The Five Must Hear Krautrock Songs of 2012

Lower Dens. Photo: Shawn Brackbill

If you’re not particularly fond of foreign cars, krautrock is arguably Germany’s finest export of the past century. There’s an unwritten rule that says in order to be considered an intermediate record collector, you must have at least one Can, Neu!, or Kraftwerk album in your collection and among musicians, it’s about as fast a ticket an artist can get to aesthetic legitimacy as saying their favorite Velvet Underground song is “Sister Ray.” Some of 2012’s finest songs have adopted the elements of the genre, sculpting them into their image and bolstering their own styles in the process. Here are five examples of how to do kraut correctly from acts that aren’t typically known for their kraut leanings.

1. Lower Dens, “Brains”

The motorik beat that opens the first single from the Baltimore quartet’s high-minded opus Nootropics was a surprise in and of itself. The layered textures, rise in tension, and peaking climax made “Brains” not only absolutely stunning, but also one of the year’s very best singles. So good, in fact, that the track following it on the album is simply a two-minute addendum. Nootropics is out now on Ribbon Music.

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