Alt-J Prepare To Conquer US

Comparisons to Radiohead and a full album stream on Soundcloud are helping the young band from England prepare a US invasion on September 18.

Ultimate Guitar

Alt-J are preparing to launch their wildly successful debut album in the US on September 18, after tracks from an online stream of their full album averaged over 150,000 plays each.

It follows their recent nomination for the Mercury Prize, with bookmakers naming their album "An Awesome Wave" the favorite to win, citing them as the "new Radiohead".

With critics praising them for supposedly creating a new sound, it's no wonder the easiest comparison is Radiohead, but keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton says that being hard to describe is probably a good thing: "We don't find genres particularly helpful," he told Billboard. "Music doesn't need to be so easily categorized. There's no need to call it anything."

It seems that the secret to their success has been to stream their entire album on Soundcloud, earning them hundreds of thousands of plays. In May they played to only 250 people in New York's Mercury lounge, but their fan base is growing so fast that they sold out the much-bigger Bowery Ballroom as a headliner this week.

"Instead of taking the stream down because of damaged sales, it paid off. The first U.S. shows were sold out," said marketing head Jack Hedges. "By giving access to the music, the band created its own lane. EDM crowds could embrace this, but so could the Pitchfork crowd, the jam band scene and the left-field hip-hop crowd."

Hear the full Alt-J album "An Awesome Wave" here:

Do you agree with the hype surrounding Alt-J? Would you consider streaming your entire album to build up a fan base? Let us know if they tickle your fancy in the comments.


12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    It sounds like a super poppy, pretentious and polished Radiohead without a memorable singer. I'm going to stick with the original.
    i got this album on wednesday and it hasnt left my cd player since...listened to it about 7 times so far.
    Y'know, having practically every review I hear of them include the words "new" and "Radiohead" in it doesn't really convince me to listen to their music.
    It sounds more like Hip-hop to me, except for the "Guitar" song and the first part of the intro (which is beautiful until the beats come in)
    They played a very small venue a few months ago around here. I'm pretty bummed as with their growing popularity I'll probably never get a chance to see them that personally again.