Song of the Week – Left Hand Free and Something Good, alt-J


The British indie rock band alt-J has a minor hit on their hands this summer. It’s the single “Left Hand Free” from their latest album, This Is All Yours.

The band’s name is a substitute for their original name which was the Greek letter ∆. They decided to pronounce it alt+J because that’s the keyboard command used to display the symbol on Mac computers.

Now back to the song…

If you read any reviews you’ll quickly learn that “Left Hand Free” isn’t your typical alt-J song. It’s a simpler, more straight ahead psych-pop song than their normal “intellectual” rock fare.

The Guardian’s Sam Richards reported:

Alt-J resolved to write “the least Alt-J song ever”, taking a “joke riff” (guitarist/vocalist) Joe (Newman) had been playing in rehearsals and fleshing it out with the most perfunctory chords and rhythm imaginable. Whereas the band typically spend weeks agonising over every note, Left Hand Free was written “in about 20 minutes”. Needless to say, the US label loved it.

The playful lyrical reference to guns may lead to some to think it’s a pro 2nd Amendment manifesto.

I tackle weeds just so the moon buggers nibble
A right hand grip on his Colt single-action army

Well your left hand’s free
And your right’s in a grip
With another left hand
Watch his right hand slip
Towards his gun, oh no

I think they’re just goofing on us but it’s all good fun.

If you’d like to check out a cut that sounds more like what fans expect to hear from alt-J, check out “Something Good” from their 2012 album, An Awesome Wave.

This is a very good band that I’ll be following for the next few years.

Enjoy… until next week.

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