Stereolab Plays “Three Women”

Stereolab Chemical ChordsListen to this track by Anglo-Gallic drone-rock analogue synthesists with a flair for retro-pop texture Stereolab. It’s “Three Women” as taken from their 2008 debut record on the 4AD label, Chemical Chords. The record hooked into principles Tim Gane’s and Laetitia Sadier’s interest in pop music of all kinds, including ’60s soul-pop, as it dovetails with krautrock, The Velvets, lounge music, and various retro-futurist sources.

And apart from the aforementioned analogue synth textures and their patented detached melodicism, In this song, we get to hear something of the band’s playful side. Yet, in their way, they’ve always been playful, taking discarded textures and set pieces from time’s past, and blending them together just to see what happens. An artistic environment in the ’90s when they debuted helped to encourage this kind of approach. That was a decade when sonic materials hitherto looked upon as being uncool seemed to be just old enough to be new again. By the 21st century, this approach is de rigeur across the board where experimental pop and indie music in general goes.

So, some things have stayed the same. But, what has changed? Read more

Air Perform ‘Talisman’ From Their Album Moon Safari

AirHere is a track from French retro-futurist outfit Air off of their 1998 album (and a personal favourite) Moon Safari.

Something is stopping me from making this a part of my The Song In My Head Today series, maybe because I’ve added to that series so recently. But call this an unofficial entry, as this is, in fact, the song in my head today.

When I first heard Air, it was the lead single off of that album, ‘Sexy Boy’, which left me kind of cold on first listen. It’s grown on me since, but it’s still the weakest track (relatively speaking) off of a phenomenal, must-have release. What sold me on MS was the follow-up single, ‘Kelly Watch the Stars’, which is all vocoder fronted electro pop and dreamy piano arpeggios. Apparently, the titular Kelly is a reference to the character from Charlie’s Angels as played by Jaclyn Smith. You’ve gotta respect that.

The piece itself, much like the whole of the record, seems to be a soundtrack to the coolest European movie from 1975 that was never filmed. The songs and instrumental pieces seem to tell a story; the kind of tale you’ve dreamt , and have forgotten the details of once you wake up, yet feel as though you’ve been on a great adventure.

If you’ve not heard Moon Safari, and you have an affinity for the sound of lost 1970s soundtracks, with Moog synths, theremin, and Fender Rhodes textures, then I envy your discovery of this album. I plan to write a full review of this album, as it is one of my favourites, in an upcoming article – stay tuned, people!

In the meantime, take a look at the clip of Air performing their instrumental piece ‘Talisman’.