English indie rockers Alt-J, named for the delta symbol that appears when pressing "Alt" and "J" on a Mac keyboard, first formed in 2008 under the moniker FILMS. The quartet members, all of whom met at Leeds University, spent two years rehearsing before inking a deal with Infectious Records in 2011. Their signature blend of layered, folk-inflected dub-pop and soaring alternative rock was first heard on the 2012 singles "Matilda" and "Fitzpleasure," with the group's full-length studio debut, An Awesome Wave, arriving later that year. The album would eventually go on to earn the prestigious Mercury Prize, alongside three Brit Award nominations. They soon became mainstays on the U.K. and European festival circuit, expanding outward with tours in the U.S. and Australia as well. The band's increasing success and heavy touring schedule eventually led to the amicable departure of bassist Gwil Sainsbury at the end of 2013. The remaining trio of singer/guitarist Joe Newman, keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton, and drummer Thom Green continued undeterred, and their sophomore record, This Is All Yours, was issued in the autumn of 2014. Critically well-received, This Is All Yours debuted at number one in the U.K. and fared similarly well in Europe and the U.S., where they earned their first Grammy nomination. In early 2017, Alt-J issued a trio of singles, "3WW," "In Cold Blood," and "Adeline," in anticipation of the release of their third studio long-player, Relaxer, which dropped later that June. ~ Timothy Monger
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 2, 2017 | Infectious
Three years after This Is All Yours, Alt-J are out to take listeners for another joyride. Still defying labels and pigeonholes, the Leeds group has written Relaxer as a disorienting stylistic patchwork. As ever with Alt-J, you could say that their third album is often pop, sometimes folk (Last Year) or raw rock (Hit Me Like That Snare), occasionally electro, or even lyrical (Pleader), sometimes stripped-down, but also very much built around the voice of singer Joe Newman, and you still wouldn't get close to explaining it… And then there is this totally freakish cover of House Of The Rising Sun which is only recognisable from the lyrics, Alt-J having completely changed the melody… In short, like their countrymen Radiohead or, on the other side of the Atlantic, Animal Collective, Alt-J are on the march against business as usual, wrong-footing the world of pop at every turn. That's a hallmark that's perhaps clearer than ever on Relaxer… Finally, the cover art is a good guide as to what to expect: a still from LSD : Dream Simulator, a PlayStation game from 1998, which was pretty zany, with no real goal or mission, and populated by headless women, multicoloured giant plants and heads on legs. It was like a virtual LSD trip… © CM/Qobuz
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