Cody Critcheloe
Gossip

“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.

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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. 

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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: 

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