Author: Jessica Sion
I stumbled upon Alt-J one prelim week in the library last winter in a desperate attempt to maintain my own sanity. Also known as “∆” (the symbol you get by hitting alt + j on a Mac), this English electronic/indie-rock band’s distinct sound combines muted drums with delicate piano interludes and lead vocalist Joe Newman’s sultry harmonies. As is the case with several underground alternative bands, I struggled most with their pronunciation – not “Delta,” as I soon found out.
Though originally formed in 2007, Alt-J only released their debut album, An Awesome Wave, in May 2012. The album received positive reviews from most music critics, peaking at Number 13 on the UK Albums Chart, and going on to win the British Barclaycard Mercury Prize in 2013. The band’s signature style of multi-textured, experimental electric and leathery folk is comparable to alternative rock groups such as Hot Chip, The Neighbourhood, and Vampire Weekend.
Their second full-length album, This is All Yours, came out Monday, September 22, 2014. With a handful of tracks already available on iTunes and most of the album otherwise accessible online, Alt-J’s follow-up effort seems promising. Similarly mesmerizing and multi-layered, this album features several hits, such as “Every Other Freckle” and “Hunger of the Pine”, which brilliantly weaves in a Miley Cyrus “I’m a female rebel” sample from her 2013 song “4×4.”
Lucky for me, the album’s release date coincides perfectly with my first round of prelims. Here’s to the coming week of iced coffee, all-nighters, and Alt-J!
A couple of my favorite tracks from An Awesome Wave: