British indie rock collective Alt-J were recently the featured guests at 98.7-FM's Penthouse, an exclusive concert series hosted by Los Angeles-based radio station KYSR-FM at the historic Hollywood Tower in Hollywood, Calif. Before an intimate crowd, Alt-J performed a set featuring tracks from their debut album, An Awesome Wave, including "Something Good" and "Tessellate."
Prior to the performance, Alt-J participated in an exclusive interview with GRAMMY.com and discussed winning a Barclaycard Mercury Prize for An Awesome Wave, common themes in their music and touring, among other topics.
"The nomination list is so good that we didn't really expect to win [the Mercury Prize]," said guitarist/bassist Gwil Sainsbury.
"When we were recording the album, [Joe Newman's] dad came down … to see the studio and see what we were doing," added keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton. "And after he was there he went home to a bookmaker and was like, 'I want to put a bet on a band called Alt-J to win the Mercury Prize' and … they wouldn’t take the bet because nobody had heard of us at all."
Named after the sign that forms after pressing "Alt" and "J" on a Mac computer, indie rock quartet Alt-J comprise Sainsbury, Unger-Hamilton, Thom Green (drums), and Joe Newman (guitar/vocals). Formed in 2008 under the moniker Films, Alt-J released their debut single "Bloodflood/Tessellate" in 2011 via music magazine's Loud And Quiet label. In 2012 the band released their debut album, An Awesome Wave, in the United States via Infectious Records. The album peaked at No. 25 on Billboard's Rock Albums chart and spawned the single "Fitzpleasure," which reached No. 27 on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart. An Awesome Wave was named winner of the 2012 Barclaycard Mercury Prize, an award honoring the top British and Irish album of the year. Alt-J are currently touring internationally, with dates scheduled through August 2013.
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