What we all want: a new Gang of Four album?

Gang of Four's Jon King

Well here it comes: according to bassist Dave Allen, there’s a new all-digital Gang of Four album in the works. If I had to point the finger at just one, I’d say that Gang of Four’s first release Entertainment! is possibly my favourite album ever, and the follow-ups Solid Gold and companion EP Another Day, Another Dollar are also fantastic. Then they lost their rhythm section and everything went a bit wrong until 1995’s Shrinkwrapped.

So I was overjoyed when they reformed with the original lineup a couple of years ago and I actually got to see the band play. They might have aged but hey – it suits them! I’ve seen their dorky performance on the Old Grey Whistle Test. These days Jon King is proper menacing. But I digress.

They reformed just at the right time, at a point where a load of bands who were basically churning out watered-down GoF while being lauded for their ‘innovation’ had shown there’s an audience for this stuff – an audience who deserved to hear it done by the people who influenced generations of musicians (I’m sure the Minutemen would have joined them but… well that clearly can’t happen). What I still don’t understand is why they chose to complement the subsequent wider tour with Return The Gift, compilation of their re-recorded classics. Why? Who does that? Entertainment! is perfect as it is.

At least, I said at the time, they should try recording something new. And now they are. Password is my favourite of the demos. But I’m worried. They’re in a tight spot. Now they’re back with almost the original lineup (sadly missing Hugo on drums), but they’re returning to a saturated post-punk market. In a way the post-punk ‘revival’ has already moved on and evolved just like it did before – except this time, instead of new wave, we got nu rave and a whole lot more.

Will they be able to remain important, edgy, and exciting? Will da yoof be able to distinguish them from 57,000 other angular-guitar-and-funky-bass outfits? I sincerely hope so. But I’m not sure that looking to the past it the way to do it: although a lot of people don’t even seem to know of its existence, Shrinkwrapped worked for me because it did at least feel relevant – a reflection of the band’s new home country and the seedier sides of American consumer society.

I hope they can do something like that again, even if it doesn’t recreate the original, urgent asthetic I loved so much, because surely that belonged to 1979 – and now they’ve got to prove themselves again. Good luck, lads. I’ll be listening.

Photo courtesy of Mediaeater/Creative Commons

Throttling has occurred


If you’re anything like me, every day you wake up and shout into the sky: “why hasn’t someone made a giant online archive of comic book frames featuring people being strangled, squeezed and generally held a little too tightly for comfort in the neckular region?”.

And the following day – and therefore also every day – you realise you are shouting into emptiness and you are overwhelmed by the futility of your fruitless existence. Well, not this time. Because my associates responsbile for the hilarious and enigmatic Goaste have just launched Throttling:

Hopefully, in time, every throttle in the world will be recorded here, for your throttling pleasure, and for ours, and every neck in the world will be crushed by our fingers as we throttle and scream and laugh and throttle some more.

And now all our lives can be complete.