In Cold Blood (alt-J song)

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"In Cold Blood"
In Cold Blood alt-J.jpg
Single by alt-J
from the album Relaxer
Released29 March 2017
Producer(s)Charlie Andrew
Alt-J singles chronology
"In Cold Blood"

"In Cold Blood" is a song by British indie rock band alt-J. It is the second track and second single from their third studio album, Relaxer, and was released as a digital single on 29 March 2017 by Infectious Music and Atlantic Records.[1] The song was written by Joe Newman, Gus Unger-Hamilton, and Thom Sonny Green and produced by Charlie Andrew.[2] It features a brass section recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London[3] and a Casiotone the band purchased for £1.05 on eBay.[4] The song's title is a reference to the novel of the same name by American novelist Truman Capote.[3] The song's composition dates back to when the band started during their studies at the University of Leeds.[3]

Composition and lyrics[]

In an interview with NPR, the band said:[5]

This song was started when we were still students in Leeds, finally finished in the sessions for this album. Sometimes it happens that way. The title comes from the book of the same name by Truman Capote — however, this was mostly because it sounded good rather than due to the song being about mass murder. We recorded the brass section at Abbey Road Studios in North London, which was an amazing experience.

The song starts with the eight digit binary phrase: "zero one one one zero zero one one" (01110011), which is 163 (octal), 115 (decimal), and 73 (hex), which translates to a lowercase "s" under the ASCII system. It is unclear what this means, although the band labeled a teaser for the song "3WW" with the binary ASCII encoding “00110011 01110111 01110111”.[6] If extended to use all of the numbers in the line we get the number 01110011(cry)0 (and I'm Hearing) 111 which is 1847 - the year that Samuel Colt sold his patented revolvers to the Texas rangers in the war against Mexico.

Music video[]

The music video for the song was released on 9 May 2017. It was directed by Casper Balslev, who had previously directed videos for Marina and the Diamonds and . The video is narrated by Iggy Pop, frontman of The Stooges.


On 18 April 2017, alt-J performed "In Cold Blood" on the 656th episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The band performed the song with a backing horn section and with Questlove, the drummer of Jimmy Fallon's house band The Roots.[7] On 19 May 2017, alt-J performed "In Cold Blood" on the sixth episode of the fiftieth series of Later... with Jools Holland.[8] On 5 June 2017, alt-J performed "In Cold Blood" on Conan.[9]

The band also performed "In Cold Blood" for their second NPR tiny desk concert in an acoustic, string accompanied medley.

In Cold Blood is also the soundtrack for the animated manga "Ingress" on Netflix.

Critical reception[]

"In Cold Blood" received favorable reviews from contemporary music critics. Robin Murray of Clash called it "both straight-forwardly melodic and fascinatingly complex, the interweaving vocals underpinned by bleeping electronics and flashes of brass."[4]

Track listing[]

Digital download
1."In Cold Blood"3:26


Credits adapted from Tidal[2]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[20] Gold 35,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Yoo, Noah (29 March 2017). "Alt-J Release New Song "In Cold Blood": Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b "TIDAL". 30 March 2017. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  3. ^ Jump up to: a b c Boilen, Bob (2 June 2017). "alt-J's 'Relaxer,' Track By Track". All Songs Considered. NPR. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  4. ^ Jump up to: a b Murry, Robin (30 March 2017). "alt-J Drop New Track 'In Cold Blood'". Clash. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  5. ^ Boilen, Bob (2 June 2017). "alt-J's 'Relaxer,' Track By Track". NPR. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Alt-J Turns A Pool Party Into A Murder Scene On New Single "In Cold Blood"". Genius. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  7. ^ Reed, Ryan (19 April 2017). "Watch Alt-J Recruit Questlove for Winding 'In Cold Blood' on 'Fallon'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  8. ^ "Episode 6". Later... with Jools Holland. Series 50. Episode 6. 19 May 2017. BBC Two. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  9. ^ Geslani, Michelle (6 June 2017). "alt-J perform "In Cold Blood" on Conan — watch". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  10. ^ " – alt-J – In Cold Blood" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  11. ^ " – alt-J – In Cold Blood" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Official Independent Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  13. ^ "alt-J Chart History (Hot Rock & Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  14. ^ "alt-J Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  15. ^ "alt-J Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  16. ^ "alt-J Chart History (Rock Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Hot Rock Songs – Year-End 2017". Billboard. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  18. ^ "Adult Alternative Songs – Year-End 2017". Billboard. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  19. ^ "Alternative Songs – Year-End 2017". Billboard. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  20. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2021 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 25 April 2021.

External links[]

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