Stereolab to kick off what promises to be an eclectic week of Soundbooth posts. Their very first session for John Peel, recorded on July 30, 1991 and broadcast in September of that year, this would be one of the first broadcast appearances of a band which would go on to be considered one of the most influential bands of the 90s – and certainly one of the most passionately individual. Stereolab leaned heavily on 70s German Prog, while also leaning in the direction of lounge and 60s experimental music – they broke new ground for themselves. With the captivating and ethereal vocals of French singer Laetitia Sadier, who was co-founder of Stereolab with Tim Gane, the band established what came to be known as Post-Rock. And even though they’ve been considered in some circles as a highly political band, whose messages of socio-political themes weave a solid foundation in their work, they have avidly rejected the idea of being pigeon-holed as a “message band”. Rather, they were a band which created an intense atmosphere of hypnotic lyrics and ethereal soundscapes.
This session, which was their first for John Peel, also comes prior to the release of their debut album. By 1991 they had issued two eps and a single via their own Duophonic label and it wouldn’t be for almost a year before their official debut album would be released.
In the time since, they’ve released some 13 studio albums and 8 compilation albums, and even though they have been on an indefinite hiatus since 2009 there was one reunion of sorts in 2013. But any sort of official reunion hasn’t been brought up or considered.
If, for some reason you aren’t familiar with Stereolab, they really were a highly influential band during the 90s, and this session from 1991 gives some indication of what direction they were heading towards early on. Even though they never achieved commercial success in the mainstream meaning of the word, they have created an indelible impression on those coming on to the scene later. And that is more than worth the price of admission.
Play loud – if you aren’t already.