Alt-J (∆)-Hunger Of The Pine, Left Hand Free, Warm Foothills

Okay, I am a little obsessed with the band Alt-J (∆). I have been listening for a long time now and find their style and music to be creatively original.

Revolutionary, actually.

The voices, syncopation, lyrics, instruments, and then the stellar xylophone, all kick in together and strike my musical heart like lightning bolts. I will forever be a bit obsessed.

So there. There you have it, my latest musical confession, swooning schoolgirl style. Don’t judge me. I bet you have one too.

So a few weeks ago, when they introduced their new music, I went into a tizzy. Do you know what it is like when you are deeply immersed in the beauty of a talented band, and yet, are incredibly worried that the second album won’t live up to your expectations? I was fearful, so I wanted to listen over and over again.

No worries here, after countless plays, I am again enthralled.

My Alt-J (∆) story begins here.


Criminal Records, here in Atlanta, had Alt-J (∆) as an in-store listening party. They were new to America and this was their first appearance in Atlanta.

Yes, you can bet your bottom dollar that I was there. I would say there were about 75 of us. I think I counted a few times, but once I heard them start to play, every figure was erased in my mind. I had to remind myself to take a picture or two. So I have to apologize for the poor quality of my phone camera. Yes, all four from Alt-J were there, but just Joe Newman (lead vocals) and Gus Unger-Hamilton (keyboards/vocals) performed for us.

It was mesmerizing and hauntingly beautiful. Stripped down and raw.






I strategically landed myself at the end of the line for my signed CD, just so that I could breath deeply and think of questions to ask. I am not proud of the silly goofy grin on my face, but yes, I was over the moon with joyous fandom. But, as a matter of fact, my silliness tends to lead to happy endings that tell fun stories and build solid, happy memories. For the record, it does say “Big love x Joe x”


Okay, so as “Breezeblocks”, “Something Good”,  and “Fitzpleasure” float on in my shuffling playlist, I am ready for new songs to add. Here’s my old review on 1146 miles, “Carrie’s Favorite songs of 2012”. It makes me chuckle to look back at my first blog post!

New music from Alt-J is so welcome in my world and it continues to peak my interest. Their newest songs that have been released are compelling for many different reasons. I like it that way. I want songs that are different and quirky, and story driven.

Here is the first release, and you may have already heard the song, “Hunger of the Pine”, but have you seen the crazy cool video? I thought I would give  you the chance. Even though Gwil Sainsbury (bassist) has left the band , their inventiveness continues to flourish. According to Gus Unger-Hamilton (via NPR), ” The lyrics mainly suggest the idea that missing someone — pining — can be a physical pain much like hunger.”




Their second release, “Left Hand Free”, is completely different. In fact there has been a media buzz that the song was written very quickly to satisfy a want by the label, to have a “big single”. The band describes it as the “least Alt-J song ever”. According to the band members, the song is filled with the most cliche drums, an organ solo, and words like “Baby” and “Gee Whiz” which quite possibly have never been uttered before. It is as polar opposite to their other music as they can get. Even though I have read all of the controversy, I happen to really like it. Judge for yourself.

“Well your left hand’s free
And your right’s in grip
With another left hand
Watch his right hand slip
Towards his gun
Oh no

Gee whiz, girl, you’re the one for me
Though your man is bigger than I am
And oh my days he disagrees
Oh no

Speak easy”


Selfishly, I am going to overload you. As a bonus, I am going to also share their other tune,”Warm Foothills”, from the new album. It was filmed in an acoustic session with 102.9 The Buzz, out of Nashville. And, yes, I am a sucker for lovely whistling.

“…I tied my life to your balloon and let it go

Your foothills

Your warmth”

Hallelujah! I will be waiting in serious anticipation for the next release and ultimately the album, This Is All Yours, on September 22nd. On that day,





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