The nutty professors

Has the science of Stereolab gone too cool for its own good?

Undeniably, Stereolab is a band for true vinylphiles. Everything from the name to the cover art sends chills through the heart of anyone who sees records as sacred objects. "CDs always leave me cold," says Gane. "I like the idea of [vinyl] records--the fact that you have to treat them with a certain amount of respect and care."

At least their hearts are in the right places. And if you think Stereolab is just another one of those stuck-up British bands that only Europeans can relate to, consider this: "They see us as sort of a novelty band. I think we're very much deliberately misunderstood. We're not considered part of the main thrust of '90s music. NME [New Musical Express, Britain's pop bible] flat-out told us that we'd never be on the cover no matter how many albums we sold."

As Oasis' Noel Gallagher would undoubtedly say, Stereolab are "stoodents," and this album pushes them even further into the artsy-fartsy realm that the Gallagher brothers seem to dread so intensely. Then again, the Mike Flowers Pops' Euro-pop remake of "Wonderwall" beat Oasis' original by a mile, and Oasis' new album is pure shit.

Besides, it shouldn't be overlooked that Stereolab is also an incredibly prolific band. This is their ninth full-length album in only six years, not to mention their numerous odd 12-inch vinyl-only releases.

"We just like making records," says Gane. "But the process of releasing them is too slow. Like the new one--we finished in June and it's just now coming out. I always like to keep things moving on and creating new material." So why buy Dots and Loops when you can probably find something quite similar at a flea market on Greenville for $2? Well, perhaps for the same reason Andy Warhol has a Brillo box in the permanent collection of the Guggenheim. Because, mon cheri, it's art.

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