PREMIERE: Legends of German Experimental Punk Scene Die Goldenen Zitronen Stream New LP, “Flogging a Dead Frog”
Lead single "If I Were a Sneaker" addresses European attitudes toward immigration.
Despite being legends of the experimental punk scene in their native Germany, and working with everyone from Peaches to Wesley Willis, Die Goldenen Zitronen (The Golden Lemons) have never made much of a splash in the United States. That might be because the group sing almost exclusively in German—a stumbling block to US ears that only Rammstein and Nena have been able to avoid. But it might also be because the music the group makes is difficult, challenging stuff. And unlike, say, Einstürzende Neubauten, who have managed to become a moderately recognizable influence in everyone from Liars to HEALTH, and who for a while shared Blixa Bargeld with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Die Goldenen Zitronen have no real North American disciples to wave their flag.
With Flogging a Dead Frog, which we’re premiering today in its entirety, the group hope to change all of that. The album consists of ten reworkings of classic Die Goldenen Zitronen songs in English. Lead single “If I Were a Sneaker,” which appeared on 2009’s Lenin as “Wenn Ich ein Turnschuh wär,” forms a counter-protest against the right-wing European groups protesting the mass immigration of Middle Easterners and North Africans into Europe—a message that has suddenly become more urgent in recent weeks as Syrians attempt to escape the ongoing civil war there.
But Flogging a Dead Frog isn’t some kind of shrill leftist pamphleteering exercise, either. The aforementioned “If I Were a Sneaker” burns on a weary drumpad beat, a handful of sleigh bells, and singer Schorsch Kamerun’s moans and squeals, with the group sounding a bit like Clinic staring into a set of klieg lights. “Der Flötist An Den Toren Der Dämmerung” takes its time to get going, with a gulping drum and hand-tapped cymbals doing the gentle prodding and a single electronic beep providing the pulse.
It’s tempting to think of Flogging a Dead Frog as unsettling and disruptive—two traits deeply associated with German art and music in the past forty or so years. And while it’s not without its challenging moments, it’s compelling both for the subtlety of its delivery and the sheer breadth of its sound. The intersection of Latin groove, James Murphy’s downtown NYC dance, and sinister European doom is in Hamburg.
You can listen to all of Flogging a Dead Frog below.
Flogging a Dead Frog track list
“Fan Without Fan”
“If I Were A Sneaker”
“Der Flötist An Den Toren Der Dämmerung”
“Cause I‘m Freezing”
“The Mayor Of Emerald City”
“This I’m Not Telling You”
Flogging a Dead Frog is out September 18 via Forced Exposure.