Letter from Max: “Working hard” on new album, Tom Hobden officially announced as new band member

“It’s been a while.” That’s how Max begins a lengthy band update letter that fans are starting to receive via email. And yes, it sure has.

Coming on the heels of those signs of life we mentioned a week ago, the email pretty much serves as the start of the band’s new campaign surrounding their upcoming third album.

It has several newsy items:

  • Gang of Youths has “spent this raging bin-fire of a year getting our shit together and recording our third album.”
  • They recently leased a space in London where they’re working on the album. If you’ve been paying attention to the band’s Instagram stories over the past week, you’ve seen that space already.
  • The email officially introduces Tom Hobden as the band’s newest member. Max describes him as “consummate British gentleman and new member,” and adds, “We love him.” Believe it or not, this is actually the first time the band has formally announced Tom as part of the lineup. They shared some sneaky clues on social media early in the year, and Tom played the band’s final three gigs of the year before the world shut down — including that epic Down to Earth relief concert in Melbourne. But the band never said anything official about him being part of the lineup until today. Welcome, Tom.
  • That new merchandise we mentioned last week? Max’s letter says the shirts are “more sustainable and ethical” — printed on Fairshare or Salvage t-shirts.

Not mentioned in the email is that the band … well, Warner Music more likely … has updated GangOfYouths.com. Rather than the Go Farther In Lightness image, the home page now features a silent video of the band performing — further confirmation that the GFIL era is over and they’re onto the campaign for album #3. Some of the other website content is the same as before, but now the Merch section has options for “Australia store” and “Rest of World store.” If you choose the latter, you end up at Warner Music’s UK store.

All of this is wonderful news and points to more activity in the leadup to that new Gang of Youths album. Pretty sure I can safely speak for fans around the world when I say: Bring. It. On.

Signs of Life? New Gang of Youths T-shirts, New Studio Clips

It might be a thing. It might be not a thing. But at least it gives us something to talk about. 😄

For the first time in a loooooong time, there are some signs of life in Gang of Youths-ville. Today, the band posted a series of short video clips as Instagram and Facebook stories — mostly funny stuff, but the final video in the series shows 10 seconds of Tom Hobden playing violin in a small studio room. Max is briefly seen looking on, while Jung is sitting in front of a couple screens and what I think is a laptop, too. Seems like he’s recording things. Or maybe playing Animal Crossing. Have a look for yourself.

A week ago (Oct. 15), the band shared a similar clip on IG/FB stories, but that one showed only Jung working in this same room. So, there’s a chance today’s clip (or even both clips, for that matter) was recorded on a previous date. Or maybe the guys were just working on something on both dates.

One more interesting thing: Gang of Youths’ official online store added two new t-shirts today, one in black and one in white. Both feature nothing more than the band’s name in what could be a new logo. Or maybe it’s just a random new design. (We’re a fan site; we’re here to overthink and speculate on stuff like this. Get used to it.)

Both shirts are available for pre-order now with shipping expected on November 17th.

It could all be coincidence, we know that. But studio clips on consecutive weeks, plus new t-shirts in the official store could also be some signs of life that Gang of Youths is getting active again. And if that’s the case … more, please. It’s not a minute too soon, as Aaron Wood’s tweet last month so perfectly reminds us.

10 Songs to Introduce Gang of Youths to a Bruce Springsteen Fan

(And now for our first post on DS in almost three months!)

When we last checked in with you, I had just gone on a Bruce Springsteen podcast called Set Lusting Bruce. On that show, I discussed my personal musical journey — specifically, discovering Gang of Youths a couple years ago and falling out of love with U2. It being a Springsteen podcast, I also talked with host Jesse Jackson about the Boss’s influence on GOY.

We had a really fun conversation — so much so that Jesse invited me to come back on and introduce both him and his listeners more formally to Gang of Youths. He asked me to send him a list of 10 songs that he’d listen to, and then we’d record another conversation about those 10 songs.

That episode was just published a few days ago! You can listen here.

Here are the 10 songs we discussed (in order):

  1. Fear and Trembling
  2. Sjamboksa
  3. Let Me Down Easy
  4. The Deepest Sighs, The Frankest Shadows
  5. Still Unbeaten Life
  6. The Heart Is A Muscle
  7. Magnolia
  8. Do Not Let Your Spirit Wane
  9. The Diving Bell
  10. Say Yes To Life

Without too many spoilers, Jesse enjoyed most of those songs and said he planned to keep listening to GOY. But as we talked, there were a couple of occasions when it was pretty obvious that the songs didn’t make as strong a connection as they could’ve simply because he didn’t know the full backstory — Dave’s full backstory with his first marriage, his suicide attempt, and all of that. I hadn’t thought of that, but it makes perfect sense in retrospect.

There were a couple moments, too, where rather than me teaching Jesse about GOY, he was teaching me indirectly about some Springsteen/GOY connections I would’ve otherwise missed. For example, consider these lyrics from “Sjamboksa” and “If I Should Fall Behind.”

Jesse also mentioned something about Bruce Springsteen always covering an Australian artist when he toured there before, which reminded me of how Gang of Youths (well, usually Dave by himself) would cover a “local” song when they toured in the U.S. in late 2018 (i.e., covering “Bloodbuzz Ohio” in Columbus).

Anyway … we had a long conversation, but I think you’ll enjoy it. (Please pretend you don’t hear me incorrectly say The Positions was released in 2016; I know it was 2015.)

Give it a listen here and let me know what you think!