1 Alt-J

Artist profile: Alt-J

Known for: Catchy, intricate, and orchestral indie/experimental rock songs that stick in your head like molasses.

Why you should care: Alt-J, or ∆ for all you Mac-connoisseurs, is the four-piece English indie band that is turning ears in all directions across the music spectrum. Comprised of Gus Unger-Hamilton, Gwil Sainsbury, Joe Newman, and Thom Green. These lads met at university and first began making music together under the moniker “Daljit Dhaliwal” (a British television presenter currently on Al Jazeera) before ultimately becoming Alt-J and releasing their first four-track, self-titled EP in 2011.

This EP marked a speedy rise for Alt-J and widespread recognition of their distinctive sound that’s established by a) lead vocalist Newman’s transfixing and Bowie-esque tone, b) story-like and obscure lyrics, and c) the complementary, building instrumental ensembles that gives each track a touch of grandeur and often featuring guitar-punctuated beats. In 2012, the band released their debut album An Awesome Wave via Infectious Records, and later that year they were awarded the prestigious Barclaycard Mercury Prize for their record, beating out the likes of Ben Howard and Jessie Ware.

This big win launched a busy year of touring for the young band that included a coast-to-coast North American tour, as well as playing the massive Reading and Leeds Festival. Having appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, life just keeps getting busier for Alt-J, who will soon return to North America for a December tour south of the border.

If you haven’t already, check them out. You won’t regret it.

photos by Luis Enriquez