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Emperor Tomato Ketchup

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Editors’ Notes

The avant-garde rarely sounded so sweetly effervescent as on Stereolab's 1996 breakout. Moving beyond the motorik pulses of their previous albums, Emperor Tomato Ketchup embraced shuffling funk, classical minimalism, tricky time signatures and Brill Building choruses. Their lyrics—sung in French and English—nod to radical politics, but the band's utopian outlook is never didactic; their hypnotic riffs underscore dancing's importance to any revolution. This generous, inventive album offers proof that a better world—and a better pop music—is possible.


Formed: 1991 in London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Combining an inclination for melodic '60s pop with an art rock aesthetic borrowed from Krautrock bands like Faust and Neu!, Stereolab were one of the most influential alternative bands of the '90s. Led by Tim Gane and Laetitia Sadier, Stereolab either legitimized forms of music that were on the fringe of rock, or brought attention to strands of pop music -- bossa nova, lounge-pop, movie soundtracks -- that were traditionally banished from the rock lineage. The group's trademark sound -- a droning,...
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Emperor Tomato Ketchup, Stereolab
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