Monday, May 15, 2006


Peel Sessions 7

For me music is 90% a gut thing, by that I mean often upon listening to a song or an artist I have a positive reaction the first time that I hear them or it , a good example of this would be 'teenage Kicks' by the Undertones, having said that there are many a band that I have come back to after having a negative reaction only to find certain merit and often a good deal of pleasure in their music. Stereolab was one such band, in 1997 I was well aware of their reputation and had listened to several of their records but nothing really gelled for me. It was in that year that I was offered the chance to promote a local show for the band, after a little reflection I thought that it seemed like a viable proposition, I was only too aware of the excellent reviews and reputation for 1996's 'Emperor Tomato Ketchup' and was sure that they had a local fan base and seeing that they'd never played in Montpellier before thought why not! The date was set for 14 October, and the machine was set in motion, I received a copy of their then latest album 'Dots and Loops' and was reasonably impressed. Come the day of the gig, pre sales were good and we were expecting a good night. I had very little contact with band before they played, I let them get on with their sound check and they let me look after my side of things. Now as a promoter you find yourself in a rather privileged position, if you can actually believe it you get to see too many bands! At this period this was very much my case and to aggravate things my whole social life revolved around music and concerts, so if I wasn't promoting I'd probably be found at the bar at some gig ar the other. Why I can't remember but I found myself in the hall when Stereolab climbed on tho the stage, I can remember thinking to myself how ordinary they looked but when they started playing it was something altogether different. Something rare for me at the time happened and I was captivated and as such saw the whole of their show. Now having said that I would not call my self their number 1 fan by any stretch of the imagination but I can say the play one hell of a gig.
Stereolab recorded six Peel sessions inbetween 1991 and 2001 and today's songs are both taken from the first which was originally broadcast 30 July. 'Super Electric' is just that and is pure garage meets Krautrock with my personal favorite being 'Changer', after all if you have someone French in the band why not sing in French! The song illustrates very well the bands strong points, a droning hypnotic rhythm track with melodic mesmerizing female vocals laid over the top, not difficult really to see why they were one of the nineties biggest cult bands.
The band are still going today despite the fact that long time member Mary Hansen was killed while riding her bike in London by a lorry in a 2002 road accident at the age of 36. Late 2005 early 2006 saw the band release four limited edition EPs which have been conveniently compiled as 'Fab Four Structure' by their original record label Too Pure, and in to my ears this comes highly recommended.

Mary Hansen... yes mate, a horrible story. I still remember her shaking my hand after one of their concerts, the last time I ever saw her anyway...

Fuck that lorry..!
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