Stereolab: The Live Project
Three discs worth of live Stereolab, 1991-2002? Yes indeed. Thanks to Moodles over on ILM for hooking me up with this, so I can in turn hook y’all up too. I feel like Stereolab aren’t quite as highly esteemed as they should be these days. Why is that — did they stick around long enough to be taken for granted? Maybe. It might also have something to do with the fact that in this brave new world where we can dial up any old obscure krautrock/exotica/whatever LP on YouTube, Stereolab’s influences/borrowings are perhaps more apparent than ever. Kind of like seeing the wizard behind the curtain (Not that the band wasn’t always totally upfront about all of that to begin with). But I don’t think this development diminishes the music one bit — in fact, a quarter century after they formed, the records sound as fresh as ever.
Andy Zax nailed it all the way back in 1994: “In some alchemical way, Stereolab have escaped the post-modern cul-de-sac that has left so many other bands with good taste and large record collections choking on their own exhaust while searching for an exit that’s not the same as the entrance…Neither imitators nor ironists, Stereolab are idealists building a better world out of thrift-shop discoveries.”
Anyway! These three extremely entertaining volumes of live ‘Lab will remind you how great a band they were (and how great a live band they were). I don’t have all the details about where/when exactly all of these recordings were made, but there is this slightly terrifying relic of a website devoted to it. Click if you dare!
Also, maybe there’s a Stereolab revival in the works — it looks as though several of their albums are being reissued properly in the near future. And maybe even new music? Let’s hope. In the meantime, here’s The Live Project.