Posts Tagged ‘Gang of Youths’

Gang Of Youths (pic by Ed Cooke)

Aussie indie legends Gang Of Youths have announced their long-awaited third album – along with a massive nationwide tour to celebrate. Inspired by the passing of singer David Le’aupepe‘s father and his love of horticulture, “Angel In Realtime” is a love letter to family and the sacrifices people make along the way for the ones they love.

“My dad was a gifted and passionate gardener. It’s where he funnelled a lot of his energy and sensitivity, and despite our humble economic status, we were always surrounded by beauty,” the singer explained.

“The journey he made from Samoa to NZ to Australia was a difficult and inspiring one, but also fraught with mistakes, regret and terrible choices. I like to think he was building something beautiful,  and pondering what life had given him in spite of his mistakes and concealment. We never knew his story until after he died, so this is the most poetic interpretation of his affinity for gardening that I could think of.”

Le’aupepe added, “I hope the record stands as a monument to the man my father was and remains long after I’m gone myself. He deserved it.”

“Angel In Realtime” is slated for release 25th February 2022, check out their new single Tend The Garden 

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At this point, there’s no telling the heights Gang of Youths are set to climb. But as they continue to rise, their music is firmly rooted in where they’ve been. The Australian-born, London-based rock band seem to be filling an interesting void between pop-rock and indie, and after dropping the total serene EP earlier this year, are back with another lower-case, bigger-sound single called “the man himself.”

The track finds Gang of Youths singer Dave Le’aupepe meditating on the loss of his father, using his memory as a foundation to power forward and heal. “the man himself” is about grieving and loss, but also provides a compass on how to reflect the past in our future. “If I ever have kids,” Le’aupepe says, “I’m not really sure how to raise them without my dad helping me out.”

This anthemic, almost-hymnal track is a pretty good start. here is ‘the man himself’, a tune from our upcoming record. we love this track. listen out for ‘Imenetuki Mangaia’ at the song’s core, recorded by the wonderful David Fanshawe on the island of Mangaia a lifetime ago. the magnificent indigenous performers are the stars of the song, we can’t thank them enough

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the angel of 8th ave.

“The Angel of 8th Ave.” is one of those types of song explanations whereas it may be best if we reveal the spoiler from the jump. And that is the titular “Angel of 8th Ave.” is actually a reference to the vocalist’s significant other. More specifically, Gang of Youths’ lead singer David Le’aupepe based this story on two different factors in his life. First is his relationship with his wife. And second would be the fact that the whole Gang of Youths recently relocated to London. And it is such where the song is generally set.

But whereas there is at least one solid reference to London, that is not to say that the narrative is set therein per se. For instance, Le’aupepe also gives a shoutout to “Washington Square” which, as far as we know, is in New York City. So it appears as if the specific metropolis this song is set in is not what’s really important. 

So if one reference points to New York and another to London, the one thing they do have most in common is being prominent metropolises. And again, such a setting is the one in which this narrative takes place. Or more to the point, as explained by the singer, is this love story being situated “in a new city” the narrator is now discovering.

The video is directed by Emile Frederick and both the video and the performance by the band’s frontman playing a stripped-back take on the track really emphasises the emotional core of the song. The raw production of the piano version allows the heart of the song to flow as Le’aupepe gives a suitably powerful performance: his eyes are closed and his face is concentrated as he delivers the sincere and thoughtful lyrics about the feeling of falling in love in a strange new city.

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One month ago today, Sydney rock band Gang Of Youths returned with “The Angel Of 8th Avenue”, their first new song since 2017’s “Go Farther in Lightness”. The track infused the group’s hearty arena-indie sound with some War On Drugs/Killers style synth action, and upon its release, singer David Le’aupepe told Zane Lowe, “It’s probably the only song that you’ll hear from us from now that sounds remotely kind of what we sounded like the previous kind of six to eight years.”

Today, we get our first test case for that statement. Gang Of Youths have surprise-released a new EP called “Total Serene“. It includes three tracks, starting with the aforementioned “the angel of 8th ave.” The closing song, “Unison,” is much moodier and more low-key than usual — the new lowercase fixation is starting to make sense — but it ends with some hard-hitting drums that may or may not be programmed. “unison” sounds not unlike Elbow, whose “Asleep In The Back” title track is covered on the EP as well, though the National and U2 come through big time as well.

“‘Unison’ is a deeply important track for us that really signals where the music is headed on the new record,” Le’aupepe says in a press release. “I conceived the song in Samoa, my ancestral homeland. Here we sample and introduce the work of David Fanshawe, who travelled to the Pacific Islands in the 1980s and recorded the most extensive library of indigenous Pacific music anywhere in the world.” As for the Elbow cover: “We love Elbow and we thought it was thematically relevant. It couldn’t have been anything other than ‘Asleep In The Back.’”

Gang of Youths are an Australian indie rock group from Sydney. The band consists of principal songwriter David Le’aupepe, Max Dunn, Jung Kim, Donnie Borzestowski, and Tom Hobden. 

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After Re-emerging recently, Gang of Youths have officially released ‘The Angel of 8th Ave’.

Self-produced and recorded in their own studio in Hackney, the single arrives with a Joel Barney-directed music video filmed in the Aussie band’s adopted town of Angel, Islington North London and meets all your charismatic, dancing Dave Le’aupepe needs. 

Built on a surging tempo and gritty bassline ornamented with shiny acoustic strums, Le’aupepe says ‘The Angel of 8th Ave’ was inspired by “falling in love, and finding a new life in a new city together.”

It’s at once an ode to the frontman’s wife and to the band’ relocation to the U.K after 2017 album Go Farther In Lightness made them one of Australia’s most celebrated bands. The track has the same electric indie rock grandiosity of that record, right down to the familiar way Le’aupepe stakes his romance in big poetics:  

You called each of my sorrows by name, and a tide of tender mercies shook my body from the grave in the festival years of our makeshift parade, Through perpetual fall and immeasurable rain.

As far as comebacks go, ‘The Angel of 8th Ave’ plays it relatively safe. But don’t expect that to be entirely the case for Gang Of Youths’ next body of work.

“This is probably the only song that sounds anything like what we used to do, if I’m honest,” Dave Le’aupepe tells us

He confirms that a new project is coming “at some point in the next year or so” and that ‘The Angel of 8th Ave’ was written a few years ago and underwent “15 versions” before landing on what is “about as close to what people would have Gang of Youths as in 2017, when we did our last anything…”

“That’s probably by design. I think easing people who love what you’ve done into something that’s extremely different or could potentially polarise people is what we wanted to do with this track.”

It took me just 37 seconds to realise how great Gang Of Youths when they released their second studio album,album “Go Farther In Lightness” was.  that it would be the album of the year. This album was a game-changer for me and this band. With a nod towards the optimism and kindness the band have found by surviving their various ordeals, this record continues the work that has already so indelibly imprinted on fans across the world. Go Farther In Lightness bears the scars of the band’s painful history, flashing their wounds with the same candor as The Positions but seeking to draw new lessons from their struggle to endure. Attempting to compartmentalise the past five years into 16 tracks is no mean feat, but the band come away with songs which encourage listeners to persevere as they’ve tried to, empathising with those who’ve brushed up against death, suffering and loss every step of the way.

Before Go Farther In Lightness, I hadn’t really paid Gang Of Youths a whole lot of attention but as soon as I heard the opening lines of Fear & Trembling and Dave Le’aupepe’s vocals I knew they were a band for me. At the album’s heart though, it’s Le’aupepe’s candour that draws listeners in and holds them tight. This is the type of music that makes you want to keep living. Even when you feel like all hope is lost.

“Go Farther In Lightness” will also prove that frontman Dave Le’aupepe as one of Australia’s foremost songwriters” and it’s a sentiment I stand by. It’s also become very apparent given the attention the group have received since the album’s August 2017 release. Foo Fighters and Mumford & Sons don’t pick you as stadium tour supports without good reason, you know? Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz also called them the “best fucking band in the world right now”.

This an album of earnest, honest and vivid lyricism from Le’aupepe, paired with striking and varied arrangements from guitarist Joji Malani, keyboardist Jung Kim, bass player Max Dunn and drummer Donnie Borzestowski that draw on everything from Bruce Springsteen to classical music.

”The whole point of Go Farther In Lightness was to make, and is to make, the arc of my life, more or less, about the process of repairing, the process of being more human, more empathic, more authentic to myself, more aware of the people around me, more aware of the world. To open myself back up to love and back up to life and try to negate the things in me that are life negating.”

Last year they broke venue records in Australia with their epic Say Yes To Life tour, which saw 21 shows, the launch of their own festival and thousands of people in attendance.

How to follow a debut album about cancer, which established your band as one of Australia’s most important? By crafting a near-80 minute opus split into three parts, each separated by grand orchestral interludes that take their titles from the psychoanalytic concepts of French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Jacques Lacan, that’s how. Frontman and songwriter David Le’aupepe has never been one to shy away from the grandiose, and so it is that Gangs’ second album wears its heart well and truly on its sleeve, moving from the widescreen Springsteen-esque storytelling of opener “Fear and Trembling” to the dense, string-laden ruminations of “Achilles Come Down” and the heartbreaking “Persevere”. It’s the ARIA Album of the Year for a reason.

Go Farther In Lightness deserves to be ranked with the very finest rock albums of 2017, no matter the country. Released in August — in the midst of ho-hum duds by North American arena-rock acts such as Arcade Fire and Foo Fighters  Go Farther In Lightness stands as one of the year’s most exhilarating “big” guitar-rock albums, delivering anthem after heart-busting anthem with a potent combination of instrumental muscle, lyrical insight, and Le’aupepe’s impassioned vocals.

Go Farther In Lightness extends beyond just the expansive tracklist, which clocks in at nearly 80 minutes over 16 songs. It is also baked directly into Gang Of Youth’s aesthetic, which balances furiously uplifting basement-show ragers like “What Can I Do If A Fire Goes Out?,” one of the year’s best and most immediate rock singles, with orchestral flourishes like “Achilles Comes Down,” a stunning “Eleanor Rigby”-style ballad scored for a string quartet by Le’aupepe himself.

The grand music suits Le’aupepe’s sweeping lyrics, which weigh heavy philosophical questions about the meaning of life, death, and conservative icon Ayn Rand, whom he despises, among other topics. When asked about the influences on Go Farther In Lightness in a recent interview, Le’aupepe listed a virtual syllabus: Martin Heidegger’s Being And Time, The Unbearable Lightness Of Being by Milan Kundera, lots of Nietzsche.

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“Go Farther in Lightness” earned Gang of Youths a whopping four ARIA awards in their native Australia but largely fell on deaf American ears and the rest of the World, which is strange considering it sounds like a Girl Talk-style mash-up album of every indie rock band thats been popular over the last decade. Over 77 minutes long , the record packs in a healthy mix of the Gaslight Anthem, the Walkmen, and its most obvious comparison, the National. The band breaks into a Springsteen stride by the second track, which sees frontman David Le’aupepe questioning his Christian faith, and from there they never break their pace. It’s odd to describe an album that debuted at number one in Australia as “overlooked,” the rest of us has some serious catching up to do.

Everything from modern Czech authors to ancient Greek mythology gets a liner note reference, but it’s the heartland rock scale-shift from grandiose (“a sky full of light”) to personal (“I am grieving the loss of myself”) that makes this a standout on the best Aussie album of the year. “The Deepest Sighs, the Frankest Shadows” is from the New Album “Go Farther in Lightness”

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Since they burst onto Australia’s indie rock scene in 2015 with their debut album, The Positions, Gang of Youths have been one of Australia’s best kept secrets. Their warped, proggy take on indie rock has gotten them fans around the world, and they’ve seemed like they’re on the cusp of breaking through in a big way.

Which is why we’re hyped to bring you this premiere of their brand new video for “What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out.” Made by Thomas Rawle, a self-taught animator, the song’s rushing riff is backed by images of fleeing animated fauna, warplanes, diving whales, and pirate ships. Here’s what Rawle said about the narrative arc of the video:

“With this clip, the band sent me some paintings by Norton Wisdom as a point of reference as well as television show Evangelion. There was also the desire to not have something super narrative driven, the song reminded me of the dread of running out of life in your life if that makes sense? So with that notion I kinda imagined a boy on the moon who has to fly down to save earth from a strange fire, he’s chased by giant flying sail boats which eventually end up being his vessel for rescue. It’s loose in terms of narrative so hopefully everyone can take something different from it.”

UK Tour dates

05.25.2017 Sound Control – Manchester, UK , 05.27.2017 Sound City – Liverpool, UK , 05.28.2017 The Sunflower Lounge – Birmingham, UK, 05.30.2017 Green Door Store – Brighton, UK, 05.31.2017 BarFly – London, UK

Sydney’s Gang Of Youths are one of the most thrilling and emotive live acts in music today, and if you’ve ever fallen for the pulverising, anthemic power that Arcade Fire dish out nightly when they’re on tour, then you could do worse than give them a listen.

Singer Dave Le’aupepe stars in their new video for ‘Magnolia’, a song about a heavy and somewhat heartbreaking subject matter which he’s written about in more detail on the band’s Facebook page

“June 3rd 2014, Mosely Street, Strathfield. In a state of puerile drunken delirium, reeling from having my heart fucked beyond all recognition and knowing my marriage was about to fall apart, I tried to kill myself.

“The want was gone. The care was gone and with the want and the care went the joy and the laughter and the will until all that was left was the heart, and it was tired. My friends called the police just in time to intercept me and I was taken to a clinic to detox from booze and began a process of healing and self-discovery that is still ongoing in my life today.
“I wrote a jaunty pop song called ‘Magnolia’ as part of that process as an apology to those I loved, a reaffirmation of myself and a commemoration of that moment I found myself as a jilted lover with a body full of liquor, feeling like the saddest and freest motherfucker in the cosmos…”

“It’s a claustrophobic and tense subject matter to be sure, so our brilliant, Melbourne-based director Josh Harris and I wanted to highlight the more wanton freewheeling and cathartic moments of what is at the strange euphoric heart of the song. A deep freeness, a sense of loss, a sadness; living somewhere between when the ‘want’ is gone and when every visceral desire is fierce and burning.
“After watching Singin’ In The Rain for maybe the millionth time, I figured that the sense of pathos in the track in conjunction with the pelvis-dominated, eyes-dilated, gyration-emphatic dancing and West Side Story on lower-east side drugs atmosphere in the video clip made for good drama and contrast. We wanted to highlight both the heartbreak and the fun, the urgency and poise and do it without the trite and bullshitty ‘restraint’ or ‘artiness’ that’s become, like, the recurring indie-alt-press bourgeoisie nightmare. It’s not ‘cool’ or anything, but you know. It’s fun. Dancing and smashing and burning stuff is fun.”