Cody Critcheloe

“Real Power,” Gossip’s first album in 12 years, comes out on Friday. Earlier this week, The New York Times profiled the Portland-based band about how they got started, the intervening years since their breakup and what motivated them to get back together.

“I remember when we learned that people tuned their guitars between songs,” singer and Judsonia native Beth Ditto says in the piece, reflecting on the trio’s scrappy beginnings. Ditto formed Gossip in 1999 in Olympia, Washington, with two other Arkansans — guitarist Nathan Howdeshell and drummer Kathy Mendonça. Five LPs later, the group disbanded in 2016.


In the words of Times reporter Melena Ryzik, Gossip’s comeback was “not preordained, or even serendipitous — it was more instinctual, a product of punk energy, somehow sustained across time, space and adulthood.” Initially conceived of as a follow-up to “Fake Sugar” — Ditto’s 2017 solo album — “Real Power” started moving once Ditto reached out to Howdeshell, who had returned to Arkansas “to get healthy, be with my family, find a way to be grounded” following the band’s split. 

The new record blossomed so spontaneously that drummer Hannah Blilie, who replaced Mendonça in 2004, didn’t even know about it until Ditto and Howdeshell had finished the demos. 


The profile also takes note of Gossip’s defiant political posture, which resonates a bit differently in 2024: 

The bandmates return to a new artistic landscape though, one in which Ditto and Blilie’s queerness is no longer so alien (or alienating) to the mainstream. And the body positivity that Ditto flaunted — without ever calling it that — as she sweat through shapewear onstage and modeled couture on a Paris runway, became a full-fledged movement. Gossip danced the path, and the culture caught up.

You can read the whole story here. Billboard, Them and NME have also recently published longform write-ups about the band. And if that’s not enough to satisfy you until “Real Power” drops tomorrow, check out the album’s third single below: 


Help to Keep Great Journalism Alive in Arkansas

Join the fight for truth and become a subscriber of the Arkansas Times. We've been battling powerful forces for 50 years through our tough, determined, and feisty journalism. With over 63,000 Facebook followers, 58,000 Twitter followers, 35,000 Arkansas blog followers, and 70,000 daily email blasts, our readers value great journalism. But we need your help to do even more. By subscribing and supporting our efforts, you'll not only have access to all of our articles, but you'll also be helping us hire more writers to expand our coverage. Together, we can continue to hold the powerful accountable and bring important stories to light. Subscribe now or donate for as little as $1 and be a part of the Arkansas Times community.

Previous article UPDATE: A list of ‘Free Tree Friday’ giveaways for Arbor Day in Arkansas Next article Interfaith alliance to protest bloody rhetoric at Pulaski Republican meeting