English indie rockers Alt-J, named for the delta symbol that appears when pressing "Alt" and "J" on a Mac keyboard, first formed in 2008 under the moniker FILMS.
The quartet members, all of whom met at Leeds University, spent two years rehearsing before inking a deal with Infectious Records in 2011. Their signature blend of layered, folk-inflected dub-pop and soaring alternative rock was first heard on the 2012 singles "Matilda" and "Fitzpleasure" with the group's full-length studio debut, An Awesome Wave, arriving later that year. The album would eventually go on to earn the prestigious Mercury Prize, alongside three Brit Award nominations. They soon became mainstays on the U.K. and European festival circuit expanding outward with tours in the U.S. and Australia as well. The band's increasing success and heavy touring schedule eventually led to the amicable departure of bassist Gwil Sainsbury at the end of 2013. The remaining trio of singer/guitarist Joe Newman, keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton, and drummer Thom Green continued undeterred and their sophomore record, This Is All Yours, was issued in the autumn of 2014. Well-received critically, This Is All Yours debuted at number one in the U.K. and fared similarly well in Europe and the U.S. where they earned their first Grammy nomination. ~ Timothy Monger, Rovi