Alt-J says new single appeals to “American truckers with ‘Good Riddance To Bin Laden’ stickers”

on July 07, 2014, 10:41pm

If you thought “Left Hand Free”, the latest taste of Alt-J’s forthcoming This Is All Yours, sounded remarkably unlike the band, you win today’s No Prize. In an interview with The Guardian (via Faster Louder), the Mercury Prize-winning outfit called the track “the least Alt-J song ever.” Apparently, they spat out the song in 20 minutes flat only after their American label (Atlantic) said “Hunger of the Pine” wasn’t a “big single.”

Things started with a “joke riff” guitarist/vocalist Joe Newman would noodle with in practice. From there, Thom Green “tried to make the drums as clichéd as possible,” stating that “there’s none of my personality in it.” Keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton remarked, “I’m doing some kind of organ solo. I don’t know where ‘baby’ came from.”

Newman also admits the lyrics are rather rubbish (“I say, ‘Gee whizz,’ which I’m not sure is a phrase I’ve ever uttered before”), but he does see the song connecting with a certain demographic. “I can imagine it appealing to American truckers with ‘Good Riddance To Bin Laden’ stickers!”

Take a listen to “Left Hand Free” below.


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Ben Wht
July 8, 2014 at 10:50 pm

I have to say, I’m stymied by this whole story. I enjoyed “Hunger of the Pine” (though not as much as Breezeblocks, Matilda, or many of the other songs from their previous album), but I agree with other commenters that Left Hand Free, while catchy, seems far more generic than what I’m used to from the band. Clearly there is some joking going on here (who puts “eenie meenie miney mo” in their lyrics??), but it’s hard to parse who the joke is on – their American record label, as the Guardian article suggests, on their fans in some sort of Death Grips-type fuck-it-all joke, or on themselves so we won’t take them too seriously? They always have been obsessed with presenting themselves as accessible, which to me seemed like a reaction to the surface strangeness of their first record. Anyway, should be interesting to see how this plays out.
-Eric Benoit, aka Ben Wht (indie folk musician –

July 8, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Can we get a source for this interview? Alt-J just posted on their facebook page saying these reports are not accurate and I dont know who to believe.

July 8, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Oops, source is listed.

July 8, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Because only Americans don’t miss Osama Bin Laden. Silly Redcoats.

July 8, 2014 at 5:41 pm

I feel kind of guilty for liking a song written in 20 minutes. Although maybe that’s just me liking everything and anything alt j produces.

July 8, 2014 at 12:48 pm

This doesn’t make too much sense. How could they make this song in 20 minutes after “Hunger of the Pine” wasn’t a big single when it was listed on the tracklist when the first single was released. Unless when the record company said Hunger wouldn’t be a big single, they were just hypothesizing weeks ago.

July 8, 2014 at 10:36 am

Sorry Alt-j but your new music is not appealing at all.

Brian Bray
July 8, 2014 at 9:29 am

Well I must be a trucker with a Bin Laden bumper sticker then, because I find this pretty groovy. I love Hunger of the Pine, but this is cool too. I have faith in this band to make all the songs “get along” on the new album.

July 8, 2014 at 9:25 am

Well aren’t they just so clever, can’t get around his annoying voice.

July 8, 2014 at 8:25 am

This makes me feel better… I was sorely disappointed with the song and began to get nervous about the album after hearing it.

July 8, 2014 at 7:20 am

Black keys and arctic monkeys made a generic love child this would be it but I still love it just cause Alt-j is awesome even when they are barely trying haha love me some Alt-j!!!!

July 8, 2014 at 7:16 am

Like a generic combo of black keys, arctic monkeys and cage the elephant….scratch that cage more 90s grungy sounding I’m just being a troll lol

July 8, 2014 at 3:21 am

Honestly I don’t really care. A song’s a song, and even if it’s unlike them, I still find a charm to it, and like it.

July 7, 2014 at 11:15 pm

Sounds like The Black Keys. Not a bad thing.

Billie Vdh
July 8, 2014 at 5:01 am

Exactly what I was thinking!

July 8, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Sounds kinda like Presidents to me


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