Alt-J: Mercury Prize Winners, Reading & Leeds Festival Headliners

Indie | Monday 17th December 2012 | Martin

Alt-J (∆) is the keyboard shortcut used to insert the Greek letter Delta on the Apple software OS X. This obscure symbol is also the name of a band that has made an extreme move from obscurity to mainstream radio playlists. October 2011 saw the Cambridge based band release their first EP and in November 2012 their debut album, An Awesome Wave, won the Mercury Prize Album of the Year. Now, ∆ have been announced as headliners for the NME/Radio 1 stage at Reading & Leeds 2013.

∆ are a band that defies genre constriction. Confining them to a particular music category is not only impossible, but it would be demeaning to their unique aura. Harmonised folk vocals, indie-alternative guitar, and electro-riffs are just some of the elements strewn together throughout An Awesome Wave. It was undoubtedly Alt-J’s diverse influences and genre-spanning sounds that secured them the 2012 Mercury Prize, despite having to ward off an array of superb artists to receive the award. Ben Howard, Jessie Ware, Django Django, Plan B, and Michael Kiwanuka, were just some of the names that had an insurmountable claim to the prize, but were stunned by the outfit that formed only in 2007.  

The band played an array of festival dates in 2012 and made a surprise appearance on the BBC introducing stage at Reading. In another extraordinary stride of success, Alt-J have been invited back as a headline act for the festival in 2013.  ∆ will play a host of international concerts throughout the coming year, with a few months in America, and two exciting dates at Brixton Academy, London.


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Here is Alt-J’s ‘Taro’, a perfect example of their unmatched style:

By Martin Cater (@MartinCater)