The Scene in Six Sounds: Germany
By James Hendicott
It’s true; Germany is at the heart of the Euro pop scene. After all, this is the home of the undisputed Euro pop queen, Cascada. And that does mean that there’s an unfathomably large amount of throwaway electro-dance music around. There’s also a huge penchant for angst-ridden rock, but dig under the surface a little and Germany shows its true colors. And surprisingly inspirational they are, too, including some true techno legends and a fresh selection of modern day indie.
The ‘Experimental Krautrock’ Superstars: Kraftwerk
There can be few more influential bands internationally than Kraftwerk. Starting out in the early 70s with seminal albums like ‘Autobahn’ (motorway), which remains a key influence on the electro genre to this day, and were amongst the first to incorporate numerous (now standard) electronic techniques. The artwork that accompanies their music has also become a standard synthpop style.
The Up and Coming Indie Heroes: Flea Market Poets
A rag-tag, Munich-based assortment of musicians who originate from the US, UK, Ireland and Germany, Flea Market Poets debut album ‘Dirty Days’ is putting German indie music in the map. Infectious tracks like ‘Annie Superstar’ and ‘Captain Nate’ recently went down a storm on an Irish tour.
The Euro-Pop Superstars: Cascada
Best known for tracks like ‘Everytime We Touch’ and ‘Evacuate the Dancefloor’ this Bonn-based three piece are fronted by Natalie Horler, the German-born daughter of two English parents, who provides the alluring, delicate vocals on tracks that have almost made Euro Pop fasionabel again. Almost.
80s Heavy Metal Heroes: Scorpions
Launched in 1965, and still going strong to this day, Hannover metal heads Scorpions have sold an incredible 75 million records worldwide, and are best known for tracks like ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’, ‘No One Likes You’, ‘Still Loving You’ and ‘Wind Of Change’. Lead singer Klaus Meine had extensive throat surgery early in his career, and many questioned whether he’d ever sing again. Nearly 30 years later, they’ve been proven emphatically wrong.
The Fire-Loving Industrial Psychopaths: Rammstein
Named to commemorate an airshow disaster in a town of the same name (as well as to portray the style of their music, ‘ramming stone’), Rammstein have become icons of the fiery metal genre. Performing in German, English, French, Spanish and Russian, the band have recently released their sixth studio album, and continue to divide audiences with a lively stage show that many critics describe as bordering on violent.
The Politically-Influential, Controversial Rockers: MIA
MIA is so steeped in deep, debate-ensuring politics that their music is sometimes overlooked entirely, and articles about them can often be found in the ‘opinion’ or ‘debate’ section of German newspapers, particularly for their praise of the colours of the German flag, a controversial topic given the nation’s history. Following their fourth albums release in 2008, the band is currently taking a year long break from touring.
James Hendicott is a travel and music writer living in Ireland, and your guide to Celtic punk in the Music+Travel Worldwide from Museyon Guides. More of his work can be found at hendicottwriting.com. And be sure to tune in next Wednesday, for a new local playlist.
image via myspace.com/kraftwerk