Stereolab at New Century

Johnny James, Managing Editor

Stereolab at New Century, Manchester 27 November 2022 Tickets from £29.07 — Book now

Following the re-release of their seven Elektra studio albums alongside previously unheard material, Stereolab are in the middle of a world tour, calling in at Manchester’s New Century on 27 November.

Authors of some of the most distinctive music made in the ’90s, Stereolab and their extra-terrestrial pop were hugely influential across the decade and beyond. Splicing together fringe genres like Krautrock, lounge-pop and bossa nova, they coined a new language – one that many other bands then emulated.

Formed in 1990 by analogue gear fanatic Tim Gane and his then partner, French singer Lætitia Sadier, the band’s early material looked to ’60s pop stars on the one hand and to Krautrock bands like Faust and Neu! on the other. The resultant combination of singsong melodies and droning hypnotic rhythms was startlingly different to the zeitgeist, made even more unusual by Sadier’s French lyrics promoting revolutionary, Marxist politics.

The band bubbled away in the underground (where they won fans in Sonic Youth, Pavement and Blur) for a good few years, before 1996’s Emperor Tomato Ketchup catapulted them towards mainstream consciousness. 1997’s seminal Dots and Loops kept them there, with future-leaning tracks like ‘Brakhage’, ‘Diagonals’ and ‘Parsec’ hard to ignore. These albums were on the one hand catchy, melodic masterpieces, and on the other experimental weirdos, drawing ethereal threads between genres like IDM, calypso, psychedelia, minimalism and alien trip hop.

Leading up to their 2009 hiatus, Stereolab released eight more albums, but none would quite match those early records, released on the now-iconic record label, Elektra. Hence the band making their Elektra records the focus of their recently-completed reissue campaign, which also included a Switched On series of compilations. Pulse of the Early Brain – the fifth compilation, released in September 2022 – collects every remaining leftover from Stereolab’s substantial discography: rare EPs, singles, and stray comp tracks. It might just be the concluding statement of the era-defining band, at least as far as their recorded output goes.

But live is another story; they’re currently slap bang in the middle of a world tour, and they are absolutely worth watching at Manchester’s prettiest new venue: New Century. We last caught Stereolab live at Psych Fest 2021, and they were an absolute standout. Despite the setlist being filled with tunes that were 25-odd years old, they still somehow sounded futuristic. Maybe they always will.

Stereolab at New Century, Manchester 27 November 2022 Tickets from £29.07 Book now

What's on at New Century

Picture of the artist Tourist
Tourist at New Century

London-based songwriter Tourist brings his yearning, bittersweet electronica to New Century in support of his new album, Memory Morning.

from £20.59

Where to go near Stereolab at New Century

Event venue
Old Bank Residency

The Old Bank Residency is a twelve-month occupation of a disused bank, allowing a space for creative practices to experiment, collaborate and grow. This project is funded and supported by NOMA to make Manchester an even more interesting place to be.

The exterior of The Pilcrow
Bar or Pub
Sadler’s Cat

The Pilcrow is now Sadler’s Cat, a contemporary community pub at the heart of the NOMA neighbourhood. Overlooking Sadler’s Yard.

City Centre

Allpress at NOMA is a home to all things coffee, with a café and seasonal menu incorporating locally sourced ingredients.

City Centre
Ciaooo – Pizzeria

Calling all pizza lovers, this hipster hotspot is going to be your own slice of heaven. Slow-rising sour dough pizzas and a great selection of cocktails, all at fabulous prices.

City Centre
Event venue
Sadler’s Yard

Sadlers Yard is a public square and events space in Manchester from NOMA Mcr. Home of the Pilcrow Pub and PLANT NOMA.

Mackie Mayor

A Grade II listed market building in the Northern Quarter, Mackie Mayor is a key fixture in the ever-growing Northern Quarter food and drink scene.

Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art CFCCA by Michael Pollard
esea contemporary

Regarded as the UK’s leading organisation for East and Southeast Asian art, esea contemporary is opening its doors again on 18 February 2023 in Manchester.

What's on: Music

DJ Gym at Hatch

Learn some DJ and production skills with DJ Gym Manchester, based in the culturally infused surrounds of Hatch.

from £269
Open Deck at Band on the Wall

Bring your records for a spin at our Open Deck session this Saturday! If you’ve bought some new vinyl from a local record shop this week, just show your receipt at the bar to get yourself a free 9” pizza!

T3 and Young RJ
Slum Village at The Blues Kitchen

Detroit icons Slum Village are taking over The Blues Kitchen this April, performing new music as well as tracks from their legendary 2000’s albums.

from £24.75

Culture Guides

Festival-goers at Green Island
Music in Manchester and the North

Gazing longingly towards the good times that will accompany the surely imminent sun, we take a look at the best music festivals coming up in Manchester and Salford.

Theatre in Manchester and the North
Theatre in Manchester and the North

Affecting contemporary performances and fresh, relevant takes on enduring classics, we pick out shows that help us scrutinise the world we live in.