Named after the Mac keyboard shortcut for the delta symbol (∆), Alt-J formed at Leeds University in 2007. The next few years were spent developing their songwriting and occasionally changing their name, before settling on Alt-J and the “folk-step” sound that has found them so many fans of late.
The band release their latest single, ‘Breezeblocks’, on 21 May, followed a week later by their debut album, ‘An Awesome Wave’, via Infectious Music. They are also due to kick off a UK tour on 24 May, following an appearance at Liverpool Sound City this weekend.
Ahead of all of that, we asked keyboard player Gus Unger-Hamilton to put together a playlist for us. Here’s what he chose.
01 The Leisure Society – We Were Wasted
Powerful lyrics in such a short song. Leaves you wanting more.
02 Souls Of Mischief – 93 Til Infinity
An absolute early 90s classic. Just a great track. Need we say more? No.
03 Lusine – Two Dots
A really beautifully minimal track. Everything is just in the right place in this song.
04 King Creosote and John Hopkins – Bats In The Attic
I haven’t been able to stop listening to this album since last year’s Mercury Prize. It’s so hard to pick one song from it, but this is pretty special.
05 Santigold – I’m A Lady (Benny Blanco Remix)
I love the original, but it’s not often that a remix overshadows the artist’s version. The remix gets more plays than the original in this case.
06 Simon and Garfunkel – America
A really nostalgic song, which also appeared on the soundtrack for ‘Almost Famous’ – a staple film for anyone in a band!
07 Romare – The Blues (It Began In Africa)
An awesome footwork track from our friend, producer Romare. All four tracks on his debut EP are great, but the house flute in this one will stay in your head for days.
08 Radiohead – Pyramid Song
Possibly one of Thom Yorke’s favourite Radiohead songs, and for good reason. It’s so layered that it feels as fresh on the twentieth listen as it does on the first.
09 Bibio – The Apple And The Tooth
The title track from an amazing album by Bibio. My little brother introduced me to this artist by giving me this album for Christmas a couple of years ago. Surprising and original.
10. Nas – Represent
An incredible song from Nas’s debut album. It talks about hustling but without glamorising it. Such a talented individual.