The Go! Team
Mon Oct 24
128 NE Russell
The internet fucking blows. I mean sure—it's got a pretty good publicist or whatever, but when all of the hootin' and hollerin' everybody's always making about the fucking internet eventually subsides, what good has it ever brought us, really? Email? Bullshit. The ability to instantly communicate with strangers all over the world? BULL-shit. MySpace? Okay, so MySpace is pretty cool. But the rest of the internet? Absolute fucking bullshit. And as if being the single greatest lame duck since CB weren't enough, the internet decided it had to go and spoil music as well. On top of the fact that it makes my job seem somehow even more irrelevant, the internet also makes it uncannily possible for bands with scarcely an ounce of real-world experience under their belts to suddenly spread themselves onto the playlists of anybody who's anybody.
In keeping with the impossibly hasty life cycle of internet fame, the weekly greatest band in the world is almost always met with a virtually immediate backlash sometimes even before their record comes out. Sometimes before they're really even a band at all. Such could very well be the case for the Brighton-based sextet known as the Go! Team, who in the last year have gone from readymade internet phenomenon to a contract with Columbia on a path paved primarily in ones and zeroes. Essentially the brainchild of 31-year-old sample wizard Ian Parton, the Go! Team are perhaps most reductively described as a sort of Belle and Sebastian to the Avalanches' RZA—a heaving, glee-busted pastiche of scratchy vinyl horn sections, homesick harmonicas, and double-dutch rhymes all nudged just into the red, and blended with playful, charming live instrumentation.
Despite the fact that stringent US copyright laws kept their debut from being released Stateside for over a year, Thunder, Lightning, Strike was eagerly pilfered by nearly every American douchebag with a 56k modem and a Pitchfork bookmark—a hullabaloo that eventually led to a buzz-heavy, high-energy blowout at last March's South By Southwest (SXSW) schmooze fest, and a great deal of prominent Stateside glossy magazine real estate. It's all a pretty baffling coup, considering that just a few months earlier, the Team was more or less just a boy-and-his-sampler outfit—hastily retrofitted into a live band, and now featuring a London-based female MC named Ninja—but it seemed to do the trick: The Go! Team was headed for a major label deal.
As is becoming annoyingly common among Great Britain's internet-spawned hot properties (M.I.A., Art Brut, et al.), the SXSW show was followed by a couple of hype-building shows in New York, and later a big city (Portland-skipping) tour of North America. Around this time, Parton began retooling the sample-heavy Thunder, Lightning, Strike for a US release free of legal red tape. The resulting album, released just a few weeks ago on Columbia, is scarcely different from the original version—but as virtually everyone in the free world already downloaded the original about a year ago, it's also little more than a curiosity. Which seems to lead us to the primary dilemma of the Go! Team—a band that's hardly been a real "band" for a year: With the heavy turnover and sheer saturation amid the internet band pool, what are the chances that after a year in the bullpen, the band's thoroughly all right soundscapes will still transfix the miniscule attention span of America's online faithful?