P OETRY AT SHAMAN DRUM
Laurence Thomas is scheduled to read
from a new collaborative effort, "The
Face in the Mirror," with artist Judith Wednesday
Jacobs at 1 p.m. this Saturday, May 11. May 8, 1996
Stereolab speaks, mobilizing Moogs on U.S. tour
By Heather Phares
Daily Arts Writer outside of London," she said. "It was
"This woman spoke to me for five very enjoyable working in Chicago with
inutes and asked me really boring John McEntire of Tortoise - he had a
questions like if I'd ever been to America lot of old-fashioned keyboards and
and what I thought about the States. I equipment that made recording the new
couldn't believe it," sighed Morgane album very interesting, that gave it a dif-
Lhote, keyboardist for the premier ferent sound."
socialist drone-rock band Stereolab. On "Emperor Tomato Ketchup;" the
Though her melodious French accent band's musical evolution continues.
covered up most of her irritation, it's "This new album is more jazzy or funky,
clear that Lhote does- in general. I also
n't have time for the ,PREVI EW think the arrange-
tedious or the mun~ Stereolab ments and the
dane. Sunday, May 12 rhythms are getting
That's why she's Doors open at 8 p.m. more complex -
well-suited to play St s nsalews call early Stereolab songs
Farfisa organ for (313) 961 MELT or info only had one or two
Stereolab, a group chords, where there's
so unique in sound and viewpoint more now" Lhote explained. The album
that it prompted one rock critic to call varies from bouncy numbers like the title
it "always the same, and always dif- track, to lush space-age bachelor-pad
ferent." On their latest album, music like "Slow Fast Hazel" to the
"Emperor Tomato Ketchup," melancholy ballad "Monstre Sacre,"
Stereolab continues to create key- proof of the group's growing diversity
oard-heavy, droning music with a and musical prowess.
weep groove and leftist lyrics. Yet, as The funky feel on songs like
usual, the band expands its sound into "Metronomic Underground" and
something new, this time incorporat- "Spark Plug" recalls classic '70s soul
ing delicate string arrangements on - played by the Cantina band from
songs like "Cybele's Reverie" and "Star Wars" and fronted by a dulcet-
funk rhythms and guitars on voiced chanteuse. Lhote explained
"Metronomic Underground." how this new facet of Stereolab's
Lhote put it simply: "I enjoy being in sound emerged. "When Tim is writing
a band that's original, that's doing an album, he gets inspired by what he's
something different than what most listening to at the time. When he was
other bands are doing now." writing the new album he was listen-
Though she has only been in the ing to a lot of old jazz like Don Cherry
group for a year, Lhote blends in beau- and Sun Ra, and that really influenced
tifully with the core members of "the him."
groop'" guitarist Tim Gane, singer and Stereolab itself has been cited as
lyricist Laetitia Sadier, and guitarist influential for a crop of new bands
Mary Hansen, on the new record, and from the Rentals to the Cardigans - a
adds an extra keyboard dimension to phenomenon that Lhote said she is baf-
Stereolab's live shows. fled by: "It's weird. I hear all the time
Lhote explained how she joined the that there are these new bands that are
band: "I'm from Paris, and Laetitia is being compared to us, like the
originally from Paris, and we knew Cardigans or Lush, and I just don't
ach other there. When I moved to understand the comparison at all. I
London I saw her again and she men- don't think they sound anything like us.
tioned that the group needed a key- I think it's ridiculous. Any time there's
board player, so I joined then. I played two women singing, or if there's an
in little bands in Paris, playing guitar, organ, the group is compared to us.
but I wasn't doing anything serious This guy from Chicago told me that
with it. There's been lots to learn and there's a lot of bands in the area that are
it's been tiring at times, but I've really influenced by Stereolab, but I just don't
enjoyed being in Stereolab, it's been see it."
lots of fun." Something beyond comparison is
For Lhote, recording "Emperor Stereolab's live show - an understated,
Tomato Ketchup" was part of the fun of harmonious performance that builds
*eing in Stereolab. "This is the first time into a deep, trance-inducing groove.
that the group has recorded anything Lhote said, "I like to play 'Lo Boob
Oscillator' live; we have a sort of
extended, droning sound live that's
really enjoyable to play with."
Though the group's newly dense
and elaborate sound could pose prob-
lems for a lesser band on tour,
Stereolab uses its usual ingenuity to
recreate its studio sound: "Mary could
sing one of the instrumental parts that
was an organ on the record, or play it
on the guitar," Lhote explained. "We
kind of have to play the songs with the
instruments we have on stage at the
time - the keyboards, guitars and
voices that we have live. It's more
As for the band's plans, touring
looms large in the group's future.
"We're going to the finish the tour at
the end of May, and then we're going
back to London to play some festivals
over the summer. I think we're going
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back to the States in August for some on this tour, and the audiences are
more touring - it's going to be touring pretty diverse, so I guess we're more
for most of the year. We may rest a bit popular than we've ever been. But I
before doing the festivals, but it's most- don't feel like we're going to be huge,"
ly touring,' Lhote said. she said.
Even with all the touring, Lhote said Still, with a band as unique as
she doesn't feel mainstream success is Stereolab, everything is out of the
imminent for the band. "We've been ordinary and nothing is out of the
olaving much bigger venues already question.
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