Sunday, August 10, 2014

Good Riddance to Bin Laden: alt-J - "Left Hand Free" (Infectious/Atlantic Records)


"And I say, "Gee [whiz]," which I'm not sure is a phrase I've ever uttered before. I can imagine it appealing to American truckers with Good Riddance to Bin Laden stickers," alt-J frontman Joe Newman recently told British publication The Guardian in a rather scathing band interview; Newman is of course referring to alt-J's latest single, "Left Hand Free," which the band said was only written to appease their American label because they didn't exactly feel teaser single, "Hunger of The Pine" was a "big single." alt-J's critically-acclaimed first album, An Awesome Wave (2012) was essentially heralded as the second coming of Radiohead, while "Left Hand Free" is more so along the lines of Black Keys or Jack White-ian Modern Blues-Rock. "I tried to make the drums as cliched as possible, there's none of my personality in it... I'm doing some kind of organ solo. I don't know where "baby" came from... Oh God, someone's going to walk onstage to it at an NRA convention," further lamented Newman's fellow bandmates Thom Green and Gus Unger-Hamilton. Not entirely unlike the Beastie Boys' 1987 break-out hit, "Fight for Your Right," alt-J's latest This Is All Yours single may end up being one of those all-too-familiar industry cases where the biggest misrepresentation of said band just might accidentally end up being their most popular and likely, career-defining hit. Following all-star director Nabil's surreal video treatment for "Hunger of The Pine," alt-J unleashed their "Left Hand Free" video late last week; self-proclaimed "director, producer, writer, animator & designer" Ryan Staake has assembled your quintessential all-American video montage... chock-full of attractive model-esque teens drinking, partying, swimming, haphazardly lighting off fireworks, off-roading, and basically just enjoying the last of these quickly dwindling summer nights. For what it's worth, "Left Hand Free" is a pretty great song in it's own right, but it really is a far cry from alt-J's former progressive Art-Indie Rock hits, like "Fitzpleasure" and "Tessellate." Their long-rumored second album, This Is All Yours will finally see a world-wide release this upcoming September 22-23rd on Infectious/Atlantic Records and judging by what we've heard so far, it should be a pretty interesting listen.

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