A More Perfect Union gets new govt. funding…is Gang of Youths’ festival coming back?

The Australian government has earmarked more than $400,000 (AUD) to help bring about a second installment of A More Perfect Union, the festival that Gang of Youths launched in 2018.

The funding is part of Australia’s RISE Fund grants, money set aside last year to support the country’s arts and entertainment industry and its attempts to “reactivate” after the COVID-19 pandemic. A More Perfect Union received $406,195 in the funding announced Friday, one of dozens of events to get financial help.

There’s no guarantee that we’ll see another A More Perfect Union festival, but earlier this month the band used its social media accounts to invite fans to follow the festival’s Instagram account.

And if you go back to the initial AMPU festival, Dave apparently promised the audience that “this isn’t a one-off.”

So, fingers crossed this funding helps makes it happen. And fingers crossed that the %[email protected]# pandemic doesn’t get in the way.

Go Farther In Lightness Returns to ARIA Album Chart

While Gang of Youths is busy promoting its new EP, Total Serene, the band’s most recent studio album is getting some love from music fans in Australia.

Go Farther In Lightness recently returned to the ARIA Top 20 Australian Albums chart. It looks like the album came back in about a month ago, right after the band dropped “The Angel of 8th Ave.” Since then, it’s been moving back and forth a spot or two at the bottom of the Top 20.

GFIL is up to No. 14 this week (the week of July 26) — a far cry from that 2017 debut in the No. 1 spot, but still cool to see for an album that’s just about four years old at this point.

(Thx Von D for the tip.)

Gang of Youths drops 3-song EP, Total Serene

Surprise, surprise! They said it was arriving in July but didnt give an exact date … which freed up Gang of Youths to drop Total Serene out of the blue on Thursday.

It’s listed as a “single” on Spotify, but the band is calling it an EP. Either way, Total Serene brings us two Gang of Youths originals and one cover:

  1. The Angel Of 8th Ave.
  2. Asleep In The Back (Elbow cover)
  3. Unison

We already know plenty about “Angel of 8th,” so today’s sudden release focused a lot on the other original song, “Unison.”

The 5:09 track begins quietly and eventually crescendoes into a footstomping beat that features support from the Auckland Gospel Choir. My first thought was that it sounds Mumford-y, but other GOY fans have (correctly IMO) pointed out that there’s a bit of the experimental, ’90s-era U2 in there, as well.

In an email to fans announcing the EP, the band revealed the significance of what we hear in “Unison.”

The track is the first release to feature samples taken from the archives of renowned composer, explorer and recordist David Fanshawe.

In the late 1970s, Fanshawe travelled to the Pacific islands and commenced work on a project that was to become the most comprehensive and important collection of indigenous Pacific music ever put to tape. His work is invaluable and we’re enormously grateful to his family for their collaboration and their continued work in stewarding this precious and significant collection. You can expect future releases to feature his recordings.

Similarly, in early 2020 we traveled to the “Polynesian capital of the world” — Auckland, NZ — to work with a team of exceptional traditional Maori and Pasifika musicians, singers and storytellers.

Pasifika and Maori identity has informed much of the next phase of our work, along with the extraordinary life of Dave’s late father, Teleso Le’aupepe.

The background there is terrific, and — along with the song itself — really helps to illustrate what the band said during the “Angel” launch about things going in a new direction.

There’s also the Elbow cover, which probably deserves more of a listen on my part before I have anything to say about it.

You can share your thoughts on the new material in our forum(s). We have a thread about Unison here, and a separate thread about Asleep In The Back here.

You can also join us on Discord if that’s your preference — we’d love to hear from you!