryan and Dale Marquez, originally from Manila but now based out of California, offer up a quintessential dose of mid-fi pop on their first 7”, following some comp appearances and cassettes. From the beautifully hazy cover image, to the effortlessly breezy songs within, this single would have fit perfectly on Sarah Records. Title track "A Hiding Smile" is prime jangle; the acoustic guitar on "Bright City Lights" can only be called pretty; and "Midnight Stars And Kisses", with its lazy bass groove, recalls The Lucksmiths on Naturaliste. A perfect single!
- Nadav Carmel, Erasing Clouds
Semi-lo-fi bedroom pop from the Philippines. This is lovely, innocent, breezy jangly music, which carries the listener to a childhood summer, eating a popsicle in the sun. C86-esque, calling to mind not only the bands from that compilation, but also bands such as Felt and pretty much any of the Sarah Records catalogue.
- Dave, Sleepy Records
Jag älskar skev pop, när man liksom är rädd för att någonting kommer gå sönder i musiken. Som om musikerna inte ska klara av att fullfölja hela låten utan att allt bara kommer att brista. En nervös nerv som på nåt sätt smittar av sig på lyssnaren.
Det kanske låter jobbigt, och om själva musiken egentligen skulle vara så bra så är det säkert jobbigt också. Men inte den här gången, inte när det gäller Apple Orchard!
Ryan och Dale Marquez som utgör apple orchard gör finstämnd och ljuvlig pop i samma anda som brighter och the field mice och med precis den skevhet som jag beskrev ovan.
I midnight stars and kisses är det som om desperationen når helt nya dimensioner och får inte bara rösten att darra utan gör så att själva sångmicken distar sig. Själv sitter jagpå sängen och bara ryser. Det är så jävla vackert!
Det enda problemet med den här sjuan är att den är alldeles för kort (tre låtar).
Men just det kan jag se det positivt istället, jag ser fram emot att få höra mycket mer av apple orchard i framtiden.
- Tattoos For The Unloved ( Google Translate this )
Sensitive young people make wistful 4 track pop recordings (that's 4 track cassette: none of yer digital here) with a jangle, a twangle and titles like "Midnight Stars And Kisses". Influences cited include Sweet William, The Field Mice, Trashcan Sinatras... Now I haven't seen their name mentioned in dispatches since - uh - before Kitchener grew a moustache! If you long for those days of heady innocence and, well, in two words, Sarah Records, this should be on your 'must have' list.
- JC, Boa Melody Bar
Mystery band on Humblebee Records, could be Swedish, they sound a little Swedish. But could be British, reminds me a little of Felt; deeper, lusher but Felt nonetheless. The band is Apple Orchard, the release is a 7" from Humblebee Records. Here's the leadoff, title track. You'll be able to buy it here as soon as it's back from the plant. Wow!
- Songs: Illinois
Half-Steps Toward Bright Skies CD
I've been a fan of the Marquez brothers' work for a few years now (in Apple Orchard, Sodajerk, Carnival Park and other fine Filipino pop bands), and this new full length album from them is their most ambitious release yet! They still play bedroom pop, but thanks to improved technology and computer programs, the recording quality here is way better than anything else they've done in the past, with real synths and programming replacing the old casiotone and cassette 4-track. Additionally, it seems as if they paid a bit more attention to detail, as this record lacks any hint of amateurism found on any of their early works (where missed notes or out of tune guitars/vocals were usually left intact). The band's style hasn't changed all that much, so those two points elevate their sound from wistful bedroom pop to something far more elegant and refined, coming even closer to the works of Trembling Blue Stars, Brighter and Sweet William, rather than simply sounding somewhat reminiscent of them. The result is a collection of twelve gentle and somber songs that actually sound as good as they really are...
- Chris McFarlane, Indiepages
Apple Orchard is the Marquez brothers, Ryan and Dale. They hail from the San Francisco area and were (and still might be) fixture on the indiepop list and have been on some others bands as well (Sodajerk, Carnival Park, etc.). It's obvious from listening to Half-Steps Toward Bright Skies that both Field Mice and Trembling Blue Stars are big influences (Brighter, too). Aside from a 7" a year or so ago, I had not heard their stuff but this is really impressive. The first tune, "Unfazed" sounds a lot like something off of Trembling Blue Stars' debut, Her Handwriting but from there, the band seems to find its own voice bit on tunes like the icy "Harsh", the gentle "The Comforts Of Strangers" and the melodic title track (not that I mind when they sound like TBS). This is a perfect record to put on when you're lazing around on a Sunday afternoon. Having this and a nice, comfortable couch is really all you need for the total relaxation.
- Tim Hinely, Dagger
Wow what a magnificent album of hushed epic proportions. I have waited for this album for quite some time and am quite ecstatic to finally be enveloped by it's beautiful dreamy pop melodies, awash with familiar sounds, and a perfect soundtrack for the aimless wanderer.
A few hints at it's brilliance were found in their Humblebee 7" and their Cloudberry 3" CD, the C06 contribution, and their Best Kept Secret releases (keep in mind that Ryan and Dale Marquez are also involved with quite a number of other bands - all very impressive in their own right and cover a variety of styles from Shoegaze, Indiepop, 60's influenced Doo-wop, etc.) but this is a more complete painting and really allows the listener to get lost in the layers, the grooves and the reverb and settle into a wonderful daydream as the sun setting creates the most beautiful sunset as the backdrop. To paraphrase a favourite song of mine - this is music to sit on a park bench in the autumn holding the hand of the one you love, taking in the vibrant colours, and pondering if it can get any better than this (of course you are also listening to Apple Orchard on a shared portable music player). This has the look, the feel and the sound of a record that will remain in your heart and linger through the years with a timeless appeal.
They wear their hearts and influences on their sleeves, but these sleeves are on a fabulous shirt that you will want to wear every day. Inspired by The Trembling Blue Stars, The Sugargliders, Brighter and the Sarah Records compilations - well you couldn't ask for any better influences as any indiepop fan would be only too happy to tell you. You could probably add The Orchids, the quieter moments of One Thousand Violins, Sweet Trip and some Slowdive thrown in the mix and you have a mighty fine recipe for a wonderfully relaxing, blissed out haze, without any additives. If you are finding it a bit too laid back, chances are you are listening to it at an inappropriate time and you are not in the right frame of mind - this is not a nightclub record unless a slow dance in the arms of your loved one is your idea of a good time and better suits a fine drink by the fire on a cold evening or relaxing in the twilight as you drift away into a sweet sleep.
Just don't stay asleep too long, but keep an eye on the cool new record label that Ryan and Dale have started, Haymarket Recordings as there are lot more exciting recordings planned which you will not want to miss. They will also have a quest appearance on tribute compilation coming out soon, but more about that later, as I don't want to give it all away. Very well done!
- Wally Salem, The Beautiful Music
Is what sparked Apple Orchard, if I've understood it correctly. Probably the only band ever to name themselves after a Bouquet song. They've never sounded very summery though, despite living in sunny California. And if so it's bound to be a summer shut in a small bedsit, which is where Ryan and Dale recorded their music. The lo-fi character has always shaped their sound.
But now, when I put on their first longplayer Half-Steps Toward Bright Skies (that should have come out over a year ago if you ask me) it's hardly the same band, or rather it is a band for the first time. Apple Orchard have never been brilliant musicians or recording artists, but it was the little peculiarities that made me love them. There's nothing askew about this album though, and don't get me wrong, this is of course a good thing. And the fact that when Ryan starts singing on opening track "Unfazed" I thought it sounded exactly like Trembling Blue Stars will probably make them proud. Apple Orchard aren't trying to be original, of course they want to sound like their favourite bands - we all do - but this is about Ryan's songs - and not everyone writes them quite like he does.
They've really developed the soundscapes. Just waiting around, trying to get the album released, probably left them plenty of time to work on the finish, the mixing and the mastering. It definitely sounds like a record that's been fussed over at least. Some of these songs have appeared elsewhere before, in other guises. I gave up trying to track down all the songs that have, because of the wealth of Apple Orchard material, but at least I think I've heard "Unfazed", "I Can't Feel Sorry" and "The Saddest, Perfect Ending" before. And of course "Midnight Stars and Kisses" is a re-recording of the b-side from their first single - the brilliant (and still available) "A Hiding Smile".
The new sound is also an effect of more prominent keyboards on most songs, which give the whole record a languid, warm feel not dissimilar to that on California Snow Story's record from last year. And the odd guitar jangle here and there is always appreciated, especially now that you can actually hear that Ryan owns a Rickenbacker! These new horizons of course leave me wanting to hear more of those old songs in high fidelity... But the fact that the album is made up mostly of new songs is a sign of integrity more than anything. Apple Orchard had some great upbeat tunes, like my old favourites "Don't Pretend" and "Bed & Breakfast"! Here, mid-tempo is the most we're treated to and my favourite on the record is "Dreaming (As the Summer Fades)".
- Krister Bladh, Heaven Is Above Your Head
Like the Wake and the Field Mice, it's hazy music that comforts on overcast days. Title subtly spot-on, as a matter of fact. I'll probably have more to say in a bit, but I only got this yesterday.
- Alexander Bailey, Radio Khartoum via the indiepop-list
Apple Orchard released Half-Steps Toward Bright Skies on cd earlier this year. It's their first full-length, following an impeccable series of 7", cassette and compilation releases on Popgun, Humblebee, Cloudberry and Best Kept Secret among others. It's a very beautiful and gentle record, it's impossible to listen without falling into a dream state, with a faraway look in your eyes, you'll drift somewhere peaceful inside and you won't want to come back. I wonder if this record could help babies fall asleep? Stated influences The Field Mice and Brighter are recognisable particularly in Ryan Marquez's vocal delivery.
- Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams
Despite the layered instrumentation and the impressively tight playing, the songs in Apple Orchard's first record remain spacious, blithe, and consistent in its painfully slow cadence. If FHM didn't know better, we'd think the California-based Filipino duo were deprived of happiness and sunshine - yes, it's that sad a record. It may as well be the sonic equivalent of break-up hugs. It's solid. (4 stars)
- FHM Philippines
Verweise auf die band Apple Orchard gab es im klienicum bereits. U.A. als wir Humblebee Recordings vorstellten, bei denen die jungs aus Richmond eine single veröffentlicht hatten. Außerdem brachten sie eine 3er auf Cloudberry heraus, so dass sie immer wieder ins blickfeld rücken mussten. Für eine größere bestandsaufnahme hat das alles noch nicht gereicht. Nun kommen sie aber erwachsen daher. Denn mit 'Half-Steps Toward Bright Skies' erscheint ihr erstes full length auf Haymarket Recordings. Zu kaufen bekommt man das album übrigens ganz einfach bei Vollwert Records.
Träumerische musik erwartet den Apple Orchard kunden. Melancholie, auf silbernen tabletts dargeboten, die sich, will man sie sich greifen und anteil haben, sodann in luft auflöst und einen als trugbild schwindend verwirrt zurücklässt. Doch immer wieder locken verzückende, helle klare töne und machen neugierig. Eine blinkende fata morgana. Die brüder ryan und Dale Marquez haben gut zwei jahre an ihrem debut gebastelt und fertigten zwölf songs, die in ihrer lieblichkeit zeitlos sind. Getragen werden sie von schwelgerischen keyboard sounds, depressiv angeschlagenen gitarren und dem zurückgenommenen gesangsbild.
Der sound kommt nicht von ungefähr. Ryan begann zunächst solo zu musizieren, vor allem inspiriert durch Sarah Records compilation. später ging ihm sein bruder zur hand, der bereits in diversen indiekapellen talent und durchhaltevermögen erprobte. Letzteres werden beide brauchen."
- Das Klienicum ( Google Translate this )
Part of the recent Filipino pop explosion of the past couple years, comes the debut release from this bedroom pop band (after a handful of comp appearances). Sounding like a mix of Aerospace and Sweet William, Apple Orchard consists of Ryan and Dale Marquez on guitar, bass and drum machine (as well as the occasional Casio), and this tape has six perfect little summery pop songs, including a cover of the Groovy Little Numbers' "You Make My Head Explode"! Let's hope for more soon!
- Chris McFarlane, Indiepages
These suave sounds will make you think of gentle warm breezes and perfect weekends. Ryan and Dale bring us six wonderful tracks of pacific rim pop!
Well, I've known Dale and Ryan for quite some time. I first discovered this duo on Humblebee Recordings one fateful day in 2006. When I first heard "A Hiding Smile", I was pretty much in love with their music. I never did get my hands on their first tape, but the mp3s were great. With each new release by Apple Orchard it seems that their sound is changing into something even greater. Their beginning efforts were in the likes of St. Christopher, Sweet William, and The Field Mice to name a few. They had their drum machine beats, and jangly guitars. Then, when I listened to "Half-Steps Toward Bright Skies", I noticed there was a change. Apple Orchard moved away from their early beginnings of jangly guitars and hiss tape sound. They did some experimenting with sounds of The Radio Dept., and early shoegaze bands. It's weird, because this particular album of theirs really grew on me. As for their brand new Leafy Lanes EP, I think it is amazing. They became even louder, and I was hinting Teenage Fanclub, My Bloody Valentine, and early shoegaze. The opening track "Hit Or Miss" shows Apple Orchard's shoegaze roots. The guitars have become a bit louder, and one could compare it to The Jesus And Mary Chain. The second song "Fall Fast" is a really great track. The opening drum machine, and My Bloody Valentine-esque guitars and sound. It sent chills down my spine, and much like any other band that I enjoy, this duo had me craving more. The other tracks are a mix of their earlier jangle pop. Think of St. Christopher, Trembling Blue Stars, and The Field Mice. The fourth track "Near-Perfect", is a more jangly one, and it is a memory of their C-86 days. This track proves to show they haven't entirely strayed away from their jangly sound. This is a great EP, and I suggest to anyone purchase this EP before it is gone. It is a limited release, and it is to show what is yet to come from this great duo.
- Andrew Likes Pop
Hach, dass es so etwas heutzutage noch gibt - Apple Orchard, eine Band, der man ohne Weiteres abnehmen würde, dass sie ihre Platten auf dem Sarah Records-Label veröffentlicht haben – oder die verschollenen Zwillingsbrüder der Lucksmiths sind. Aber nein, das kalifornische Duo ist brandaktuell und hat gerade seine neue «The Leafy Lanes»-EP herausgebracht, auf der sie wieder den Twee- und Indiepop frönen, dass es eine Freude ist. Fein, gerade in diesen grauen herbstlichen Finsterzeiten.
What a surprise to listen to something like this nowadays! Apple Orchard is a band that allows you to think that they released their records on the legendary Label Sarah Records. They could also be the lost twin brothers of the Lucksmiths. But no! The Californian Duo is totally up to date and recently released their new EP "The Leafy Lanes" on which you can find joyful Twee- and Indie-Pop again. Very fine, especially in these gray autumn days of gloom.
- Coast Is Clear
Thanks to Daniel Leckert for the translation.
Apple Orchard are a Filipino indie pop band from San Francisco consisting of brothers Dale & Ryan Marquez. They have been releasing music since 2003 from early releases on cassette labels to their self released debut album last year.
On the Leafy Lanes EP, it’s clear that the band's sound is drenched in the history of Sarah Records, Creation and Matinee Recordings. Opener "Hit Or Miss" could be The Field Mice whilst the EP’s best track "That Sleepy Side Of Town" reverberates to the sound of The Loft and Pete Astor. That’s not to say the band don’t have any ideas of their own and on "Near Perfect" and "Because The Waters Are Calm", they mix a luscious keyboard sound with jangling guitars to good effect thus progressing further than their initial influences rather than being constrained by them. A lovely little EP.
The Leafy Lanes EP is out now on the bands own Haymarket Records imprint. Order from here. It’s limited to a 100 copies.
-Tom Bartlett, Indie-MP3 Records
Apple Orchard's new, self-released Leafy Lanes EP showed up on my doorstep about two weeks ago – just in time for fall. Despite the EP title's obvious seasonal suggestions, the music within more than drives home the EP's languid, seasonally-thematic overtones. Then, Apple Orchard's brand of indiepop has always been pretty appropriate for the year's colder days – you know, those days when a hot drink just won't do the trick, and what you really long for is the reliable comfort of a dreamy keyboard melody. Ryan and Dale have got them in spades, but on Leafy Lanes we also see the odd jangling lead ("That Sleepy Side Of Town") or slow-burning solo (their cover of Carnival Park's "Fall Fast"). I don't think I've listened to this EP even once past noon and I think that's just fine, and I think the boys of Apple Orchard could only agree. So, if you need a warm wake up call on these increasingly chilly autumn days, I'd recommend picking yourself up a copy of Leafy Lanes.
- Matt, Skatterbrain!
Yeah, indiepop, right - it's all fey pricks with Sarah Records badges and Hello Kitty slides, innit? Yeah. Twee fuckers. Nonsense, says I! It's a massive, fat fact that not many of the current crop of indiepop darlings sound anything like the stuff that Sarah Records used to put out (I'm ready to be shot down on this one, of course). But Apple Orchard do, and they do it ever so nicely.
On "Hit Or Miss" they sound like Brighter, and there's no-one around at the moment who can sound like Brighter quite as nicely. On "Fall Fast", they sound like Trembling Blue Stars, with added synth. Tick those boxes.
But don't worry - Apple Orchard aren't some kind of tribute act. "That Sleepy Side Of Town" is upbeat, perky, and almost groovy. And sort of indiepopdance song that you could only just shimmy along to, of course, but it top-tapping all the same.
We revert to type with "Near Perfect", but that's okay, because in the absence of Harper Lee, I need some lush introspection every now and again.
That Apple Orchard carry on letting go of these little pop gems after the best part of a decade is a wonderful thing, and if you'd like to share this particular one, you best hurry up, because there are only 100 of them to order.
- Sam, A Layer Of Chips
Leafing Through Memories...
These days you have to learn to appreciate a lovingly packaged cdr. Such as the new ep from Apple Orchard! The sparkle of the clear plastic sleeve immediately promised musical delights and as I turned it upside-down a lightscribed disc fell out. I immediately placed it on the cd tray and pressed close then play. Leafy Lanes contains four new songs and the much older "Near-Perfect". All of them quite similar to the sound on last year's Half-Steps Toward Bright Skies: polished, with well-programmed drums, woozy keyboards, languid vocals and the occasional burst of guitars. It's the little things that make this ep so great. There's a cover of Carnival Park's (one of the best Filipino bands!) "Fall Fast" which I am sure I've heard before but at the moment I can't remember what compilation it is on. My favourite track is the upbeat jangler "That Sleepy Side of Town", but I'm not going to share that since you can already stream it from you-know-where.
Instead, here is another cover. As we all know The Lucksmiths have now split up (they just did their last gig, down in Melbourne), and of course I had the honour of supporting them on their last two European shows, which now seems slightly unreal, but anyway, this is also a tribute to them. Apple Orchard have recorded a fantastic cover of one of the Luckies' best tunes "The Great Dividing Range", and I would also like to recommend the compilation it is from. Music to Hold Hands to is a Filipino tribute cd to the band that you can (and should) download for free here. Apple Orchard is a band that have shared plenty of music online anyway, and you can still find some treats on their site. I'm going to check out that Galaxie 500 cover myself!
- Krister Bladh, Heaven Is Above Your Head
Paris Was A Daydream
And just in case you were wondering about Ryan Marquez's other band, Apple Orchard. Essentially a stripped down affair, Apple Orchard are duo Ryan and Dale and this slender release features seven home recordings of succulent bitter sweet acoustic pop that to these ears sounds not unlike a chirpier version of the Red House Painters. Obviously the work of people whose youthful nights were spent falling in love and cataloguing various Sarah label related records while scanning the airwaves hoping to hear the latest C-86 hopefuls being played by John Peel. Compared to Sodajerk, Apple Orchard are a more intimate affair, slow unfurling dozing pop motifs with the merest of melancholic sheens from the opening "(When Everything Is) Safer", the duo slyly hold your emotions to ransom. On the casio tutored "Midnight Stars And Kisses", the racing heartbeat of the Lightning Seeds' "Pure" is slowed to the merest of murmurs but for us it's the trio of hand holding twee induced tracks awaiting on Side B that are the most likely to have you suffering from swooning episodes especially the playfully tranquil "Scenes From The Sky". A brief but beautiful release.
- Losing Today
Now that the Shmat has gotten his cassette player mojo back, courtesy of a electronics garage sale extravanganza, it's time for him to return once again to the land of li'l tapes. Here's a goodie from Best Kept Secret. Brothers Ryan and Dale Marquez play mellow, Sarah Records-esque pop in their little bedroom project entitled Apple Orchard. The Shmat was extremely gladdened to hear dreamy sweet sounds from "(When Everything Is) Safer" and "Don't Pretend", the former which sounds a bit like Trembling Blue Stars and the latter like Spent mixed with Yum Yum. Occasional casio keyboard lines spice up the mix on this 7-song tape, Paris Was A Daydream. The Shmat's favorite track of the tape was the delicate and engaging "Scenes From The Sky" which skips along pensively until ramping up a bit near the end. The grand tradition of slowcore bedroom pop remains alive and well with this duo from the Philippines.
Apple orchard è il bedroom pop solo-project dei fratelli Marquez, una collezione di brani intimi per quattro piste, erratici e demotivati quanto basta per colpire al cuore adepti, inseguitori romantici d'ogni età, e fatalmente, sedurre. Preferibilmente, chi vive del suono, nel suono, Sarah Records.
Canzoncine deliziose, sogni armonici ad occhi aperti. Flebili, barbituriche e insinuanti intuizioni melodiche ('Don't Pretend', 'Midnight Stars And Kisses', 'A Glance At Sunday', 'It Took You By Surprise', 'Autumn Kiss'); basilarmente allestite con casiotone, chitarre, e voci sottotono. Atmosfere bizzarre, lanciate nel vuoto e scomparse, impigliate, compromesse nel ricordo (o era un abbaglio?).
Il legame tra i brani è forte, a ordire un quasi inconsapevole, passeggero concept. Rannicchiato in sè, indissolubile, troppo pigro o troppo timido per rivolgersi all'amante, tantomeno dedicarvisi con qualsivoglia fermezza.
- Fabio, Indiepop.it ( Google Translate this )
Now if you think I am getting a bit carried away, I just dare you to give the Apple Orchard - Turning Point (012) release a spin and if these three wonderful tracks don’t get you - check for a pulse. "Turning Point" is a dreamy classic with just the right sounds drifting in and out at just the right places - sleep doesn’t get much better than this in a month of Sundays - there is no ‘turning point’, no way back even if this breaks your heart. Now if that song wasn’t enough "Careful, Careless" continues this fine euphoric feeling. To top it off the final track is a wonderful cover of the Steinbecks classic "2-Star Motel" which interestingly was also covered by Buddha on The Moon on their twin split 7 ” on Drive-In Records many years back.
- Wally Salem, The Beautiful Music
The Camera In The Sky
A reference to the cover of Apple Orchard's first 7" - here's one way of looking at their new ep, Turning Point. It just just came out on Edition 59 which is an off-shoot of Vollwert Records in Germany, specialising in very limited editions of 3" CDrs. Perhaps you'd say 8€ is too much to pay for three songs? Well, there are only 59 copies of each release! At least two of the twelve releases are worth getting I would say, and one of them is Apple Orchard's follow-up to the brilliant debut album Half-Steps Toward Bright Skies. The first two songs are as beautiful as anything on that, emphasising the keyboards and percussion. My favourite is "Careful, Careless" which is one of their strongest songs so far, with a gorgeous melody and a bit of 12-string action. The last of the three tracks is a cover of The Sugargliders' "2-Star Motel", which you hear there - I won't upload anything as I did that when I wrote about the album earlier this year."
- Krister Bladh, Heaven Is Above Your Head
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