Gang of Four & Opinions on Radiohead

Jim and Greg sit down with Andy Gill and Jon King, founders of the pioneering post-punk group Gang of Four. Plus they review the new album from Radiohead.

main image
Download Subscribe via iTunes

Music News

Wherever there’s youth culture and protest, there’s rock and roll. So it’s not surprising that heavy metal is at the top of many playlists in Bahrain right now. According to Evolver.fm, the mood of that country is triumphant and warlike if the music’s any indication. Lastmood.fm uses Last.fm’s audioscrobbler to monitor people’s listening habits and gauge the vibe in almost real time. The most popular song in one hour was The Ivory Gate of Dreams by Fates Warning. But, activists and musicians from the region are also popular. A Bahraini activist, Esra’a Al Shafei, started mideastunes.com which highlights everything from Jordanian punk to Palestinian trance.

Fast Company has named its top ten most innovative companies in music, and a the top of the list is Pandora. It’s remarkable, considering that Pandora was nearly put out of business by royalty debates a couple of years ago. Now it’s valued at $55.2 million and has gone public. The streaming site has also inked a deal with GM. Last year’s #1 Spotify didn’t even make the cut, but it’s been reportedly valued at $1 billion—despite the fact that the digital music service has yet to launch stateside.

Gang of Four

When your musical heroes have their own musical heroes, you know it’s worth checking out. And one name that always gets checked by everyone from Franz Ferdinand to REM is Gang of Four. The British band debuted in 1979 with Entertainment!, an album that showcased Andy Gill’s unorthodox guitar style, Jon King’s smart lyrics, and a whole lot of danceable groove. The band is still going strong on its latest release Content, and Jon and Andy sat down with Jim and Greg while they were on tour.

In Rainbows Radiohead

The King of Limbs - Live from the Basement

Whenever Radiohead releases a new album, it always makes news – sometimes more for the business than the music. 2006’s The Eraser was a quiet solo effort by Thom Yorke. 2007’s In Rainbows had a revolutionary pick-your-own-price model. And now we have The King of Limbs, which was released early, quickly and without much hype. Gone is the freebie option, back is tiered pricing. The music, to Greg, is also a bit of a step back. It’s less impactful and melodic than In Rainbows. But there are a few moments of greatness, especially when the group channels the abstract funk that Greg heard on Yorke’s recent Atoms for Peace tour. He would like to see Radiohead go more in that direction on the next record and gives this one a Burn It. Jim remarks that the tables have turned – he is much more impressed by The King of Limbs. It does take time to grow, but is worth owning, especially if you are a headphone listener. The interaction of Yorke’s twisted vocals and the grand piano especially works. Jim says Buy It.

Greg

The Gang of Four were heavily influenced by Chicago blues, and perhaps no label better represents that sound than Alligator Records. The label, run by blues fanatic Bruce Iglauer, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. To toast them, Greg adds one of his favorite tracks by Hound Dog Taylor to the Desert Island Jukebox. It’s the stripped down, raw, mood-setting song Give Me Back My Wig.

Dear Listeners,

For more than 15 years, Sound Opinions was a production of WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. Now that the show is independent, we're inviting you to join the band and lend a hand! We need your support more than ever because now we have to do all the behind-the-scenes work that WBEZ handled before (like buying insurance and paying for podcast hosting, ugh). Plus, we have some exciting ideas we'd like to try now that there's no one to tell us no!