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 have remained at the helm across many lineup changes. Other long-time members include Andrew Ramsay (drums) and Mary Hansen (vocals/keyboards/guitar). Ramsay joined the group in 1993, while Hansen joined ten years before her accidental death in 2002.
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 is 1970s krautrock, which they combine with lounge, 1960s pop, and experimental music. They are 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 incorporate socio-political themes into their lyrics. Some critics say the group's lyrics carry a strong Marxist message, and Gane and Sadier admit to being influenced by the Surrealist and Situationist cultural and political movements. However, Gane is skeptical 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 have not found larger commercial success. The band were released from their recording contract with Warner Music 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 the label the band have released many limited-edition records.