Thursday November 1st: STEREOLAB
Stereolab were an English-French avant-pop band from London, formed in 1990.
One of the most distinctive alternative bands to emerge in the '90s, Stereolab either celebrated forms of music that were on the fringe of rock, or brought attention to strands of pop music -- bossa nova, lounge-pop, movie soundtracks -- that were traditionally banished from the rock lineage.
Led by Tim Gane and Laetitia Sadier, the group's trademark sound -- a droning, hypnotic rhythm track overlaid with melodic, mesmerizing singsong vocals, often sung in French and often promoting revolutionary, Marxist politics -- was deceptively simple, providing the basis for a wide array of stylistic experiments over the course of their prolific career.
Although many of Stereolab's albums have been underground hits, they never found larger commercial success. The band was released from their recording contract with Elektra Records reportedly due to poor record sales.
Following the tragic 2002 death of member Mary Hansen, the band returned to a poppier style for later albums like 2008's Chemical Chords.
Stereolab's unmistakable sound had a lasting impact: During the '90s, indie contemporaries such as Pavement and Blur aped their style, while hip-hop artists such as J Dilla and Tyler the Creator sampled the band's music or collaborated with its members in the 2000s and 2010s.
In 2009, Stereolab announced via their website that they were on indefinite hiatus.