Alt-J, also known as ∆, is an English indie rock band that formed in 2007 out of Leeds, England.  The band was formed by Gwil Sainsbury (guitar/bass), Joe Newman (guitar/lead vocals), Gus Unger-Hamilton (keyboards/vocals) and Thom Green (drums).  The band has released two albums so far.  Their debut album, “An Awesome Wave,” was released in May 2012 in Europe and in September 2012 in the United States.  The album won the 2012 British Barclaycard Mercury Prize.  In Early 2014, Gwil Sainsbury left the band to pursue of there interest.  The band’s second album, “This Is All Yours,” will be released on September 22, 2014 in the United States.  As a replacement for Sainsbury, Cameron Knight will be a support member for Alt-J’s live shows playing guitar, bass and samplers.

The band formed when all of the original members met at Leeds University in 2007.  In their second year of studies, Newman showed Sainsbury a handful of his own songs, and soon the two began to record on GarageBand in their hall rooms with Sainsbury acting as their producer.  The band’s unusual sound stems from the fact that due to living in student halls, noise had to be kept at a minimum.  They were also unable to use bass guitars or bass drums.

After graduating, they moved to Cambridge, where they claimed Jobseeker’s Allowence.  They spent two years rehearsing before signing a deal with Infectious Records in December 2011.  Their self-titled first 4-track EP “∆,” was recorded with producer Charlie Andrew in London and showcased the tracks, “Breezeblocks,” “Hand-Made,” “Matilda,” and “Tessellate.”

The band’s symbol is the delta sign “∆” which is traditionally used in scientific study to indicate “change” or “difference.”  The “∆” can be typed on an Apple Mac with the key sequence alt+J (on certain keyboard layouts).  The band was formerly known as “Daljit Dhaliwal” and “Films” but was later forced to change because an American band called “The Films” already existed.  The groups sound has been described as layered, folk-inflected, dub-pop with a mixture of soaring alternative rock and has been compared to artists such as Hot Chip, Wild Beast, and Everything Everything.

Alt-J played a host of festival shows throughout 2013, including Reading and Leeds Festival, Bonnaroo, Optimus Alive!, the Australian Laneway Festival, Lollapalooza, Coachella, Sasquatch!, Bilbao BBK Live, the Other Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, the Tent Stage at Open’er Festival, Rock Werchter in “The Barn” and the Osheaga Festival in Montreal, Quebec.  These festivals are just to name a few.  The band has performed at many others since 2013.

On January 13, 2014, Gwil Sainbury left Alt-J and it was later announced on Twitter.  The band stated that they would continue and that Gwil was still their best friend.  On June 9, 2014, the band announced their second album, “This Is All Yours,” and that it would be released on September 22, 2014.

These guys know the meaning of dedication in order to promote their band.  Just based on the amount of festivals they performed at in 2013 and the many others they performed at during 2014, you can easily see that this band is in for the long-haul.  But why wouldn’t they be, with such a unique sound mixed with Joe Newman’s strange sounding vocals, you get something that makes the band stand out from other indie outfits out there.  Take a listen to some of the band’s biggest hits below and see what I mean when I say unique sounding.

I’ve including a few singles from off their upcoming album, “This Is All Yours”:  “Left Hand Free,””Hunger of the Pine,” “Fitzpleasure” and “Every Other Freckle,”  as well as some of their biggest hits from off of their debut album.  Check them out and be sure to pick up “This Is All Yours” when it hits store shelves September 22.


Sources: Videos: YouTube – Info: Wikipedia – Picture: Google Images