SXSW 2013 Band of the Day: Alt-J

British alt-rock foursome ∆ or Alt-J is one of the hundred-plus bands already announced to attend this year’s SXSW festival in March. Their album An Awesome Wave made waves overseas before hitting the States in early fall. Alt-J’s unconventional (and at time messy) sound was met with a mixed bag of reviews, but I can’t get enough of their debut album since first hearing it late last year.

Alt-J’s quirky, multidimensional sound is layered with a wide range of genres from dub-step to folk to synth-rock. This proclivity towards experimentalism often has them walking a fine line between chaos and harmony, but Joe Newman’s haunting vocals deliver just enough hooks to keep an overall balance. The result is music that’s both fresh and unique but also accessible.

That being said, it will be interesting to see if Alt-J has the ability to maintain an equilibrium while performing live during SXSW. Specifically, is what keeps the band from becoming too much of a ‘new age’ mess actually new age technology? After all, this is a band whose name is inspired by the triangle symbol created by the Apple keyboard shortcut ‘Alt-J’ (∆). Regardless, Alt-J is currently on my shortlist of bands to catch come March, and until then, Alt-J will still be heavily featured on my workday soundtrack.

Alt-J – Tessellate

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