Vampire Weekend | Modern Vampires Of The City

I’ve known about Vampire Weekend for a few years now, but I’ve never really listened to them. That all changed a few weeks ago when I first heard their new song ‘Diane Young’ on the radio. They released the single in advance of their new Modern Vampires of the City album, and it totally reeled me in. I bought the album the day it was released, and now I can’t get enough of it.

Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend performs on Saturday Night Live

I was introduced to Vampire Weekend when their song ‘Holiday‘ was featured on a Christmas commercial in 2010. I had never listened to them before, and it was one of the last times I even thought about Vampire Weekend until recently. I’ve heard people talk about the New York City-based band, but I never really understood all the hype. Their name alone was enough to turn me away (let’s just say I’m not really a fan of horror films or Halloween).

I honestly wasn’t totally sold on Modern Vampires of the City when I first listened to the previews on iTunes, but I bought the album anyway. I’m really glad that I did. I’ve listened to Modern Vampires of the City over and over since I purchased the 12-song album early last week.

The song that gets most of the airplay on the radio is ‘Diane Young.’ You’ve probably heard it by now, but here it is just in case you haven’t:

I realize this song (or even Vampire Weekend as a whole) isn’t for everyone, but I totally dig them now. There isn’t one song I skip when I listen to Modern Vampires of the City. It’s pretty rare that I like every song on an album. ‘Everlasting Arms,’ ‘Ya Hey,’ ‘Finger Back,’ ‘Don’t Lie,’ ‘Worship You‘ and ‘Unbelievers‘ are a few of my favorites.

If you haven’t listened to Vampire Weekend, I suggest checking them out. I’m just now starting to dig into some of their older stuff, and I really like what I hear. I’ll be sure to report back if I come up with some other solid finds!

Have you ever listened to Vampire Weekend? What do you think of their new Modern Vampires of the City album? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on the world of music, sports and travel!

Vampire Weekend SNL

Vampire Weekend

Reese McGuire Ready For MLB Draft

Before Reese McGuire can think too much about the MLB Draft, he wants to lead Kentwood High School to another state championship. The highly touted catcher helped the Conquerors win the 4A (Washington’s largest classification) title last year, and another trophy would cap an unforgettable senior season.

Reese McGuire | MLB Draft

Reese McGuire (center) with Kentwood teammates

“The season is great,” McGuire told me. “We got first in league, so it was awesome. Our pitching stepped up and everyone has done their part to make the team better.”

Even though he’s focused on “the now,” McGuire isn’t afraid to look ahead to the MLB Draft in a few weeks.

“This next month is going to be pretty sweet,” he said.

There’s plenty of reason for excitement. McGuire, listed at 6’1″ and 195 pounds, is considered one of the best high school players in the country. He was named a preseason All-American and was also tabbed the USA Baseball Player of the Year after hitting .400 with 4 doubles and 11 runs batted in for Team USA at the IBAF 18U World Championship in September.

“This game is everything I’ve known,” said McGuire. “This was my favorite sport as a kid. I was playing basketball and football, but just always had that extra love and passion for this game. I’m truly blessed to come out to the field every day. I don’t take it for granted.”

Reese McGuire | MLB Draft

Reese McGuire taking batting practice in the cage

Baseball America ranked McGuire as the fourth best draft-eligible high school prospect (and the top prep catcher) in the nation before the season started. Some experts have him going early in the first round (as high as 6th overall to the Miami Marlins), while others have McGuire pegged late in the first round. One thing is in common — he’ll be snatched up quickly.

“As a kid I was like, ‘Man, I want to be a professional baseball player,’ McGuire told me. “I never really thought it could come after high school. Just growing up and getting that exposure, it opened up my eyes to a different route.”

McGuire’s original plan was to go to college. That’s why he committed to the University of San Diego. The Teroros would love nothing more than for McGuire to head south next season, but now he has a tough decision to make. Will he play college or professional baseball?

“It’s a win-win situation either way,” McGuire said. “As of right now, I have an awesome school lined up, and that was the path. If something special happens during the draft, which I hope so, then it’s going to be my decision with my family and my advisor. We’re going to do what’s best.”

Reese McGuire | MLB Draft

Reese McGuire taking infield at Kentwood

Scouts rave about McGuire’s tools. He has speed, he can hit for average and power (he hit .417 with 3 home runs and 16 RBI in 24 games at Kentwood this year), but nothing tops McGuire’s skills behind the plate. His high school coach Mark Zender, who’s been coaching for 30 years, says McGuire is the most talented player he’s ever had, and he believes Reese is “major league ready defensively right now.”

“When I’m behind the dish, I feel like I’m at home,” said McGuire. “I just think I have good leadership back there. I’m the only guy facing the field, and I get a good bond with the pitcher. That reverts to offense and being a leader with the bat too.”

There’s no arguing the future is bright for Reese McGuire. A defensive-minded catcher who can swing the bat is one of the most coveted jewels in the game. McGuire is humble, he has a good head on his shoulders, and more than enough talent to have a long, successful career in professional baseball.

Have you ever watched Reese McGuire on the baseball field? What did you think of him? Where do you think he’ll go in the MLB Draft? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. You should also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on the world of sports, music and more!

P.S. This is a story I put together on Reese McGuire for my television station. Take a look for more on the MLB Draft prospect:

Seattle Mariners Top Prospects Grow Together In Minors

Seattle Mariners fans have waited patiently for a specific crop of young, talented prospects to make it to the big leagues. It’s been a long process, and one that’s weighed on the players as well.

Seattle Mariners Top Prospects

Seattle Mariners top prospects in Tacoma

“We’re doing our best,” Mariners pitching prospect Danny Hultzen told me. “Hopefully, that call will come at some point. Obviously, it’s our goal to get there as soon as possible.”

Now, many of the top prospects M’s fans have been itching for are just one step away for the major leagues. They’re all currently playing for the AAA Tacoma Rainiers.

“You have that extra motivation knowing that you’re close” said catching prospect Mike Zunino. “You have to go out and handle your business day in and day out, and hopefully it’s sooner rather than later that you can make that jump and help the ball club up there win.”

I’m sure you know their names by now, but I’ll remind you anyway. There’s shortstop/second baseman Nick Franklin, starting pitcher James Paxton and the aforementioned Mike Zunino and Danny Hultzen.

“I love our team,” Franklin told me. “We bond well and we have great chemistry. We’ve played with each other coming up through the minor leagues. We’ve had a few additions, but we’ve been nothing but great. I enjoy it.”

Baseball America ranks the star-studded posse as four of the M’s top five prospects. Zunino is ranked No.1, followed by Hultzen (No. 3), Paxton (No. 4) and Franklin (No. 5). You’d think there might be big egos, but there’s not.

Seattle Mariners Top Prospects

Seattle Mariners top prospect Mike Zunino

“The best part of it to me is that everybody works together,” said Hultzen. “Nobody is trying to be too flashy. No one plays for themselves, which is always a good thing.”

Thanks to that teamwork, the long wait for reinforcements in Seattle is almost over. It’s not just exciting for the fans, it’s thrilling for the prospects as well.

“It’s really exciting to think we’re this close,” Paxton said to me. “It’s just one phone call and a short drive away and we’re there. So, we’re all getting ready and we’re real excited to help [the Mariners] at some point.”

For these four players it’s not a matter of “if” — it’s a matter of “when” they get called up to the big leagues. Until then, they’re honing their skills together in the minor leagues. We probably won’t be able to say that for long though. These prospects should all debut at Safeco Field sometime this season.

This is the story I put together for my television station on the Seattle Mariners top prospects. Click below to watch Mike Zunino, Nick Franklin, James Paxton and Danny Hultzen in action.

What do you think of the Seattle Mariners top prospects? Are they the answer at the big league level? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Don’t forget to read more about the Mariners right now on All Around Tim!

Hockey Goalie Makes Behind-The-Back Save

If you’re a hockey fan, I’m sure you’ve heard someone say “a glove save and a beauty.” But, have you ever heard someone say “a behind-the-back save and a beauty?” I know it sounds crazy, but it recently happened. Thanks to YouTube you can watch the highlight over and over again. Check out the video below to see Drew MacIntyre pull off the most amazing (and probably the only) behind-the-back save you’ll ever see.

Drew MacIntyre is the goalie for the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. The Marlies are the minor league affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs. MacIntyre made this incredible behind-the-back save in a playoff game against the Rochester Americans on Saturday, and he probably couldn’t make the same stop again if he tried a thousand times.

With the game tied at three late in the second period, Johan Larsson fired a shot on goal. If it wasn’t for the quick reaction by Drew MacIntyre to fling his glove hand behind-his-back, Larsson would have easily made it a 4-3 game. Instead, MacIntyre (looking more like a magician than a hockey goalie) made the unbelievable save, and then guided the Toronto Marlies to a 6-3 win in game one of the series.

Behind-the-back Save

Drew MacIntyre

You’re probably wondering who in the world this Drew MacIntyre guy is. MacIntyre was a fourth round pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, but he’s spent most of his career in the minors. MacIntyre did have two brief stints in the National Hockey League with the Vancouver Canucks (2007-08) and the Buffalo Sabres (2011-12). The 29-year-old played a total of four games in the NHL and recorded a 2.29 goals against average. MacIntyre has played for three different teams (Prague Lev (KHL), Reading Royals (ECHL) and the Toronto Marlies) this season, but I guarantee this is the only behind-the-back save he’s made all year (or probably in his career).

Drew MacIntyre clearly hasn’t made a huge name for himself in the world of hockey (had you heard of him before this?), but people won’t forget him now. Being known as “the goalie who made the behind-the-back save” is better than not being remembered at all. I think MacIntyre’s stop is easily the save of the year, and I dare anyone to challenge me on that. Fire away!

What do you think of Drew MacIntyre’s behind-the-back save? Have you seen a better stop this season? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below (and link a video if you think there’s a better save this season) or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out All Around Tim for more on the world of sports, food and music!

Behind The Back Save

Drew MacIntyre makes an incredible behind-the-back save

Goalie Fight: Brandon Glover vs Austin Lotz

A Western Hockey League game between the Seattle Thunderbirds and Everett Silvertips turned wild and crazy over the weekend. A line brawl ignited late in the third period, and it eventually led to a goalie fight between Seattle’s Brandon Glover and Everett’s Austin Lotz. There was big obstacle standing between the two goalies though – a linesman.

The whole thing started after Everett’s Mirco Mueller took Seattle’s Alexander Delnov into the boards. The Thunderbirds thought it was a dirty hit, so Evan Wardley quickly took down Mueller in revenge (even though Mueller was never called for a penalty on the check). That led to a bunch of pushing and shoving, but no real goonage — until Brandon Glover decided to get involved. He sprinted down the ice after Austin Lotz. Before Glover could get there, a linesman tried to intercept him to break up the fight. That didn’t seem to matter to either of the goalies, because they decided to fight anyway — even with the linesman standing between them. Check this out!

Before I move on, I need to rant:

What is happening to hockey? Linesmen used to let players fight; only stepping in when the fight was over. Now, linesmen are breaking up fights before they even get started. It was very clear that Glover and Lotz were both willing combatants, and the linesman was still going to stop them from throwing blows anyway. I understand that he was trying to keep order, but it still breaks my heart as a hockey fan. Fighting is a part of the game — plain and simple. Quit trying to take fighting out of hockey!

Okay, now that’s out of my system…

Lotz is escaping this goalie fight without much damage, but the same can’t be said for Glover. He received two-minutes for instigating the fight, two-minutes for leaving the crease, five-minutes for fighting and a game-misconduct for his actions. The league also handed Glover a two-game suspension and fined the Thunderbirds $500 for the fight. As for Lotz, he received a five-minute major for fighting, but he was allowed to stay in the game while someone served the penalty for him.

It wasn’t the best goalie fight blow-for-blow, but you definitely won’t find a more entertaining goalie fight this year. I really hope the linesman learned a valuable lesson. If players want to fight…let them fight. They’ll find a way to drop the mitts if you’re standing in the way or not.

What do you think about this goalie fight between Brandon Glover and Austin Lotz? I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on the world of sports, food and music!

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Goalie Fight: Dustin Tokarski vs Eddie Pasquale

Goalie Fight Linesman

Austin Lotz, the linesman and Brandon Glover

Gonzaga Basketball Trick Shots Video

The Gonzaga men’s basketball team is one of the best shooting teams in the country. They have the second best field goal percentage in the nation, landing more than 50% of their shots. That’s an impressive stat, but the shots the Zags make when they’re just messing around are even more impressive. Thanks to a Gonzaga basketball trick shots video, we get to see what these guys are capable off when they’re not in the national spotlight.

The Gonzaga basketball trick shots video features guards Kevin Pangos, Kyle Dranginis, Drew Barham and Rem Bakamus. They use trampolines, bicycles, walls, elastic bands, chairs and just about anything else they can find to drain buckets. They can also bomb from long distance. The Zags land multiple shots from halfcourt, high in the stands and even from the rafters inside McCarthey Athletic Center. My words can only say so much — you really have to watch the Gonzaga basketball trick shots video to believe it:

If Pangos, Dranginis, Barham and Bakamus weren’t enough, the Gonzaga basketball trick shots video also showcases PGA Tour golfer Kyle Stanley dialing up a long distance bucket. Stanley is from Gig Harbor, Washington, and as the video describes, he’s a big Gonzaga basketball supporter (even though he went to Clemson). Stanley is no slouch on the golf course either. He chalked up his first professional win at the 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open. At 25 years old, Stanley has a bright future on the links.

I think every shot on the Gonzaga basketball trick shots video is really impressive, but my favorite bucket is when Barham and Pangos team up at the 5:14 mark. Barham, who is standing near the free throw line with his back toward the bucket, bounces a ball high into the air. Pangos, who is just beyond the three-point arc, throws his basketball at Barham’s and deflects Barham’s ball toward the hoop and in. It’s truly unbelievable.

The Gonzaga basketball trick shots video came out in September and it already has more than 100,000 views. I covered the Bulldogs when I was a sportscaster in Spokane, but I’m clearly behind the times now. I honestly just saw highlights from the trick shot video during yesterday’s Gonzaga broadcast, and just watched the entire video for the first time this morning. Since I know I’m not the only one who hasn’t seen the video, I think it’s worth sharing — but not just for the incredible shots.

I think the Gonzaga basketball trick shots video showcases college basketball at it’s best. We often forget these are just kids when we watch these guys on game night. Pangos, Dranginis, Barham and Bakamus are only freshmen, sophomores and juniors, so they’re probably only 20 years old or younger. The Gonzaga basketball trick shot video gives us a much-needed reminder that these are simply college students — not multi-million dollar NBA stars — having a good time. It’s refreshing to see these guys cutting through all the pressure and just having a little fun.

Have you ever watched the Gonzaga basketball trick shots video? What’s your favorite shot? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for the latest in the world of sports, music and travel!

Gonzaga Basketball Trick Shot Video

Drew Barham gets ready to fire away on the Gonzaga basketball trick shots video

Jeremy Loops | Mission To The Sun ‘Howling’

This might sound strange, but I think listening to the radio is like watching a drama on television. You never know what’s waiting around the corner. When you’re expecting to hear one thing; something new jumps out and surprises you. Sometimes the surprise sucks and it’s not worth listening to, but other times it piques your interest. That’s exactly what happened when I heard Jeremy Loops Mission to the Sun ‘Howling’ for the first time.

Jeremy Loops | Mission to the Sun 'Howling'

Jeremy Loops

If you’re looking for a happy song — this is it! Jeremy Loops Mission to the Sun ‘Howling’ has a strange name, but it’s a fun-loving mix of sound, instruments and lyrics. It wasn’t until I did some research that I learned Jeremy Loops is from South Africa. He’s a ”modern day one man folk band” and he usually puts on a show all by himself (he has help from saxophonist Jamie Faull on Mission to the Sun ‘Howling’). Since I wouldn’t do Jeremy Loops any justice, this is how his Facebook page describes his music:

“Jeremy has embraced technology in all its illustrious forms and creates his finely woven tapestry of sounds using his guitar, ukulele, harmonica and beatbox skills. He runs this all through a gamut of loop pedals, echo and distortion units and through the speakers to leave a crowd quite literally awe-struck, standing there going…’where is this all coming from?’”

The video for Jeremy Loops Mission to the Sun ‘Howling’ will help you understand it all. I think it’s amazing to watch Jeremy Loops in action. He’s like a conductor and an entire orchestra all rolled into one. The guy starts Mission to the Sun ‘Howling’ by looping noises from a kids toy (you can hear the noises throughout the entire jam), and then incorporates his guitar, harmonica and beatbox too. You have to check this out!

It’s impressive to watch Jeremy Loops in action, but I also think Mission to the Sun ‘Howling’ is a good tune. It’s one of a few creative songs on the Jeremy Loops EP he released in October of 2011. I was trying to find more jams by Jeremy Loops and it sounds like his debut album comes out soon. I don’t know how soon though — it’s only described as “upcoming.” You can find one of his new songs called Down South right now on YouTube. The video for Down South actually gives you a much better view of Jeremy Loops as a one man band (even more so than the video for Mission to the Sun ‘Howling’).

A lot of people think the radio is a boring way to listen to music (thanks to iPods, etc.), but I’m on the opposite side of the argument. That’s because I can drive around in my car in Seattle and hear tunes from a one man band who makes music halfway around the planet in South Africa. I could have scoured iTunes or the internet for hours and never would have crossed Jeremy Loops Mission to the Sun ‘Howling’. Thanks to the radio I found his jam and I’m really glad I did. I’ll be looking for more from Jeremy Loops in the future.

What do you think of Jeremy Loops Mission to the Sun ‘Howling’? How about Jeremy Loops as a musician? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for all the latest on music, sports and food!

Jeremy Loops | Mission to the Sun 'Howling'

Jeremy Loops singing Mission to the Sun ‘Howling’

Typhoon | Common Sentiments | White Lighter

I’m not sure why the Typhoon is named Typhoon, but I’m sure it’s because they bring a typhoon of sound every time they perform. The Portland-based band typically performs with 10 to 14 people on stage. From drums to violins to guitars to trumpets to keyboards – Typhoon has it all. I latched on the group a year or so ago, but there’s a new Typhoon jam that I just caught wind of. It’s called ‘Common Sentiments’. Take a listen!

There’s clearly a deeper meaning to ‘Common Sentiments’ (with lyrics like “Some white ghost from my past comes to split me wide open” and asking over and over “When am I going to feel better?”), but I don’t know what it is (and I don’t really care). For now, I just really like the sound of the song.

Typhoon honestly reminds me of the groups of people (some call them “hippies”) you randomly see jamming out at the city park. Instead of meeting at the local park, Typhoon just brings their instruments into the studio or on stage and they start to whale away. Unlike the folks in the park, Typhoon keeps everyone together to make an incredible sound.

Typhoon Common Sentiments

Typhoon
Courtesy: last.fm

NOTE: Yes, I realize that was one of my more random music observations.

‘Common Sentiments’ was released in August on a two-track vinyl called Common Sentiments 7″, but Typhoon has much bigger plans for the song. According to their website, ‘Common Sentiments’ is “the triumphant first single from Typhoon’s forthcoming full length, White Lighter (coming in 2013).” The band released a teaser video for White Lighter, but it’s still unclear when the exact release date is. I honestly can’t wait to hear more.

Like I mentioned, I started listening to Typhoon around a year and a half ago (if not longer). I’ve never bought one of their albums (they have an EP called A New Kind of House and a full-length album called Hunger and Thirst), but there are a couple of Typhoon songs I really like. ‘CPR/Claws, Pt. 2‘ is the jam that originally turned me onto them, and then I got hooked on ‘Summer Home‘ after that. Other than those two songs, ‘Common Sentiments’ and ‘Green‘ (the B-side track on the Common Sentiments 7″), I haven’t listened to Typhoon much. I plan on digging into them more now, especially when White Lighter comes out. I’ll be sure to report back with the latest!

Have you ever listened to Typhoon? What did you think of ‘Common Sentiments’? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave your comments below, or you can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out all the latest from the world of music, sports and travel right now on http://allaroundtim.com!

Typhoon Common Sentiments

Typhoon performing ‘Common Sentiments’

 

High School Girl’s Wrestling Growing In Washington

Wrestling is king at Sedro-Woolley High School. The boy’s team has nine state titles, including six in a row from 2002 through 2007. The girl’s wrestling team wins titles too. Yes, you read that right — high school girl’s wrestling. The Cubs are currently four-time defending state champions.

“We have loggers,” said Sedro-Woolley girl’s wrestling coach Barb Morgan. “We have kids of loggers. We have farm kids. We have big, strong kids.”

High school girl’s wrestling isn’t a club sport, it’s actually governed by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, just like the boys. Washington has its own girls classification, and it is one of only five states in the country to offer a girls-only state tournament (Texas, California, Massachusetts and Hawaii are the others).

High School Girls Wrestling

The Sedro-Woolley girl’s wrestling team at practice

That separation has opened the door for massive growth. The number of high school girl’s wrestlers in Washington jumped from 376 in 2007 to more than 1,200 this year. Sedro-Woolley has seen its turnout increase as well, going from four girls eight years ago to 32 this season.

“Wrestling is unique,” said Sedro-Woolley junior Tinerra Adams. “It’s only you out there on the mat. You can’t rely on someone else to help you out or show you a move. It’s all about what you know at that moment.”

Most high school girl’s wrestling programs across the state and the country are mixed with the boys. They have the same coach and the same practice schedule. That’s not the case at Sedro-Woolley. Instead of working out with the guys in the high school’s mat room, the girls choose to trek to an elementary school across town for their own space.

“When we wrestle with the boys, they’re rude,” said Sedro-Woolley junior Taylor Dawson. “They try to beat us up. In here, we get to wrestle each other instead of the boys wrestling us.”

The high school girl’s wrestling system isn’t perfect in Washington yet. There are still several issues to overcome, including scheduling conflicts and a problem with the uniforms.

“We go to tournaments and there are still girls wearing boys singlets,” Morgan said. “They’re wearing shirts underneath because they don’t cover enough.”

While there are issues, high school girl’s wrestling in Washington is clearly taking major strides in the right direction. Morgan believes the sport has improved “dramatically” over the last ten years.

“These girls have so many more opportunities than I had when I was in school,” Morgan said. “It’s because someone stood up and fought for them, so it’s my turn to stand up and fight for it.”

She’s fighting for them and they’re fighting for themselves. Sedro-Woolley goes for its fifth straight state crown at Mat Classic XXV in Tacoma. Even if the Cubs don’t win the crown, they’re helping pave the way for high school girl’s wrestling in Washington, and that’s a victory all in itself.

What do you think about the progress of high school girl’s wrestling in Washington? How about across the country? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. If you’d like to watch the story I put together for my television station, check out the video below. Thanks for visiting http://allaroundtim.com!

New Music Discovery | Alt-J

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.

An Awesome Wave | Alt-J

‘An Awesome Wave’ cover art

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.

Alt-J | New Music Discovery

Alt-J

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!