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Alt-J

Alt-J

ALL ARTIST INFO IS PULLED FROM PUBLICLY AVAILABLE DATA.
IF YOU REPRESENT THIS ARTIST AND WOULD LIKE TO VERIFY YOUR PAGE OR UPDATE THE INFO, Click Here
Biography

​​Alt-J is an indie rock trio made up of Joe Newman on guitar and lead vocals, Thom Green on drums, and Gus Unger-Hamilton on keyboards and vocals. From their formation until 2014, Gwil Sainsbury served as Alt-J’s fourth member, playing guitar and bass. The group formed in Leeds, England, in 2007 and put out their debut album, An Awesome Wave, in May 2012 in Europe and September in the United States. The album went on to earn the 2012 British Mercury Prize, as well as several other accolades. 

Since the release of An Awesome Wave, the group has gone on to drop two more studio records and is currently promoting their upcoming fourth. Alt-J continues to toe the line between fine art, avant-garde indie pop, and arena-ready rock with ease, earning plenty of acclaim along the way. They’ve occasionally been compared to groups like Glass Animals, Arctic Monkeys, and Tame Impala, but they have a sound all their own. 

Want to know more about the band? Keep reading.

instruments played
bass
drums
Guitar
keyboard
Vocals
Genres

Indie rock indie pop art rock folktronica

Origin

Leeds, England

Website
Years Active

2007 present

Name

Alt-J

How Alt-J Got Their Name

The group's name is inspired by their obsession with triangles, which frequently show up in their lyrics. The official name is actually ∆, the capital letter delta in Greek, which can be typed by pressing the "alt" and "J" keys on a Mac. Prior to changing their name to Alt-J, the band went by both "Daljit Dhaliwal" and "Films" at different points.

The Band's Formation

The band's founding members are Gwilym Sainsbury, Joe Newman, Augustus Unger-Hamilton, and Thom Sonny Green, studying everything from English literature to fine arts.  The foursome met at Leeds University and started making music together during their second year of studies. Their earliest recordings were all made with Sainsbury acting as the producer on GarageBand in the boys' dorm rooms, and the group embraced a DIY mindset while making music from the beginning. Because they were in dorms, they couldn’t use bass guitars or bass drums. Former guitarist Gwil Sainsbury served as the producer for the band’s earliest music, but that responsibility later shifted to non-member Charlie Andrew. The band's members relocated to Cambridge, England, after graduating, and it was there that they signed a record contract with Infectious Music. After scoring that deal, the band got to work on recording their self-titled EP, which features the songs "Breezeblocks," "Tessellate," "Matilda," and "Hand-Made." All of these songs were later featured on the group's full-length debut. 

An Awesome Wave

The band's first full-length album was released in late 2012. The record features all of the songs from the self-titled EP, as well as others like "Fitzpleasure" and "Taro." The group followed up the release with an opening tour for the English indie rock band Wild Beasts. An Awesome Wave earned nominations for several Brit Awards, including British Breakthrough Act, British Album of the Year, and British Group of the Year. Songs from An Awesome Wave appeared in multiple movies, TV shows, and video games, with "Fitzpleasure" showing up in the Battleborn trailer and "Tessellate" featuring on the score for Sons of Anarchy.

This is All Yours

The group's second album, This Is All Yours, came out on September 22, 2014. Released via Infectious Music, the album's trackless features the singles "Every Other Freckle," "Warm Foothills," "Left Hand Free," and "Hunger of the Pine." The album earned several award nominations, including a nod for Best Alternative Album at the Grammys. This is All Yours also earned positive reviews from outlets like The Guardian, Rolling Stone, Q, and AllMusic. The album's single "Left Hand Free" went on to appear in several films and TV series, including Outer Banks and Captain America: Civil War. 

Relaxer 

The band's third studio album, Relaxer, was released on June 2, 2017. The record was the group's first album to be released via Atlantic Records, and it was produced by frequent collaborator Charlie Andrew. The trackless for Relaxer features several singles, including "In Cold Blood," the binary code-tinged "3WW," "Deadcrush," "Pleader," and "Adeline."  The group followed the release of Relaxer with a remix album titled Reduxer.

The Dream

The band has currently released two singles for their upcoming fourth album, The Dream – "U&Me" and "Get Better." The full album is set to release on February 11, 2022, and its production was handled by Charlie Andrew. A music video for "Get Better" was also released on the same day as the track, November 3 of 2021. The visuals for the song's accompanying music video were all made using pixel art.  "Get Better" was recorded during lockdown, and it was inspired by an improvised song that Joe Newman wrote for his partner back in 2018.  Speaking about the song's heartfelt lyrics, Newman said, "I felt a nervous heat when writing 'Get Better.' The context of the coronavirus pandemic lent my words a chilling weight and gave me a new sense of responsibility as a lyricist. Whilst the direct events described are fictional, I believe – or I hope – that it's emotionally the most honest song I've ever written." After listening to the song, Unger-Hamilton noted that it gave him “a big cry… A cry of the year.”

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