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In 2019, when Stereolab have returned from a decade-long hiatus to play live shows to rapt fans, it’s easy to assume the band were always feted alt-rock heroes. In truth, they took a while to establish themselves in a 1990s world when the idea of mixing up French pop, easy listening, the Velvets, woozy synths and the motorik beat of Neu! was something that set the band apart from their contemporaries. Nonetheless, by 1996, when Emperor Tomato Ketchup was released, the world had begun to catch up and catch on: an opportune moment to release, according to Pitchfork, the 51st-greatest album of the decade. To which one response might be, name 50 better albums released in the 1990s, because Stereolab’s fourth is arguably the first when the band so convincingly combined pop – listen to the melody on lush single Cybele’s Reverie – and avant-garde instincts. While it’s a less immediate album, Dots And Loops (1997) kept up the winning streak. Its surface lightness is deceptive, the sound of a band reaching for a kind of post-rock take on Aja-era Steely Dan’s sophistication – and reaching that goal. In contrast, Cobra And Phases Group Play Voltage In The Milky Night seems too studied, at moments putting you in mind of a band gagging on their own record collections. As with the previous remastered Stereolab reissues, there’s nothing to fault here in terms of attention to detail, with newly released demo material often especially fascinating in showing how songs developed over time. Fans have already snaffled up limited editions on clear vinyl as pre-orders.

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About Long Live Vinyl

It's Just Rock 'N' Roll! Issue 30 of Long Live Vinyl celebrates the 25th anniversary of Oasis' stellar debut album, Definitely Maybe. Our exclusive collector's covers, shot by Oasis photographer Michael Spencer Jones, allow you to choose between Noel and Liam editions – or buy both! Inside, some of the band's closest allies talk us through the making of an album that sold 7 million copies and changed the face of British guitar music. In our packed interviews section, we sit down with Black Francis to hear why new Pixies album Beneath The Eyrie is among the best records they've ever made, and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard take a rare break from recording to talk us through their new LP, Infest The Rats' Nest. Elsewhere, we meet one of the hottest new bands of 2019, WH Lung, and the founders of Sub Pop, the Seattle label that put grunge on the map. You'll also find an in-depth look at Talking Heads' 1979 classic Fear Of Music as well as 40 Essential Dream Pop albums to add to your collection. If all that's not enough, we bring you the most comprehensive range of new album, reissue, turntable and hi-fi reviews anywhere on the newsstand. Long Live Vinyl is THE magazine for vinyl lovers. Pick up your copy today…

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