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What? Since their inception 18 years ago, London’s Stereolab have seen various sonic changes — from Krautrock to bossa nova and beyond — yet have maintained both a gorgeous French patois and their characteristic percolating rhythms — think the cast of Friends with their constantly changing haircuts, only replace the bratty entitlement with restless creativity. And two years after the release of the group’s (groop’s?) EP compilation Fab Four Suture, Stereolab return with the lilting yet densely layered Chemical Chords.Set to drop stateside Aug. 19, the new set showcases Stereolab’s inimitable talent of being able to sonically reference their rich catalog while simultaneously charting brave (and beautiful) new paths.

Who? Brit genre-blenders Stereolab, founded in 1990 by Tim Gane (guitar/keyboards) and Laetitia Sadier (vocals/keyboards/guitar). After the release of 1993’s lounge-influenced Space Age Batchelor Pad Music, the outfit was signed to the now-defunct Elektra label. Throughout the ’90s, Stereolab released some of their most diverse material, from the drone-laden pop of 1994’s Mars Audiac Quintet to the motorik-studded Krautrock of Emperor Tomato Ketchup. After the tragic loss of singer/guitarist Mary Hansen in 2002, Stereolab went on a brief hiatus before releasing 2004’s comeback Margarine Eclipse. Currently, Stereolab is comprised of Gane, Sadier, Andrew Ramsay (drums), Simon Johns (bass), and Joseph Watson (keys).

Fun Fact: Over their lengthy run, Stereolab have collaborated with various artists of differing genres, such as industrial legend Nurse With Wound, Tortoise instrumentalist John McEntire, and Sonic Youth/Wilco cohort Jim O’Rourke.

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