Tocotronic is a German rock band founded in 1993 (see 1993 in music). Similar to Blumfeld or Die Sterne they are considered a part of the Hamburger Schule (Hamburg School) movement. They are influential for bands such as Wir sind Helden.
Tocotronic were signed by L'Age D'Or, a German independent record label situated in Hamburg, in 1994 after quickly gaining popularity in the local scene. Their early style consists of ironic sloganeering ("I want to be part of a youth movement") and almost diary-like songwriting, paired with a lo-fi rock sound with elements of punk rock and grunge. In 1995, they released their debut album Digital ist besser (Digital is better), followed by their second album Nach der verlorenen Zeit (After the Lost Time) only a few months later. Their third album, released in 1996, was the first to hit the German charts. The music became more complex over time, their lyrics less direct, resulting in a sound that was compared to that of Pavement on Tocotronic's 1999 album K.O.O.K. The self-titled "White Album", released in 2002, features dreamlike songs; metaphoric, heavily produced, highly polished, it completes a slow but steady course away from their early works ("eins zu eins ist jetzt vorbei" - "one-to-one is over now").
Despite never being overly commercially successful, Tocotronic have a steady fanbase in Germany and their records are regularly reviewed and acclaimed in mainstream newspapers and music magazines alike.
In July 2007, Tocotronic released their eighth studio album, Kapitulation. Also, around this time, the band announced the end of their working relationship with long-time label L'age D'or, and consequently, Kapitulation was released by Vertigo Berlin, a sublabel of Universal music. Their ninth studio album, "Schall & Wahn", was released in January 2010 and became their first number-one record. Wie Wir Leben Wollen, was released on 25 January 2013 and Tocotronic (commonly known as "Das Rote Album", or "The Red Album") was released on 1 May 2015.
The current band members and positions are Jan Müller (bass), Arne Zank (drums), Dirk von Lowtzow (rhythm guitar, vocals), and, since 2004, Rick McPhail (lead guitar, keyboard).
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