The melodic Alternative-Rock outfit Stereolab formed in London, ENGLAND,
in the early '90s around the core duo of guitarist+keyboardist Timothy
Gane and his partner, vocalist and French-native Laetitia Sadier.
The couple recruited bassist Martin Kean and drummer Joe Dilworth, started recording independent singles and quickly became one of the most influential experimental indie bands.
During 1992 the band released two albums: their official debut full-length
disc, "Peng!" and the collection, that included all the singles
released to date, "Switched On", plus a 4-track EP titled "Low
Fi"; it was also around this time that the band added Australian
born keyboardist+guitarist & vocalist Mary Hansen and drummer Andrew
The following year with a new guitarist, Sean O'Hagen and a new bass player Duncan Brown, Stereolab released "The Groop Played “Space Age Bachelor Pad Music”", then signed with Elektra Records and founded their own label , Duophonic.
"Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements", the band's major-label debut, was released to considerable critical acclaim in the summer of 1993.
They followed it up with another critically applauded effort, "Mars Audiac Quintet", which was the first LP to feature keyboardist Katherine Gifford, the album became an underground hit on both sides of the Atlantic upon its October 1994 release.
Then followed the release of "Refried Ectoplasm (Switched On Volume 2)", a round up of extremely rare singles and unreleased tracks; an instant #1 in the Indie charts and top 30 in the Mainstream chart, it transformed the band's standing in their native England.
After the replacement of Katherine Gifford by Morgane Lhote, Stereolab began recording its new album; "Emperor Tomato Ketchup" saw the process of recognition and acceptance expand even further, this time around the band also re-located to Chicago to complete the LP which was finally released in March 1996, it debuted at #27 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and shortly afterward Duncan Brown left to be replaced by Richard Harrison on bass.
"Dots And Loops" was equally addictive and this time with an equal emphasis on exotic brass as luscious strings; it, too, was part recorded in Chicago and part recorded in Dusseldorf and eventually released in September 1997; this album brought Stereolab into The Billboard 200 chart for the first time reaching the #111 position.
A year later the group released the third of their "Switched On" compilations of non-LP singles, rarities and previously unreleased material, the double-CD, triple vinyl collection, was titled "Aluminum Tunes".
After the birth of Gane and Sadier's first child Stereolab took a two years hiatus from music production; the band resurfaced in September 1999 with a new double-CD set titled "Cobra And Phases Group Play Voltage In The Milky Night"; guest musicians on the record included then new bass player Simon Johns, Stereolab regular multi-keyboardist Sean O'Hagan who also undertook brass arrangements, drummer John McEntire and guitarist Jim O'Rourke, among others; the album reached the #154 slot on the American Billboard Top 200 chart.
Preceded by the 4-track EP, "Captain Easychord", their next full-length disc, "Sound-Dust", was released in September 2001. The recordings were, once again, undertaken mostly in Chicago with the team of McEntire and O'Rourke producing the LP with the group and inevitably, Sean O'Hagan also on hand to add to the keyboard and arranging strengths. "Sound-Dust" was also notable for the absence of long term member Morgane Lhote who left the band prior to these recordings, it made a brief chart intrusion on The Billboard 200 reaching only #178.
In 2002, a 32-track, two CD collection of BBC radio sessions was also released spanning the group's history from July 1991 to August 2001. The year ended on the lowest conceivable note with the tragic death of longtime Stereolab member Mary Hansen, she was knocked off her bicycle in London by a truk and died from the injuries sustained, Mary Hansen was 36 years old.
Undeterred, Stereolab were committed to continuing and completed the building of their own studio, Instant 0, just North of Bordeaux in France; here they recorded "Margerine Eclipse" which was released in February 2004, their ninth studio album stuttered at #174 in the U.S. and the band was dropped by the Warner Music Group in a major reorganisation by the record giant.
In March 2006 the U.K. indie label Too Pure released "Fab Four Suture", a collection of singles and B-sides originally released in the fall of 2005 and early 2006.
After a long and varied career that has seen myriad sound evolutions, Stereolab has uncluttered their sound somewhat with the release of 2008's "Chemical Chords", the album features 14 tracks by Sadier, Gane and company: Ramsay, Johns and new keyboardist Joseph Watson, as well as string and brass arrangements from former member Sean O'Hagan. With shorter songs and a more direct approach in the studio, the result was an album more leaner and poppier than its recent predecessors.