Press the “alt” key followed by the “J” key on your PC keyboard and up pops “∆”. Alt-J, the London band that Rolling Stone dubs “Mumford & Sons with laptops,” discovered this back in 2007, and named itself after the geometric shortcut. Joe Newman (guitar/vocals), Gwil Sainsbury (guitarist/bassist), Gus Unger-Hamilton (keyboards) and Thom Green (drums) released their debut album An Awesome Wave in May of 2012 and by the end of the year had won both the coveted British Mercury Prize and BBC Radio 6 Music Album of the Year. “[After winning these awards] everything goes up: fees, demand, expectation, venue sizes, free stuff, etc.,” says Newmann. “It’s great but just so long as you stay grounded and keep thinking about the quality of your next creative step.”

And the band, which is about to take to the stage this weekend at Coachella, is finally hitting its stride in the States. Its track “Buffalo” was featured in the Oscar-winning Silver Linings Playbook, and currently Alt-J is in the midst of a country-wide tour. After Coachella, the boys will be making stops at Bonnaroo and the Governors Ball. Though Newmann says that just getting to travel the country will be the best part of the experience. The one thing he must do when he gets to New York City? He simply replies, “Stay.”

Here is a sampling of the band’s best beats:



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Photo: Jory Cordy