As far as I’m concerned, my sister is the master of music. When she suggests a band — I listen. I’ve learned about some of my favorite groups through her, and the hits keep coming. She came through in the clutch for me again when she recently introduced me to Alt-J. It’s a strange band name and a very different sound, but I think these guys are pretty awesome.
Yes, Alt-J is really their name. Well, the band technically just goes by a triangle symbol, but they’re verbally known as Alt-J (which is the keyboard shortcut for the Greek letter Delta (aka a triangle) on Apple OS X). The group is from England and they’ve already found plenty of success in the UK. As for the United States, their music is just starting to make a splash here. Alt-J actually launches a North American tour in March, including stops at major music festivals like Sasquatch and Coachella.
Alt-J formed in 2007 and released their debut album, An Awesome Wave, last May. It was an instant hit in England, winning the 2012 British Mercury Prize, which is an annual award for the best album from the United Kingdom and Ireland. After Alt-J’s success in Europe, An Awesome Wave was released in the United States in September. I just heard the album for the first time last week and immediately snatched it up on iTunes.
It’s hard for me to describe what Alt-J sounds like, so I’ll let iTunes do it for me. This is how their review describes An Awesome Wave:
“Its take on postmodern pop mines the best elements from folk-rock, garage rock, dub-pop, indie rock, vintage cinema scores and a capella harmony before constructing layered, angular arrangements with sonic ore.”
I’m not sure iTunes did a better job describing Alt-J (I think they forgot to use layman’s terms), but maybe it did. Here’s an idea! How about you just take a listen for yourself? This song is called ‘Breezeblocks’…it’s Alt-J’s most popular and succesful song:
‘Breezeblocks’ is the song that originally caught my attention, but Alt-J has several other great jams on their album. ‘Fitzpleasure’, ‘Tessellate’, ‘Matilda’ and ’Dissolve Me’ are all listed as Alt-J’s most popular songs on iTunes. I’m personally fond of ‘Something Good’ and ’Hand-Made’ as well. Aside from the three random interludes sprinkled in, I’m pretty high on the entire album.
I understand that Alt-J isn’t for everyone (and they all look like they’re 16-years-old), but I appreciate everything about them. They offer solid vocals, good beats and some fun instrumentals. I’m truly amazed at out how Alt-J (and similar bands) keep everything together to make incredible music. When I listen to Alt-J, I feel like there needs to be 12 people in the band to make it all work, but ultimately there are just four dudes bringing that sound together.
Alt-J might not make a mainstream splash in the United States (sorry, the name isn’t catchy and their sound might just be too “out there”), but I’m all for them. In fact, I’m excited to hear more from them in the future (maybe I can even catch them in concert). Music doesn’t have to be popular to be good, right?
What do you think of Alt-J? I’d love to hear your opinion! You can leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out more from the world of music, sports and travel right now on http://allaroundtim.com!