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Aluminum Tunes
Aluminum Tunes
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #2

Given Stereolab's predilection for art-rocky '60s pop ditties and penchant for creating a compelling variety of absurdity, this double-CD B-sides and rarities collection manages to be less a meandering collection than glor...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Stereolab
Title: Aluminum Tunes
Members Wishing: 7
Total Copies: 0
Label: Drag City
Original Release Date: 10/20/1998
Release Date: 10/20/1998
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
Styles: Indie & Lo-Fi, Experimental Music, Progressive, Progressive Rock
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 036172915927

Given Stereolab's predilection for art-rocky '60s pop ditties and penchant for creating a compelling variety of absurdity, this double-CD B-sides and rarities collection manages to be less a meandering collection than glorious, mix-and-match fluff. Encompassing more of the French language than a 101 college course, Laetitia Sadier's melodic, singsongy vocals entrance the Francophile within and somehow ideally complement the fragmented nature of the typical Stereolab composition. On half-realized wanderings like "Klang Tune" and zippier pieces of melodic debris like "Munich Madness," the album flows by quickly, getting by on speedy and disjointed yet memorable flashes of structure. In fact, given the hodgepodge nature of Stereolab's musical mentality, the record feels like a serendipitous mix of content and format and treats Stereolab fans to perhaps their best album yet because of it. --Matthew Cooke

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CD Reviews

Make this the centerpiece of your collection
rvm26 | earth | 08/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"About 18 months after buying this collection, I've realizedthat Aluminum Tunes is an absolute masterpiece. The packaging is oddly minimal for such a collection and beautifully printed, and the album and song names are as responsible for their collective mystique as the music itself. Disc one begins with a series of string-laden ballads, originally released to compliment an art exhibit, and continues with several songs from their "mars audiac" era. "Pop Quiz", "The Extension Trip", "You Used to Call me Sadness", and others are actually waltzes; "Space Moment", "Iron Man" and "Ulan Bator" are droning songs; "One Small Step" is very accessible.Disc two begins with something akin to their newer, wilder material with "One note Samba/Surfboard", with the song's latter section the true attraction. Several fairly nondescript tracks build towards the stringy "Seeperbold", the anthemic "Check and Double Check" and "Munich Madness", my personal favorite. This one is classic Stereolab, as a largely capable pop-rocker becomes a jazzy drone for no apparent reason. The album's closer is the album's, and maybe this band's, lyrical highlight in its appaling lack of sense: Sadier sings a dreamy song above Mary Hansen's bubblegum background vocals about the virgin mary's nine-month transformation into christ, detailing her physical metamorphosis ("month one mary grows a mustasche, in the second she grows a beard). That right there is worth your $ alone."
Eclectic Stereolab
Aaron Hierholzer | Texas | 12/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is yet another consistent release from one of my very favourite bands- Stereolab. The sheer amount of material they have out is astounding, and even more astounding is that it is all, for the most part, very good. Being prolific and consistent is quite a feat. And they've done it again with the third collection of rarities and b-sides, Aluminum Tunes. I loved this album at first sight, with the weird blue cardboard packaging. It's great, even if the cd's don't stay in too well. Kicking off the album is the collection of six songs for the Amorphous Body Study Center. It is very well done, and I wish I could have seen the art exhibit. My favorite is How To Play Your Internal Organs Overnight, a string-drenched Stereolab classic. The second half of the disk is nice as well, containing an even more beautiful, longer version of New Orthophony. Other favorites are One Small Step and You Used To Call Me Sadness(although inferior to the horn-driven version on Flourescences). The second disk starts off with a cover of Jobim's One Note Samba, which is wonderful, revealing the light-hearted side of Stereolab. In the same track is another cover, Surfboard. It was great on Esquivel's "Space Age Bachelor Pad Music," but Stereolab somehow makes it even better. For me, the highlight of this collection is the last half of the second cd. You have the melancholy Seeperbold, the upbeat numbers, Check and Double Check and Munich Madness, and the masterful Metronomic Underground remix by Luke Vibert (aka Wagon Christ). And finally is the catchy (and very lyrically interesting) The Incredible He Woman. This compilation is a good sampler for the different, but all similar, styles of Stereolab, from droning Krautrock to jazzy space pop. This variety is good, but as a previous reviewer said, there are some jarring song transitions. There are a few clunckers sprinkled throughout, of which Klang Tone is the worst. It's really quite painful to listen to, with a loud irritating lack of melody. But the few bad eggs are far outnumbered by usual Stereolab genius. By the way, the samples on the track listing at the top of the page are really screwed up. I think someone switched the disks accidentally. And the track listing for disk one in the actual cd case is a little hard to follow as well. After the Amorphous Body Center songs, the list moves to the right and then back to the left for the final four tracks. At first glance, you want to read all down the left and then move over to the right. For the longest time I had the wrong titles with songs. I was surprised that there was a song called Speedy Car, but on a later track that I thought was Iron Man, the words "a speedy car out of nowhere" were repeated over and over. Then I noticed You Used To Call Me Sadness was on Flourescences, so when I first listened to that record, I heard what I thought was Ulan Bator. I was very confused, but after consulting the case again, I solved the mystery. I still hear people who have those songs mixed up. I hope I could help. Anyway, it's a great starter and a must for any 'lab fan."
Stereolab Fans (at every level) should own this album.......
fetish_2000 | U.K. | 03/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Stereolab have been as hard a band to dislike, as it is to easily categorise their music. This a double Cd collection of singles, 7 inches, Ep's are largely tracks missing from their regular studio albums. You'd be forgiven for thinking that this is merely an exercise to compile an album of below-par material, but you'd actually be wrong. There's something in here for everyone. Newcomers (like me) will find this a great starting point for the band, before seeking out individual studio albums ("Theme from Get Carter" will be instantly recognisable to most), and the Enthusiasts will revel in the largely unavailable material to flesh out their collection (Wagon Christ's mix of "Metronomic Underground" for example). There are a bewildering array of quality Stereolab albums out there to buy, and first time purchasers (like myself) may not know where to begin, but a Double Cd album with 25 tracks of essential material is as fantastic a place as any to start, and shows a band at creative peak form, that will undoubtedly fuel the desire to seek out more of their astonishing work. Utterly highly recommended."