(Elephant 6, 1993)
Ooh, a historically significant one: “Tidal Wave” is both the first Apples record (before “in Stereo” was tacked onto the name) and the first real-deal Elephant 6 Recording Company release. Listening to the disc over a decade later, it’s easy to hear the beginnings of the various branches of the E6 family in these songs – the lo-fi wackiness; the slightly-askew, Nuggets-y pop sensibilities; the oddball lyrical concerns; the homemade psychedelia… it’s all here in noisy, embryonic form. (The E6 band that followed most closely in this record’s footsteps was often the underrated Minders, though with far cleaner production.) Robert Schneider became a real studio trickster within a few years – and late-period Apples in Stereo albums suffocate under their overthunked-ness – so it’s fun to hear him just hit the “record” button on this one and let the band bash through these six ragged pieces of psych-tinged power-pop. Oh, and Apples do record geeks proud with a 16-page art/lyrics booklet and inserts up the wazoo: a poster, a sticker, a customer-satisfaction survey (!).