Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night (1999)
Stereolab were an English-French avant-pop band from London, formed in 1990 by Tim Gane (guitar/keyboards) and Lætitia Sadier (vocals/keyboards/guitar) who both remained at the songwriting helm across many line-up changes. Other long-time members included Mary Hansen (backing vocals/keyboards/guitar), who joined in 1992 and remained in the line-up until her accidental death in 2002, and Andy Ramsay (drums), who joined in 1993 and is still in the official line-up. Sean O’Hagan of the High Llamas was a member from 1993 to 1994, and continued appearing on later records for occasional guest appearances.
The group’s music combined influences from krautrock, lounge and 1960s pop music. Their sound, which music journalists dubbed "post-rock", incorporated a repetitive "motorik" beat with heavy use of vintage electronic keyboards and female vocals sung in English and French; while their lyrics incorporated socio-political themes which had been alleged of carrying a strong Marxist message. Gane rejected labels such as "Marxist pop", stating that they do not cross the line into "sloganeering". Additionally, both he and Sadier cited the Surrealist and Situationist cultural and political movements as influences.
Although many of Stereolab’s albums have been underground hits, they never found larger commercial success. The band were released from their recording contract with Elektra Records reportedly due to poor record sales, when Elektra, an inprint of Warner Bros. Records folded; and their self-owned label, Duophonic Records, had signed a distribution deal with Too Pure. Duophonic hold the copyrights to the group’s recordings; and many of their limited-edition records had been released under the label. In 2009, Stereolab announced via their website that they were on indefinite hiatus.