Whether you're into rap quartets or ethno-pop fairies, the German music scene has some creative new voices for you. Here is our selection of hot new albums made in Germany.
If you like Deutschrap - that is, hip-hop auf deutsch - Die Orsons are for you. They're basically a "best-of" quartett who've each got strong solo careers going as well: Tua, Kaas, Maeckes and Bartek. The Stuttgart-based rap label Chimperator - the guys who launched panda-masked Deutschrap star Cro - packaged up the four Orsons. And the boys prove that four fast tongues are better than one. Their flow lays electro nuances under clean, precise beats and tight texts gushing irony. If you speak German, you're at an advantage (though nothing you learned in German class will come in handy here).
Speaking of class, "What's Goes" is a bad translation of the German street slang for "What's up?" - "Was geht?" But with their refined sound, who's to accuse Die Orsons of not paying attention in school? The title track is an homage to the Deutschrapper's life, with plenty of pop culture references (Red Bull commercials) and social criticism (the refrain: "Everybody does as he pleases") thrown in for good measure. So don't crank up Die Orsons when your German-speaking mother is in the room - but do listen in for a taste of who's shaking up the street scene.
Chance of Rain
Piercings, tattoos and nerd glasses - Stephanie Heinzmann looks more like a boyish college student than a pop star, and the catchy tunes with a touch of soul that come out of her mouth don't quite seem to fit. But the 26-year-old from a small town in Switzerland is really taking off - perhaps precisely because she doesn't quite fit the typical pop mould.
"Chance of Rain" is already her fourth studio album and - despite the title - Stefanie writes on her website that "happiness" is at the heart of the English-language LP. And even if mainstream pop isn't your thing, the single from the disc, "In the End" will get stuck in your head. Guaranteed. Like so many other young stars from German-speaking Europe, Stefanie Heinzmann was first discovered in 2008 on a television casting show organized by Germany's leading TV personality, Stefan Raab.
If the Eurovision Song Contest in May is on your calendar, then Oonagh will fit into your playlist. She's not performing in Vienna, but the aesthetic lines up: Think fairies and mystic. Oonagh manages to mix New Age etherealness, primitive medieval rhythms and electronic in a pop package that's mainstream enough to launch her album to number eight on the German album charts - and win her two prestigious ECHO awards last month.
The aesthetic and mythology of Latin America are woven through "Aeria," and Oonagh filmed music video clips on location in Mexico for a magical flair that replaces medieval European landscapes with colorful storefronts and native American imagery.
Born as Senta-Sofia Delliponti, the 24-year-old enthno-pop newcomer has released her second album in just two years. She's embarking on a 13-stop Germany tour from April 15 to May 1. The name Oonagh, by the way, couldn't be more fitting: It was the name of a fairy queen from Celtic mythology who stood for lightness and creativity.
Evoluzion - Best Of
If you've been following the German music scene for a while, Söhne Mannheims will be old friends. In honor of their 20th anniversary, the fathers of German soul/pop have released a best-of compilation, which includes landmarks like their breakthrough single "Geh davon aus" from 2000 and "Ich will zurück zu dir" from their legendary 2008 MTV Unplugged concert.
What began as a musical project among friends in a Mannheim garage in 1995 has since seen 3 million records sold and countless awards. Söhne Mannheims were founded not as a fixed band but as a flexible group, which over 20 musicians have passed through over the past two decades. Co-founder Xavier Naidoo - who's since had the most successful solo career of the crew - left the ensemble in 2011 but returned to record "Rosenblätter," a new track on the album.
Apart from their pivotal influence on Germany's soul scene, Söhne Mannheims are known for political and social engagement and many of their songs contain Christian messages. The ensemble, for example, has openly supported the work of organizations like World Vision Germany and Amnesty International.
Kate Müser hosts DW's music magazine, PopXport.