What is old is new again. And, really, do classics ever really go out of style? While Jupiter Jones is not quite “old” in any sense, the band was founded in the early 2000s and spent more than a decade releasing albums and gigging across the German-speaking world. After calling it quits in 2018 as a quartet, they have recently reunited as a duo. If you are unfamiliar with these German indie rockers with post-punk influences, now is a great time to get to know them.
So this month, let’s learn German with the music of Jupiter Jones!
Get to Know Jupiter Jones
Jupiter Jones was formed at a party in Germany’s western Eifel region during the fall of 2002. The name comes from a young adult crime book series by Robert Arthur called The Three Investigators. The original line-up was Nicholas Müller on vocals and guitar, Sascha Eigner on guitar, Michael Stadtfeld on Bass, and Marco Hontheim on drums.
The band wasted no time, recording a demo and releasing it on the internet before the end of the year. They also opened for bands both German, like the Donots, and foreign. By November 2003, they were recognized by the local SWR radio station as one of the best new rock bands in the state.
The band’s first line-up change happened in 2004 when Klaus Hoffmann replaced Stadtfeld on bass. Hoffmann would later be replaced by Andreas Becker in 2009. Sven Lauer also joined as a singer, replacing Müller, from 2014 until their pause in 2018.
Since reuniting as a duo in 2021, the line-up stands as Müller and Eigner.
Music of Jupiter Jones
The first two full-length releases from Jupiter Jones — 2004’s Raum um Raum and 2007’s Entweder geht diese scheußliche Tapete – oder ich — they are clearly finding their feet. Raum um Raum is a Dr. Jekkyl and Mr. Hyde affair that bounces between noisy post-punk, driving pop punk, and uplifting melodic ballads. A few years later, Entweder sees the group settling in with a consistent sound and a steady hand throughout.
The post-punk influences never die and continue to pop up on the band’s albums, but their indie rock tendencies have won out. The result is balanced melodies that don’t overpower.
Holiday in Catatonia follows in the vein of Entweder. The album is full of punk attitude but not afraid to throw in a duet (with actress Jana Pallaske on”Nordpol / Südpol”) or take a breath with a melodic ballad (most notably “Wer winkt hier eigentlich wem”).
If a band is going to self-title a release, commonly it is their first. But if the Beatles could do it in 1968 with what is popularly known as The White Album, then gosh darn it, Jupiter Jones can do it. And that is just what they did in 2011. The self-titled release melds together all of the sounds the group had been playing with over their previous releases. The result is an album that is not afraid to be loud (“Hey! Mennetekel,” “ImmerFürImmer”). But nor is it afraid to take a moment of respite (“Berlin,” “Still”).
2013’s Das Gegenteil von Allem follows the successful plan that the self-titled album laid out. The following year, Glory.Glory.Hallelujah, a live album, followed.
But on 2016’s Brüllende Fahnen, Jupiter Jones really shakes things up and hit a crossroads in their musical journey. From the start of the album’s first track – also, notably, its title track – Jupiter Jones sounds like an entirely different band. There is extra energy and enthusiasm that shines through on the album.
As I mentioned earlier, the band paused in the late 2010s. In 2021, Müller and Eigner returned as the only members of Jupiter Jones with the single “Überall waren Schatten.” An upbeat and uplifting sounding pop rock track. It is a smoother, more produced-sounding Jupiter Jones. But it is still Jupiter Jones. Several additional singles have followed, including 2022’s “Oh Philia!,” suggesting that there is still a lot more music to be heard from Jupiter Jones.
Looking for another Ohrwurm to help you learn German? Check out previously featured musicians and bands!
Photo by Tessa Meyer and Niclas Moos, courtesy of a.s.s. concerts & promotion gmbh. This post contains affiliate links.