Hamburg, Germany is known for its harbor and its nightlife. So it should be no surprise that the city is home to a strong music scene, from hip hop (Fettes Brot, Deichkind) and rock n roll (Udo Lindenberg). During the 1990s, Hamburg rock band Tocotronic lead the way of for the indie rock scene in the German language. So this month let’s learn German and get to know Tocotronic!
Tocotronic first came together in late 1993 as a trio: singer/guitar player Dirk von Lowtzow, bass player Jan Müller, and drummer Arne Zank. By the following year they had released their first single (“Meine Freundin und ihr Freund”). 1995 saw them release not one but two albums. In March of that year they released their debut full-length, Digital ist besser. By mid-summer they had also released Nach der verlorenen Zeit. It was those two albums that got the ball rolling for the band.
The trio became a quartet in 2004 with the addition of keyboardist and guitar player Rick McPhail.
Although Tocotronic have charted well with their alternative indie rock sound over the years, they are no blockbuster band. Since releasing their debut in the mid-nineties they’ve continued to regularly write and record. Comparisons have been made to English language bands like Pavement. For anyone who was a fan of buzzing guitars on lo-fi and understated songs the first time around will no doubt have a special place in their heart for Tocotronic.
To date, in total, they’ve released a dozen albums. The band’s latest album was just released in January of 2018. The chart-topping album is entitled Die Unendlichkeit. But in addition to those studio albums they’ve also recorded several live albums as well as the ubiquitous Best Of album.
If you happen to be in the German-speaking world this spring or summer there’s a chance you’ll be able to catch the band on tour. They’re scheduled to be on the road promoting Die Unendlichkeit.
Looking for another Ohrwurm to help you learn German? Check out previously featured musicians and bands!
Photo by Michael Petersohn and used courtesy of the band’s Facebook page. This post contains affiliate links.