The Hamburg-based indie rockers Tonbandgerät are in a unique position. The group has so far been able to find that fine line between being too hard and edgy that you turn off indie or pop fans. At the same time, they have avoided being too soft or one-note. Indeed, the group is a mix of indie pop that is memorable and darn near impossible to not like. Add to that smooth vocals and it is no wonder that the group has received international interest. In fact, they toured the USA for the Goethe Institut to entice students to learn German.
So what are you waiting for? This month, get to know Tonbandgerät and learn German with music!
Get To Know The Band
Tonbandgerät was founded in 2007 as a school band by sisters Isa and Sophia Poppensieker and their friend Ole Sprecht. A few years later, their schoolmate Jakob Sudau joined the band. The original line-up for the quartet featured Sprecht on vocals and keyboard, Sophia on guitar, Isa on bass, and Sudau on drums.
The group released their first EP, Du nennst es Tetris, ich nenn es Alltag, in 2009. In addition to the record, the band was playing a lot of shows. The combination helped them get attention both in and outside of their hometown of Hamburg.
In 2012, the group signed its first record deal with Universal. Since then they have released three full-length albums: 2013’s Heute ist für immer, 2015’s Wenn das Feuerwerk landet, and 2018’s Zwischen all dem Lärm.
In the first half of 2022, Isa left the band the pursue other interests. The group continues to make music as a trio. They released several singles in 2022 and connect with fans via Patreon.
Get to Know the Music of Tonbandgerät
It is difficult to believe that Heute ist für immer is Tonbandgerät’s debut album. The album from 2013 is bright and bouncy. The band oozes confidence from the first notes of the opening track “Irgendwie anders.” Throughout the album, the band keeps their momentum and they never stray too far from their original sound. “Raus hier” teases a moodier sound that plays with their twinkling pop melodies and a chorus that verges on a call to action.
Two years after their debut, Tonbandgerät returned with Wenn das Feuerwerk landet. If their debut was a delicate indie dream, then their sophomore record is a sunny wake-up. With the instantly memorable and likable “Alles geht,” it is clear the band has no plans to discard the sound they developed on their debut. The album plays like a box of chocolates where each piece of candy is not too sweet — but you want the flavor to linger. The album was the band’s highest charting record to date, placing at number 11.
2018’s Zwischen all dem Lärm sets a slightly different tone from the get-go. The opening track “Reisegruppe Angst und Bange” strikes a melancholic chord of longing while Turbostaat punk rocker Jan Windmeier makes a guest appearance. Elsewhere, the band sounds like more than “just an indie pop band” on tracks like “Beckenrand,” with its coy verses, or the rhythmic “Mario Kart.” But despite that, the indie pop sound shines on “Mein Herz ist ein Tourist.”
The EP Pixel Lametta followed in 2021. With the five-track recording, the band feels to have focused more on a pop sound. “Partners in Crime” features a ringing melody that sings out smoothly as Sprecht’s vocals add a sort of bouncy punctuation.
At the time of writing, their latest single, “Lynn,” sees the trio go for a buzzing rock sound. Although only a slight redirection in sound, it is an exciting new chapter for Tonbandgerät.
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Photo by Fynn Freund, courtesy of the band’s website. This post contains affiliate links.