|For decades, England has been home to some of the best bands, and the talented quartet Alt-J is no exception. Alt-J is an indie rock band that formed in 2007. Since then, the band has become widely popular, making a name for itself across the globe. Don’t miss your chance to see one of the most innovative indie rock bands today.
The early years
Alt-J was formed when guitarist/bassist Gwil Sainsbury, guitarist/lead vocalist Joe Newman, keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton and drummer Thom Green met at Leeds University. They spent their years at the university writing music and lyrics and recording on Garage Band in their hall rooms. But due to the fact that they were living in student halls where the noise had to be kept to a minimum, their songs lacked bass guitars or bass drums.
The band was initially named both “Daljit Dhaliwal” and “Films” until they realized that an American band named “The Films” already existed. Their name comes from the Greek letter “delta,” which is used as the mathematical symbol for change. However it’s pronounced “alt-J” because if you press alt + j on a Mac computer you get the triangular symbol.
Making a wave
After graduating from university, the band spent some time working on their music before signing a deal with Infectious Records in December 2011. The group released a self titled four-track demo EP which included songs “Breezeblocks,” “Hand-Made,” “Matilda” and “Tessellate.” Its debut album An Awesome Wave was released in May 2012 in the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia, and in September 2012 it hit North America via Canvasback Music. The album combines a plethora of genres, including folk, pop, indie rock and electronic rock to create a unique sound. The lyrics contain heavy narratives, some ambiguous, some not. For instance, the hit song “Breezeblocks” takes a line, “Please don’t go, we’ll eat you whole, we love you so,” from the famous children’s book “Where The Wild Things Are.” The album An Awesome Wave was received extremely well and the band headlined a tour around the U.K. and Ireland in 2012.
Sainsbury left the band in January 2014. In September 2014, the band released its second album, This Is All Yours, and it went straight to No. 1 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart. In addition, the band has also produced music for films and television - their song “Buffalo” was featured in the hit movie “Silver Linings Playbook.” The band members have expressed that their innovative sound is not intended to create a new genre, just to continue to make music they enjoy.