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Alt-J Kick Off New Tour Monday at Madison Square Garden

March 27th, 2015

Joe Newman (vocals and guitar), Thom Green (drums), Gwil Sainsbury (guitar and bass) and Gus Unger-Hamilton (keys and vocals) met in 2007 while attending Leeds University and began making music together. Upon graduation, the foursome settled into Cambridge as Alt-J in 2011. Their debut full-length, An Awesome Wave (stream it below), filled with soaring folk-influenced dub music, came out in 2012. And not only did it rocket the band to stardom, earning comparisons to Radiohead and Coldplay along the way, but it also won them the prestigious Mercury Prize. After playing big festivals like Bonnaroo, Glastonbury and Lollapalooza in 2013, the quartet became a trio when Sainsbury departed the following year. (Cameron Knight has since replaced him for live shows, on guitar, bass and sampler.) But the beat goes on for Alt-J (above, doing “Every Other Freckle” for Jimmy Kimmel Live!): Their second full-length, This Is All Yours (stream it below), arrived last September. And it’s safe to say there’s no sophomore slump here. According to Rolling Stone, “It’s an ambling, entrancing listen—full of songs that blur weird folk and electronic zonkiness, classical filigree and straight-up rock, scrambling in all directions…. These guys know that alienation works best when it’s a little bit of fun.” Fresh off playing Lollapalooza in Brazil, Alt-J kick off their American tour on Monday night at Madison Square Garden. And as an added bonus, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., electronic-rock duo Phantogram open the show.