Influenced by American bands like Nirvana, R.E.M., and Galaxie 500, German indie rockers Tocotronic started in Hamburg in 1993 when drummer Arne Zank and bassist Jan Müller, who had previously played together, added singer and guitarist Dirk Von Lowtzow to complete their lineup.
Taking their moniker from the German name for the Nintendo-made precursor to Game Boy, Tricotronic (elsewhere called Game & Watch), Tocotronic released their debut single, "Meine Freundin und Ihr Freund," in 1994, and soon they had signed to L'Age d'Or Records -- a label right at the heart of the Hamburger Schule movement -- which issued the band's debut album, Digital Ist Besser, in 1995. Nach der Verlorenen Zeit, Wir Kimmen Um Uns Zu Beschweren, and Est Ist Egal, Aber followed, and in 1999 K.O.O.K., a slightly more introspective record, came out (as well as its own remixed version and English version a year after that). In 2002, Tocotronic released their self-titled album, and in 2005, after longtime touring member Rick McPhail had joined the band on guitar and keyboards, the 12" Pure Vernuft Darf Niemals Siegen hit shelves. In 2007, Tocotronic parted ways with L'Age d'Or and signed with the Universal-distributed Vertigo Berlin label; their first album for Vertigo, Kapitulation, was released in the summer of that year, with a live album taken from their supporting tour appearing in 2008. In early 2010, Tocotronic returned with Schall & Wahn, which became their first album to rise to number one on the German charts. In 2013, Tocotronic scored another chart hit with the album Wie Wir Leben Wollen, while a limited-edition collection of rare recordings and live tracks, >20<, appeared later the same year. ~ Marisa Brown, Rovi