Gang of Four formed back in the late 70s in Leeds, UK, as one of England's most foremost post-punk bands.
The band includes original member Andy Gill, as well as new line-up including frontman John 'Gaoler' Sterry. They recently unveiled 'Broken Talk' feat. Alison Mosshart from The Kills, which will appear on their forthcoming ninth album What Happens Next, available to preorder here.
To mark this release, Andy Gill has put together a list of his current top 10 tunes, as well as telling Fred Perry Subculture the following about the post-punk subculture and Gang of Four:
When Gang of Four started I wanted to create a new musical language concomitant with the new language of questions and observations that were in the lyrics we were developing. I suppose it became the most identifiable strand of what is sometimes called post-punk, and went on to influence most of the great bands that followed like REM, the Chilli Peppers, the Futureheads, Bloc Party and so on. Stylistically it's enormously influential; I guess you could call it a subculture in that it includes a way of looking - savvy, sophisticated, questioning, satirical and ironic.
'Wanderlust' Wild Beasts
Number one on my jukebox at the moment. It's a simple, repetitive riff - the dynamics come from these funny old keyboard sounds coming in and then dropping out, and the awesome vocals, and cool lyrics.
'On Call' Kings of Leon
Caleb's Voice is a thing of beauty; simultaneously sweet and gritty. It must be weird being in a band full of relatives.
'The First Cut is the Deepest' I - Roy
Of all the dub stars, I - Roy is one of the least well-known, but the album Presenting I - Roy from the mid 70s is definitely in my top five all-time faves. In his voice you hear pain, joy, optimism, fun and sadness as he toasts about his life and loves. What an extraordinary voice; so rich and so full of life. 'The First Cut is the Deepest', you will remember, was written by, as he was then called, Cat Stevens. You may also remember that Rod Stewart did a so-so version of it that was a big hit, but this version OWNS it; it is the all time conquering version of what is a superb song.
'Nickels and Dimes' Jay Z.
I think this is my favourite Jay-Z track, beautiful melody and it's spooky and real and mysterious.
'Not Dark Yet' Bob Dylan
The production isn't always the thing you think about when you think about Bob Dylan. Although Dylan struggled in his work with Daniel Lanois I think it was a great collaboration. The instrumentation, and the sheer liquid languorous sound on 'Not Dark Yet' seems to me to be fundamental to the song; it's hard to picture it without those swirling slide guitars and rolling, epic toms. You are completely transported to a sweltering southern shack with lizards on the walls, close by the river. As the sun goes down, Dylan meditates on mortality.
'Marrow' St Vincent
Suddenly music goes all a bit post-modern. The groove seems to have been made out of Lego bricks. Is that a guitar or a horn section? Oh, it's a new language! I know about new musical languages. This gets under your skin.
'Can't hold my Liquor' Kanye West
Dreamy, mystical, heavy, brutal, sensitive, funny. Michael Azerrad told me that he listened to it with Lou Reed who had tears running down his face.
'Fang Mich An' Herbert Gronemeyer
This is a from Herbert's new album. He is a great poet; kind of Germany's Bob Dylan. He has the most extraordinary voice and it's a great honour for me to have him singing on the new GANG FOUR album coming out early next year. This track isn't on Spotify, but you can listen/stream over on his website.
'Close your Eyes' Run the Jewels
I've just recently found out about this lot. It's tough, dirty, quite simple and has real energy and authenticity, and not to mention a little bit of humour.
'Cypress Avenue' Van Morrison
So, okay, this has to win the song Andy Gill is the least likely to like, let alone put in the top 10. Somewhere, somewhere along the line, many, many years ago I realised that Van Morrison had a voice to be reckoned with, and the songs he created and the sound he made was unique to him. Astral Weeks is his masterpiece. Every song places you immediately in a location somewhere in the past with fantastic characters and bizarre stories. When I was in Belfast I saw the little house he grew up in, and then, round the corner I saw the majestic middle-class Cypress Avenue and I immediately, profoundly understood what that song, 'Cypress Avenue', is about - it’s about longing, a heart wrenching longing for something which is maybe just out of your reach.