Stereolab are an alternative music band formed in 1990 in London, England. The band originally comprised songwriting team Tim Gane (guitar/keyboards) and Lætitia Sadier (vocals/keyboards/guitar), both of whom remained at the helm across many lineup changes. Other long-time members include Mary Hansen (backing vocals/keyboards/guitar), who played with the group from 1992 until her accidental death in 2002, and Andy Ramsay (drums), who joined in 1993, and who is still in the official line-up.
Called "one of the most fiercely independent and original groups of the Nineties", Stereolab were one of the first bands to be termed "post-rock". Their primary musical influence was 1970s krautrock, which they combined with lounge, 1960s pop, and experimental pop music. They were noted for their heavy use of vintage electronic keyboards, and their sound often overlays a repetitive "motorik" beat with female vocals sung in English or French. Stereolab often incorporates socio-political themes into their lyrics. Some critics say the group's lyrics carry a strong Marxist message, and both Gane and Sadier admit to being influenced by the Surrealist and Situationist cultural and political movements. Gane is sceptical of labels such as "Marxist pop", and defends the band against accusations of "sloganeering".
Although many of the band's albums have been underground hits, they never found larger commercial success. The band were released from their recording contract with Warner Bros. Records when Warner's imprint Elektra Records folded. The release was reportedly due to poor record sales, and since then Stereolab's self-owned label, Duophonic Records, has signed a distribution deal with Too Pure. Duophonic holds the copyrights to the band's recordings, and on this label the band has released many limited-edition records. In 2009, Stereolab announced via their website that they were going on indefinite hiatus.