Uh oh. Miks usually beats me to Gang of Youths posts but finally it’s me with a handful of sentences to try and explain why I can’t stop caring about what these dudes do. Could get gushy, you should brace.
Well if you put a gun to my head and asked me what the best art looks like, I would:
1. Suspect that’s not really your question. Because, you know, the gun.
2. Quickly pick a serious answer in a spike of panic (probably as you start squeezing the trigger), and blurt out: “just a human, easily seen.”
I realise that would be an awkward thing to say and I would still get shot. But it could be true and more importantly I think Dave Le’aupepe is a vivid example of this very thing.
Not so much in his press persona, where he is unpredictable and cut-throat honest, but still oddly mysterious. I mean there’s a whole other piece in that. But I’m talking songs.
‘Benevolence Riots‘ shows new colours sonically – there’s a flip to a resigned vocal that cuts through a surprisingly snappy song structure. But the key element for me is stronger than ever – the unusually deep heart. By heart I guess I mean that it has these undertones to it. Like a messy collision of many things I grapple quietly with myself, but spread out loudly in a spectacular, tragic, desperate, beautiful way.
For example, I get washed around from intelligent altruism to resigned devotion, dark cynicism to desperate hope, blue collar clarity to the confusion of human greatness, equality, craftsmanship, earning, failure and most of all: the deep unspeakable grind and reward of costly human relationships.
Heavy, complex, yes. And maybe I am too much of a fan to write this – but if you put this with their other songs to date, I swear all that stuff is in there.
It’s mostly Dave we’re seeing, though like most great bands I sense that the other guys have more to do with us hearing this stuff than we’ll ever know. Certainly these are an oddball bunch in their own right, possibly bonded now both as fun loving bros and more like actual brothers who have spent 2 years on a kicking bull together. That part you can feel live. But I’m digressing.
For mine, I’d take these songs straight. Like, neat. Raw on one of those prison cafeteria trays. Thus I’m not craving any more shimmer or dressing than we get here. But it is rather lovely shimmer, so I don’t mind if we get a lush record. As long as they keep Dave’s ‘easily seen heart’, I’m in.
Have I explained myself well? Maybe not. I still don’t really understand why I love this band so much. But I’ll say this – if we do get the album that these songs point at (next year?) I’ll be buying a physical copy so I can keep it near to me when I sleep. Music, hey.
oh geez miks, shuttup already about your mates GOY. we know they’re one of your fave bands, but seriously, mate, it’s ok. i think people are starting to come round.
New Gang Of Youths owns.
With their debut album due out in the second half of this year, I reckon ‘Poison Drum’ will be just what you fuckers need until you go and see ’em live. The newy consolidates on that raucous energetic wall of noise and makes it epic. When I saw the track lasted for 6:26, I had to double check. Really? I thought I only just clicked play…testament to these boys though – they manage to pack in an awful lot without making it feel like it’s actually close to double the pop-song time formula.
And mate, those live shows. If I had a recommendation, it would be to skip the big shows and check out the band’s headliners (if you can of course). There’s something about being stuck in a packed sweaty medium sized venue with these boys losing their shit on stage. Some of my fave live music moments up here in Sydney have involved these fellas. You can find more out about the headline shows here.
I could go on about my year and how it’s been hard man, but this kid here is finding himself a little resolutionary so I is gonna stop with that ‘ahhhh phd’s are hard and everything else has suffered as a result’ line. This here is pretty simple. Got streams of all the tracks as well as a bloody mixtape with all of them in it n shit.
The tracks below are definitely not in any kind of order, that would be too hard. But, they are the tunes that received a hell of a lot of plays by both myself and you guys. So that’s kinda cool.
Freakin’ enjoy it you guys.
So if you believe in hype, then you’d believe in Gang Of Youths. But then again, even if you simply believe in a solid live band writing some damn catchy tunes, then you’d still believe in GOY. If you’ve caught these fellas live before, you’ll know that this is where they make their greatest impact. Every single show the boys work up a sweat, and it’s kind of infectious, even if the room is half full.
That’s what it is about GOY that I think is the most interesting, the most fascinating, the thing that sets them apart. There’s this really personal and insular nature to their work – it is very much about the five of them being together and playing for each other. The fact that you might be there enjoying it is simply an added bonus.
Even on record, there is this incredible energy, something I haven’t heard for a while. New track ‘Evangelists’, is testament to that, so much so that it’s been on repeat since our mates at whothehell premiered it earlier on this week. As with a lot of GOY’s work, hidden behind that really big pop anthemic sound, is something pretty dark, and something rather personal. And, once again, it really comes back to their live show. This dark energy that the fellas manage to capture on record is really something else in a live context. It really is visible.
If you’re keen to check out GOY, do it soon. The band are heading over to the states for a fair while in a couple of months. Lucky for you then that their actually playing a fair few shows around the traps before the move. The guys are supporting Cloud Control on their national tour (dates here) and are playing a showcase gig at Oxford Arts alongside Louis London, Bearhug and a couple of others (dates here).
yikes. so this is kinda bumper. Like proper bumper. At 1hr and 17mins, it’s got everything you need to get nostalgic about the month just gone…or perhaps everything you need to play catch up on the month that’s just gone. Either way, it’s a solid mix.
And as a quick aside, turns out soundcloud only lets you upload 2hours worth of stuff until you have to start paying. So it’s back to the ugly wordpress player for this month.
DOWNLOAD (Right Click/Save As)
Monone Alone – The Business World
Jen Cloher – Toothless Tiger
Gang Of Youths – A Sudden Light
Nick Van Breda – The World And The Everyday (Right Click/Save As)
Jimmy Tait – All My Friends
Prudence Rees-Lee – Morning
The Guppies – RSVP To My Funeral (Right Click/Save As)
Midnight Juggernauts – Memorium
George Maple – OPST
Oscar Key Sung – It’s Coming
Baptism Of Uzi – Stray Current (Right Click/Save As)
Movement – Feel Real
Lancelot – You’ll Never Be Mine
Jensen Interceptor & CSMNT61 – Angle of Incidence
Flight Facilities – I Didn’t Believe (Feat. Elizabeth Rose)
Du Tonc – Surging Memories
Willow Beats – Alchemy
The Townhouses – Diaspora (Japanese Wallpaper Remix)
So if these gents aren’t on to something big, then I don’t know what the fuck to believe. Over on the Gang Of Youths soundcloud page, the first track I ever heard from the boys, ‘Strange Diseases’ has been taken down leaving just the amazing and haunting ‘Riverlands’ as well as a newy, ‘Knuckles White Dry (Car Ride Home)’. And whilst taking down a track doesn’t necessarily mean anything, that coupled with the boys relentless gigging, teaming up with Mirror Music, and posting pics of them in the recording studio over on their facebook page has Detective Miks thinking that somethin’s goin’ on. Maybe a proper re-record of the track?
But all we got to go on at the moment is the new track. As opposed to that big anthemic pop that ‘Strange Diseases’ nailed, the new track sounds much like ‘Riverlands’ in that it’s a distorted piano just with vocals as well as some added guitar. It is seriously nice too.
Seriously keep an eye on these gents. 2013 will be a massive year for ’em I reckon!
There’s one song that has been in my head non-stop. For a whole week. And, man, it actually isn’t annoying the hell outta me. that’s pretty rare!
Gang Of Youths are from up here in Sydney town (first time I’ve put ‘up here’ and ‘Sydney town’ in such close proximity – but hey, happy to claim Sydney as home when there’s bands like GOY). They’re also pretty versatile. The aforementioned non annoying song, ‘Strange Diseases’ is one of those anthemic pop songs that, you can imagine, live, would be pretty fucking incredible to see.
Then there’s their track ‘Riverlands’. Something on the other end of the freakin’ spectrum. It has this overexposed but still mellow sounding piano, and this deep brooding voice that transports you to another place.
If you dig, and your up in Sydney, then make sure you check out these boys live – they’re playing at FBi Social on Sat March 9. Details here.