The yummy milk at the bottom of the cereal bowl
If there is sometimes stoic desperation in joyous music, then the 15-year old Apples in Stereo must be monks by now. Despite chief Apple Robert Schneider’s hardwired joy and hyperproductivity, there’s an aesthetic asceticism revealed on new B-sides collection Electronic Projects For Musicians. Unsurprisingly, most of the music is smile-inducing. But honed to sugar-pop points—like 2002’s Japan-only “Other” and last year’s Colbert tribute “Stephen, Stephen”—it also supports Schneider’s titular science obsession, sounding practically kit-assembled. Screwed together with fuzz-tone bridges, rhymes scan monosyllabic even when they’re not, and are resolutely and nostalgically pre-postmodern in their references. “We’re the Apples in Ster-e-oo/You hear our records on the rad-i-oo,” they sing on the “Apples Theme Song,” which might be a fact in the bright, bright world they’re invoking, even if it isn’t literally true. “We want to make you feel alright,” Schneider adds, and he probably means it.