Finbarr is a friend of mine, and has been for a number of years. However, lately, that friendship has teetered close to the edge, thanks to a single act by Finbarr. A near-unforgivable act.

Finbarr know about, and knew this, band, and hadn’t told me about them.

iamnotlefthanded1

I am not lefthanded are named after a quote from “The Princess Bride”, and are, in fact, not left-handed. I actually am, but that’s a story for another day.

And they’re good. In fact, they’re fantastic. In fact, upon hearing two of their songs, I signed back into my iTunes account (I detest iTunes, and Apple, but that’s a story for another day as well), updated my credit card details, and bought their EP. All within 10 minutes of hearing the first chords of a single song. Yes, they have that type of effect. These guys are just stunning.

In their own words:

We don’t play pop music, we don’t write music for art’s sake, we don’t represent any movements, we’re not hip, we’re not cutting edge, we don’t dress to be cool. We do manage ourselves, we write our own songs, we do our own recordings, we shoot our own videos, we design our own covers, we made our own website. We’re not generally negative people – oh yes, and we’re not lefthanded.

We like our name because it doesn’t say anything about who we are or what we do, we like to give our music a chance to do that. That said, we would liken ourselves (if we have to) to a darker Rilo Kiley, a rockier Death Cab for Cutie, a girlier We Are Scientists, a wordier Jimmy Eat World. Other people have likened us to Mazzy Starr, The Cardigans, The Postal Service, 10,000 Maniacs, jj72 – so if you shake all that up you might get some kind of idea.

We like to sing (except Benji who will only sing on his own, in a car). We like to get loud when we can (Tubescreamers are good!). We only play music that makes us feel something, in our gut. We like music that’s honest. We’re mostly Irish, partly Cornish (not corny!). We live in London. We really like playing music, everywhere we can.

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In my own words: wow. Just, wow. For your listening pleasure, I give you “Long Goodbyes” – 4 of the most affecting minutes I’ve experienced. Starting with a repetitive, haunting guitar melody, followed by the entry of the wonderful voice of Kathryn Williams at 31 seconds, which expands over the next minute, building to a crescendo of drums and voices from then onwards – and if you don’t get a shiver down your spine at 2.02, you obviously have no appreciation for music. And as for the lyrics…well, if

Where long grass grows
Is where I’ll let go

Doesn’t break your heart, you’ve never loved.

Go buy their EP, the exquisitely named “Yes Means No: 6 & 1/6th songs that don’t always give a straight answer” right now. Go. Now. The links are at the bottom of the post.

My feet trip on your dances,
Of all the great romances, I wish
You’d passed me by

I check your eyes for any sign they’ve misted,
My stomach’s cold and twisted as the stony skies
I hate long goodbyes

Long grass will hide
My last reply
Where long grass grows
Is where I’ll let go

Cause I might forget
The meanings and the mistakes
And I might regret
Cause the devil’s in your details
But I can’t accept
That you might want it this way
So I’ll go, confess,
Tell it to the north-east wind

Long grass will hide
My last reply
I’ll bury deep
The thoughts I keep

This city’s found
On solid ground
Where long grass grows
Is where I’ll let go

And the wonderfully monikered “boatsbutnottheocean” – a little less epic, a little more intimate. An insistent guitar melody, with some beautiful duetting from 1:02 onwards. If ever a song could define yearning, this would be it. Yearning, tempered with the acceptance of another person’s needs that comes with love.

Have you bought the EP yet?

Make a wish on distant stars
For a faster, redder car
And wait, see if it comes true

For a house on distant streets
Dream of nights in softer sheets
This beach, will wait

So I know you’re tired,
So leave it to the tide
I’m on your side,
When weather’s right,
Come sailing home

Let the dark subside,
Just leave it to one side,
I’m on your side,
When weather’s right,
Come sailing home again

Walk the land and see the shore,
Think of less, and want for more,
And wait, to keep the gray from blue

In a house on distant streets,
Someone dreams a distant beach,
And waits, they wait

So I know you’re tired
So leave it to the tide
I’m on your side,
When weather’s right,
Come sailing home

Let the dark subside,
Just leave it to one side,
I’m on your side,
When weather’s right,
You’ll see it swept away,
You’ll see it swept away

Finbarr, because this band is so utterly amazing, I forgive you. Just don’t it again.

I am not lefthanded – Long Goodbyes

I am not lefthanded – boatsbutnottheocean

www: I am not lefthanded official site, MySpace, and BUY THE ALBUM ON iTUNES OR FROM LETTERBOXRECORDS.COM NOW!

A little something about me – I love to travel. Not just the end destination, but the actual act of journeying. 8 hours on an overnight train in Russia; a 27 hour (and 7 train) trek from the Czech Republic to Spain – give me a train, a plane and/or an automobile, and I’m content. While the wanderlust has reduced in the couple of years, I am lucky enough to have a girlfriend willing to put with me wandering off to places like Russia and South America every so often.

And so, to all my fellow travelers, let our anthem’s author be Frank Turner.

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Our Frank is

an English folk singer-songwriter, and former vocalist of post-hardcore band Million Dead.

Folk and post-hardcore. As you do. I wonder what post-folk would sound like?

Anyhow, I came across “The Road” (from the album “Poetry of the Deed”) on some obscure music channel while flicking around one evening (okay, fine, it was probably in the wee hours…), and was suitably enraptured at the insistent time signature, the foot-tapping guitar line, and the imagination-capturing lyrics. Sounding like an acoustic version of the Levellers, listen out for Frank’s slipping into a distinctly hardcore approach between 2:21 and 2:59…and the next time you decide to go traveling, why not play “The Road” as loud as possible, despite the stares?

To the east to the east
The road beneath my feet
To the west to the west
I haven’t got there yet
And to the north to the north
Never to be caught
To the south to the south
My time is running out

Ever since my childhood I’ve been scared I’ve been afraid
Of being trapped by circumstance and staying in one place
So I always keep a small bag full of clothes carefully stored
Somewhere secret somewhere safe
And somewhere close to the door

Well I’ve traveled many countries I’ve washed my feet in many seas
I’ve drunk with drifters in Vienna and with punks in old DC
And I’ve driven across deserts driven by the irony
That only being shackled to the the road could ever I be free

To the east to the east
The road beneath my feet
To the west to the west
I haven’t got there yet
And to the north to the north
Never to be caught
To the south to the south
My time is running out

I’ve felt old before my time but now I keep the age away
By burning up the miles and yeah by filling up my days
And the nights a thousand nights I’ve played
And a thousand more to go
Before I take a breath and steal myself
For the next one thousand shows

To the east to the east
The road beneath my feet
To the west to the west
I haven’t got there yet
And to the north to the north
Never to be caught
To the south to the south
My time is running out

Yes so saddle up your horses now and keep your powder dry
Cause the truth is you won’t be here long
Yeah soon your going to die
To the heart, to the heart there’s no time for you to waste
You wont find your precious answers now by staying in one place
Yeah by giving up the chase

To the east to the east
The road beneath my feet
To the west to the west
I haven’t got there yet
And to the north to the north
Never to be caught
To the south to the south
My time is running out
To the south to the south
My time is running out
To the south to the south
My time is running out

I face the horizon everywhere I go
I face the horizon the horizon is my home
I face the horizon everywhere I go
I face the horizon the horizon is my home

Frank Turner – The Road

www: Frank’s official site and MySpace