Finnigan and Brother – Christmas is the Time

image by adam thomas


I have a complex relationship with christmas, which is possibly why the You Are Here festival this year is featuring a day-long christmas-themed music festival in a carpark (including the Beep Test), and so it’s probably fitting that I wait until January 9 to mention on this blog that, uh, Finnigan and Brother have released a christmas single. On our Bandcamp, which we have, like everyone everywhere a legitimate band. It’s called Christmas Is The Time, and it’s the first release from the album of music and poetry we created in during our residency in Colombia in July.

While at Campos de Gutierrez, Chris and I realised that we would not be doing justice to our time in Latin America if we didn’t produce at least one Cumbia track. So, this is it – Cumbia, or as close as Finnigan and Brother get. Chris came up with the tune, which was surprisingly effective, and our beloved Campos curator/guardian Andres Monzon did the translation for us. So it is thanks to Andres that we could perform such traditional seasonal banter as ‘Coming from the North Pole!’, ‘Tiny elves!’ and ‘Lots of presents please!’ in Spanish. This song weirdly became our most recognisable number while we were over there, with people who attended our gigs pointing to us and singing ‘Papa Noel, Papa Noel!’ Everyone needs an anthem.

Christmas is the Time is backed with Because, which features one of Chris’ most lovely guitar riffs (and possibly the one which is closest to some of his solo work as Fossil Rabbit). The first song we wrote during our stay in Medellin and one which kept growing and shifting throughout the residency, Because captured some of our confusion and ambivalence about going all the way to South America to write this album, as well as some of the strange and beautiful moments we experienced along the way. I’ve included the full poem below, in case anyone’s interested.

This two-track single release is thanks to the sterling efforts of senor Nick McCorriston, who wrangled a studio for Chris and I to record the album in and has produced and mixed our entire glutted output. Thanks to Nickamc’s wisdom hard work and prowess, we are anticipating the release of the full LP in April.

jamming in the foothills of the andes

In the meantime, I sneakily posted one additional track to the Bandcamp, which will not be making it onto the record. One afternoon at Campos, Chris let slip that he had stumbled on the chords to the Spin Doctors’ 1993 hit Two Princes. By chance, I’d been listening to this track and thinking about the possibility of taking the song’s story further, using it as the basis for a spoken-word story. Without further ado, we went downstairs and recorded a cover. Our version was recorded at the Phoenix Bar in Canberra during our August 2012 homecoming set at Bad! Slam! No! Biscuit! It’s… well, it is what it is.

Anyway, all these tunes are free to play and download if you fancy – and for those who might be interested, here is the text of Because.



why did you come here?
why did you come here and what do you want?
why get on a plane to colombia?
why not stay at home and make something real and solid and lasting?

because the waterfall by the road
because shots of aguardiente burning my tongue
because dogs leaping over barbed wire fences
because cumbia in a taxi going past roadside bars
because corn tamales for breakfast wrapped in parcels of leaves and jam made in a benedictine monastery
because the dawn fog over medellin and the stone power station on the hill
because the rooftop party and the storm that breaks overhead

because of a sickness that says I can never be content where I am
always searching around for some new thing
because of a laziness that says never make something that lasts
only keep running for the next project
because of a fear that keeps me moving
that if I stop it will all fall apart under me

because half of life is breaking what i have
and the other half is trying to put it back together

because hummingbirds
because buenos aires airport on a winter night
because sound artists playing laptops and bamboo flutes in a gallery patio
because stoned and mumbling awkward spanish on a balcony

because to test ourselves against some kind of measure we don’t know what

because a chorizo stand by the side of the road
eating corncakes and salsa in the streaking headlights of cars
because the farm workers come to the window and listen while we rehearse
because the way the guard with the shotgun eases back on his heels

because the priest stops his sermon in the huge church and looks at me
this is what he knows
this is what I know
we’re both human
both confused

because late night shouted conversations in the taxi
and are there reggaeton clubs in canberra?
and where did you learn to grind?
and there was a girl in year 9 with hair down to her waist who danced so low she could mop the floor with it
and this song’s called the night of sex
and this is on a CD called reggaeton 2012 we bought off a vendor at the traffic lights on calle 43

because they surrounded a military base in cauca and forced the soldiers out
they hurled rocks at the president
placed explosives on the landing pad for his helicopter
because in this district pablo escobar bought 500 houses for poor families, microwaves and all

because of the feeling that takes you over every time you see the fasten seatbelt sign
because of waking up at 5am in a strange place terrified and lonely and lost and confused and knowing there’s no other way to be
because the wild coffee plants growing in the path
because the sparks from the fire swirling overhead

because the faster you run the faster your problems keep pace
and all you can do is keep running
keep it together
and know that something good is gonna happen

because I can’t stand still

because half of life is breaking what i have
and the other half is trying to put it back together