Gang of Youths

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Australia’s Gang of Youths are known for their poetic and intense brand of indie rock. They broke with their 2015 debut, The Positions, which hit number five on the ARIA Albums chart. Buoyed by the Top 50 single “Let Me Down Easy,” their sophomore album, 2017′s Go Farther in Lightness, reached number one on the albums chart and led to the group winning four ARIA Music Awards, including Album of the Year. In 2022, they released their third full-length, angel in realtime. Led by singer and songwriter Dave Le'aupepe, indie rock quintet Gang of Youths formed in Sydney, Australia in 2012. Just out of high school and citing Sonic Youth, the Replacements, early U2, and Leonard Cohen among his influences, Le'aupepe and friends from school and church — lead guitarist Joji Malani, guitarist/keyboardist Jung Kim, bass player Max Dunn, and drummer Donnie Borzestowski — released their first single, “Evangelists,” in 2013. It was picked up by radio, and buzz surrounding the band spread quickly. Gang of Youths started their own label, Mosy Recordings, and Le'aupepe began writing a set of songs motivated by a lung cancer diagnosis for his then-fiancée and his own subsequent battles with substance abuse and depression. In late 2013, the band headed to New York to record with producer Kevin McMahon (Real Estate, Titus Andronicus) before finishing tracking in Sydney. They soon played festivals including South by Southwest and accepted invitations to open for acts such as Vampire Weekend, Foster the People, and Manchester Orchestra. The resulting album, The Positions, was released in the spring of 2015 on Mosy in partnership with Sony Music. It became a Top Five album in Australia and led to five ARIA nominations. While Le'aupepe’s marriage didn’t last, his wife recovered her health, and the band played on, issuing the follow-up Let Me Be Clear in 2016. A collection of songs that were conceived during sessions for their debut but didn’t seem right for it at the time, it also included a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.” The EP climbed to number two on Australia’s album chart. The group returned in early 2017 with singles including “What Can I Do If the Fire Goes Out?” and “Let Me Down Easy,” the latter of which cracked the Australian Top 50. Both songs were included on their second full-length, Go Farther in Lightness, which arrived that August and hit number one on the ARIA Albums chart. Described by Le'aupepe as “my healing record,” the album garnered eight ARIA Music Awards nominations and ultimately took home four: Album of the Year, Best Group, Best Rock Album, and Producer of the Year (which the band shared with Adrian Breakspear). Gang of Youths’ third studio album, angel in realtime., arrived in February 2022 and found the band drawing inspiration from the life of Le'aupepe’s Samoan-born father who died in 2018 from cancer. Featured on the album were the singles “The Angel of 8th Ave.” and “The Man Himself.” ~ Matt Collar & Marcy Donelson