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The Notwist

Biography

Though few Americans heard of them until they buffed down their most clattery Teutonic edges, the Bavarian-bred Notwist have long been a definitive German band, serving as an intersection of any number of sprockety sonic streams. Revolving around brothers Markus and Michael Acher, the band materialized near Munich at the end of the '80s as an only slightly off-kilter punk power trio. But by 1995's 12, the Notwist were putting fanciful dystopian machine worlds on their CD covers, stretching song lengths, and creating an intermittently string-sectioned and increasingly spacious species of doomsday art-rock, as indebted to early Metallica as to Can; an impossibly sad and sweet 1994 cover of Robert Palmer's forgotten electro-pop track "Johnny and Mary" proved a clear turning point. In 1997, the band added a keyboardist, and before long was collaborating with techno artists. As they upped the glitch quotient on 1998's Shrink and especially 2002's critic-approved Neon Golden, indie fans outside Europe took notice. If The Devil, You + Me got less attention six years later, that says more about hipster fickleness than any slippage on the Notwist's part.
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