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alt-J takes indie rock scene by storm

(PHOTO CREDIT: EDDY BERTHIER
Indie rock band alt-J was created in 2007 in Leeds, England. The band’s current members include Joe Newman, Gus Unger-Hamilton and Thom Green. (PHOTO CREDIT: EDDY BERTHIER)

On Sept. 22, the British indie rock band alt-J released their sophomore album “This Is All Yours” on Spotify.

The album was largely hyped by the alternative community and the band even provided a “First Listen Live” via NPR from their Sept. 2 concert at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City. Although alt-J is fairly new to the indie rock community, they have become a frontrunner for the new age of alternative rock—up there with Bastille and The Neighbourhood.

You may not know the band by name, but you may recognize their two very popular songs, “Breezeblocks” and “Left Hand Free.” Both songs have a different sound, but lead singer Joe Newman’s voice is instantly recognizable.

“Breezeblocks” was featured on their first hit album in 2012, “An Awesome Wave.”  The song starts off with the iconic lyrics “She may contain the urge to run away, but hold her down with soggy clothes and breezeblocks.”

Aside from the practically fathomless lyrics, “Breezeblocks,” as well as the rest of “An Awesome Wave,” is accompanied by disoriented vocals and a calm array of soft background instruments and vocals.

Furthermore, the band’s newest album combines those successful elements with some groovy blues-rock. “Left Hand Free,” which may currently be the band’s most popular song, has a lot more amplification and emphasis on the instruments rather than Newman’s vocals with background sound.

Like “An Awesome Wave,” this album starts off with an intro that utilizes various sounds and instruments, like a pseudo-overture for the album. It also makes use of disoriented vocals as the song continues.

As the album goes on, it becomes evident that each song has its own individual feel, something that differs from the last album. The band goes from songs such as “Hunger of the Pine” and “Every Other Freckle,” which both have an underlying intensity to them, to songs such as “Warm Foothills” and “Pusher,” which are soft and acoustic.

Though it is very different from their debut album, “This is All Yours,” the band’s current album is definitely worth a listen. If you are a fan of Bastille, The Neighbourhood, Vampire Weekend, The Black Keys or The 1975, I think that would would definitely enjoy alt-J. My recommendation would be to listen to “An Awesome Wave” first just because it is pretty awesome. It will also give you a sense of the band as a whole.

I have no doubt that this album will be a success and I think it will gain the title of being the album of the fall. With that being said, keep an eye out for alt-J and their takeover of the indie rock scene.

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