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OK, so Germans sound a lot like Weezer. But say what you will, there's something really likable -- comforting, even -- about a band that harks back to the kind of soaring, half-serious, adolescent rock that would have made Rivers Cuomo proud. It's the kind of sound that makes you feel at home. This is the kind of rock you'd expect to hear from the band next door -- you know, the first band you fell in love with long, long ago, before Weezer broke your heart. What's important, though, is that Germans have really done this style of rock justice. Cape Fear is bouncy, wry, and most importantly avoids pretension even as it strives to move beyond the mores of punk-pop. "Nature's Mouth" takes a dip into angular prog rock guitar techniques reminiscent of Yes (maybe Rush would be more accurate -- Germans are Canadian, after all), but for all its dissonance this song is pure, delectable pop. Germans seem to draw from their peers as well -- there's a good deal of maxed-out, sunshiny synth work on Cape Fear ("Pogos Abenteur," "M. Bison"), bringing to mind fellow Canadians the Golden Dogs. But the synths never get out of hand, the singsongy, somewhat cryptic lyrics never grow wearisome, the liberal swaths of distortion never lose their fizz (except maybe for the dentist's drill guitar whine on the last track), and Germans' stubborn insistence on playing college rock in a world gone post-punk revival never -- not even once -- strikes one as foolish. Even if it borrows heavily from the bespectacled indie rockers of yesteryear, Cape Fear is a solid debut, and what's more, it's fun. And at the end of the day, that's all that really matters. - All Music Guide


Who? There's something eccentric about Germans. Perhaps it's the fact that they actually hail from Toronto, Canada and not Deutschland, but that's just a testament to their quirky sense of humor. Check out their website (and look left) and you'll see band members, Leon Taheny, Steven Lappano, Moshe Rozenberg, Jesse Foster, and Aidan Koper posing in a droll family portrait.

What's the Deal? Their debut album, Cape Fear, unassumingly revives indie sounds of the '90s, with strong elements of Archers of Loaf and Teenbeat Records-era bands. Opening song "Tiger Vaccuum Bottle" is fast, loud, catchy and a good segue into "No Job," a poppy math-rock sing-along, which features a constant reverb hum amongst staccato moog/keyboard playing and delicate, raspy vocals. The album winds down with the fun, Nintendo-like instrumental song, "Pogos Abenteuer" and moog-heavy songs, "M. Bison" and "Browns."

Fun Fact: Multi-talented band member, Aidan Koper, was selected to perform "Stupid Human Trick" on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman. Actress Natalie Portman, who was also on the show, admired Koper's freakish ability to contort his body through a tennis racket while juggling. And coincidentally, this November, Koper will make an appearance showcasing his unique talents in a movie starring Natalie Portman and Dustin Hoffman. - Spin.com


I was sitting on the porch of my mid-sized house. The grass was a fresh green and the scent of summer stung my nostrils. The neighbors were out riding their bikes, playing street hockey, or skipping. There was a butterfly in the garden to my left and I kept my two blue eyes focused on the orange and black streaked wings. It landed on a rose bush that I had planted with my father last year before flying to the next tallest greenery in our weedy garden. I remembered cutting myself on that prickly rose bush many times while playing in the yard with my younger sister or my babysitter.

The sun beats down on my dark brown hair and our voices ricochet into the open air. The sand on the street picks up and swirls on the driveway, sounding like a ghost creeping in the dark. In the shade I feel warmer, and my gaze is replaced by fatigue. Inside my eye lids is a bright orange. My little sister chirps and her voice moves from the front of my head to the back, where it will remain in a blurry slur. I rest my head against the wooden railing, and the hive of June bugs across the way barely intrigues my eyes out of sleep.

I awake in a haste! Right on my knee, through the hole on my favourite pink sweatpants, a buzzing bee swarms before digging its pointy razor sharp stinger into my tiny knee. Ouchhhhhhhhhh! I have only gotten stung by a bee once before at Marine Land, this time was worse. My face swelled to a dark red and tears began flooding from my eyes. I clutched my knee and saw the inflamed skin where I had been attacked. I called for my Mom to come out and she scooped me up and hurried me into the air conditioned house. She sat me on the counter and got some ice from the freezer, I held it on my leg in intervals and switched hands at the same rate. My Pocahontas shirt was sprinkled with tears and my nose wet and runny. - Truth Explosion


Germans is a band name... not a nationality. This Toronto-based quintet is gearing up for the release of their debut album, Cape Fear, which will be released on March 20 in the US (it's available now in Canada). A throw back to the gold era of indie rock (Pavement, Archers Of Loaf, etc), Germans bring a wacky sense of humor to their lo-fi indie rock sound. Take a look at the video for the band's first single, "I Am The Teacher," below. If you like what you see, you can hit up their MySpace page for two free downloads. - The Tripwire


If indie trends continue the way they've been so far this decade-- that is, entire blocs of bands emerging at a time from the woodwork to "revive" the tropes and styles pioneered approximately 20 years before them-- we could be in for a lot of groups like Toronto's Germans in the near future. That's not to say the era of bands ripping musical ideas and fashion sense from the Cure, Smiths, and Duran Duran is anywhere near a close, but the Germans' bear-hug embrace of early 90s lo-fi and classic indie on debut Cape Fear sounds ahead of the hand-me-down curve.

Of course, there's a catch. Whereas aping, say, twitchy post-punk or shiny 80s pop initially felt somewhat novel for a lot of bands this decade, the novelty's pretty tenuous for the Germans, especially considering that the music they're recycling never really died out or became unhip. In fact, many of Cape Fear's touchstones-- Pavement, Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, Sonic Youth-- remain forces to be reckoned with to this day, even if as a different incarnation. However, Cape Fear clearly evokes a particular period and style, as evidenced by a tinny song like "Nature's Mouth", where catchy lyrics espousing a slacker ethos evoke Slanted & Enchanted-era Malkmus as markedly as Paul Banks first channeling Ian Curtis on "Obstacle 1".

On most tracks though, the band weaves together multiple influences rather than directly copping one style. Opener "Tiger Vacuum Bottle" alternates between a colossal Dinosaur Jr. jam and a meeker yet still punchy verse driven by early Modest Mouse octave riffs. Even if not wholly reflective of the band's sound, there are a lot of GbV moments on the record that feature big arena rock energy siphoned through a modest garage rock sound, such as the rallying cry chorus of "Franchise" or murky, mumbled vocals on "M. Bison".

While the Germans' material forfeits a lot in originality, they do attempt to imprint their own unique mark on their favorite sounds. Unfortunately, they try this by fusing synths, keyboards, and other electronic gadgets to the classic guitar, bass, and drums setup. While the occasional keyboard line doesn't hurt a song like "No Job", the cybernetic closer "Brown's" ends the album on a strange note, haphazardly meshing squawking vocals and xylophones reminiscent of I'm From Barcelona with a cheap drum loop and lazy synth lines. Blame the mixing by MSTRKRFT or just the general urge so many bands today have to use every gizmo in the studio, but Cape Fear devotes about two-thirds of its time establishing Germans as lo-fi retro-- a pretty dubious goal-- then pulls the rug out from under the listener with slapdash electroclash, essentially burying the time capsule immediately after exhuming it. - Pitchfork


Stop right there with the easy quip - Germans are from Southern Ontario and Cape Fear is their debut album. Upon first listen it sounds a lot like a collection of spirited jams referencing early ’90s alt-rock in the vein of Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement, but this clumsy characterisation is unfair to Germans. They are damn clever songwriters (amongst them, one Leon Taheny, producer of both Final Fantasy albums) whose skills become increasingly apparent with repeated listens. - Exclaim!


You've heard of That '70s Show. Meet That '90s Band. The Toronto band Germans are none too happy when it's suggested that their debut album, Cape Fear, conjures up memories of indie-rock circa 1995, with its offhand mix of jangly guitars, slacker vocals, wry wit and thrift-store keyboards. The obvious influences (Pavement, Dinosaur Jr.) are made plain and clear on the band's own MySpace page, but they still cringe a bit when the topic comes up.

“We knew there would be comparisons made,” admits drummer Jesse Foster. “The fact is that it originated from a two-piece karaoke project, with simple bass parts and simple melodies, and then we turned it into what it is. I don't know how it ended up sounding like all our favourite bands.”

“It's something we didn't even think about, but more and more people are bringing it up,” muses guitarist/vocalist Leon Taheny. “Now I'm worried we're going to be 'that '90s band.' A lot of bands who ask us to play shows are new grunge bands.”

Germans – not to be confused with a short-lived Thornhill band called The Germans – began four years ago with Aidan Koper and Steve Kado. Kado soon left to focus on the dozen other projects he had on the go at the time – including the nascent Blocks Recording Club – and Koper was focusing on astrophysics and becoming David Letterman's favourite contortionist. Seriously, you can look it up.

Much of Germans' early material survived and made its way into the current five-piece rock incarnation, which includes Tim Fagan and Steven Lappano of We're Marching On, Moshe Rozenberg of Better Than Everyone, and acclaimed local producer Taheny (Final Fantasy, Ohbijou). “It's really only in the last year and a half that we've been a band that practices once a week,” says Taheny. “Before that we'd just record and get drunk.”

That's about to change, now that Germans have signed to Portland-based indie Arena Rock Recording Company. Yet no one's about to slow down: We're Marching On has a new album en route and dates opening for Tokyo Police Club and Born Ruffians; Taheny is also playing in Nervous Sleepers and the solo project for former Death From Above 1979 singer/drummer Sebastien Grainger. (The latter will be opening for Bloc Party this spring.)

As one can gather from the band's extended family tree, much of their inspiration comes less from the absorbed influences of their suburban high school past, but by their immediate Torontopian surroundings. “Most of the music we listen to is stuff that our friends are making,” says Foster. “It's rare that I pick up an album where I don't know who actually made it.”

“Friends' music just sounds better,” adds Lappano.

Aidan Koper is the only German too busy to make our interview. For years he's been spotted sacrificing dozens of cheap keyboards when he performs spastic videogame music live as Oh No the Modulator, which Taheny also drums in. Other than that, explains Taheny, Koper is “working on calculating the angle of his hip and how to squeeze it through a tennis racket. He's also videotaping a lot of local shows and making collages. He's really into the idea of documenting everything's that happening in Toronto right now.”

Koper is also responsible for the hilarious video for “I Am the Teacher” (you can find it on YouTube, naturally), where a stop-motion parade of old Mac computers go on a tour of Toronto and beyond. The shoot was done in 12 days spread over several months. “Aidan bought this camera that had the animation function, and he had been collecting old computers for Oh No the Modulator,” explains Foster. “One of the computers didn't have any glass in the monitor, so that was the one we could do whatever we wanted with, like roll it down a hill or pour beer in it. But when I first saw the video, I didn't know that he planned to blow up the world.”

“That one shot cost $100, to buy the stock footage of the Earth exploding,” laughs Taheny.

“That was the only money we spent for the whole thing.” Foster adds, “You're going to see that shot in every one of our videos from now on.” - Eye Weekly


Discography

"Cape Fear" LP (Arena Rock Records)
"Friends in Bellwoods" (Compilation)

Photos

Bio

Germans are a rock band from Toronto Canada. They are a core duo of Billions Koper and Leon Taheny, who have been making music together since their meeting in an arts high school in Mississauga. Billions a major in art, and Leon a major in music, combined their love for toying with synths, samplers, and guitars with their appreciaton of tastful dancey music, like B52s and DEVO, to make a sound that is their own. Their music is created around their mutual enjoyment of life's finer moments. Running around the suburbs with your friends, driving to the beach with your girlfriend, sneaking into parties and tearing it up, the things that make the world a better place!

Aside from recording and playing shows, Germans self produce music videos, such as their stop motion video for "I am the Teacher" off of their 2006 debut Cape Fear (Arena Rock Records), and are currently working on 2 video treatments for songs to be released on 2010's album, Club Tan.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjZH0no0bYU

BIllions and Leon have been working with notable acts such as Final Fantasy, Sebastien Grainger, Ohbijou, and The Sick Lipstick, whether it be playing in their bands or producing their albums. They are currently putting the finishing touches on Club Tan, a 10 song album of loud and straight up pop/rock that has been in the works for the past couple years, and are ready to present it to the world! Come see these shits play, it's time for Germans to take over!!!