They're massively influential, frequently sampled, constantly name- dropped, and iconically German. They're Kraftwerk. The electronic music pioneers, whose name translates to "power plant," recently released their first album of new material since 1986's Electric Cafe. Entitled Tour de France Soundtracks after the famous bicycle race, the album actually hit shelves a few weeks after Lance Armstrong rode to victory once again.
A concept album celebrating the four-piece's long love affair with cycling (which 'bot Ralf Hutter once called "the perfect synthesis of man and machine"), Tour de France Soundtracks met with a lukewarm response by music buyers and critics. You see, Kraftwerk released the "Tour de France" single in 1983 as a teaser for their never-released album Technopop (work on the album was postponed after Hutter was nearly killed in, ironically, a cycling accident).