Alt-J Top 5 Songs
Alt-J is one of the most unique “indie” “rock” bands (according to Google) that you will ever come across. The combination of almost audible English from “Joe Newman“, ridiculously intricate drum play from the-one-who-never-talks “Thom Green”. This is also in the company of amazing keyboardist “Gus Unger-Hamilton“. A man definitely worth the mention, that the band and fans also benefitted greatly from, “Gwil Sainsbury“, the bleach blonde Brit who killed it on the bass and famously known for his skills with the “the clam” in Fitzpleasure, but has since left the band in 2014.
If you know this band, you never really understand how you found them. If you don’t know this band, get ready to be satisfied, confused, and thoroughly entertained.
Why It’s Awesome: In order to really capture the true essence of the song ou have to watch the music video. The music video really had nothing to do with the song, it is just that the music video is so weird that you have to watch it 15 times before you realize it is a modern representation of “The School of Athens by Raphael“. You are introduced with an amazing “DUN…DUN…DUN” piano entry then followed by the influx of amazing percussions and guitar play. Tessellate is smooth enough to sway to, hard enough to bop to in your car, and soulfully sexy. The chorus on the surface is essentially Joe uttering low pitched whines of rubbish. Beautiful sex rubbish at that. It sits tat the top of my list because personally I could have it on loop for a 6-hour fight and never, ever get sick of it. It is the right amount of beats per minute to mellow me out but also enjoy intricacies of instruments. The only way I can describe it is as chunky peanut butter haha. It is R&B, refreshing for Alt-J, but not surprisingly because they never really fit inside a box enough for their genre to be decided.
Triangles are my favorite shape
Three points where two lines meet
Why I like it:
I have not a single clue.
Best Time To Listen To It: Riding a Schwinn down hill.
Why It’s Awesome: Instantly hit with amazing string work, and subtle percussion, then your hit with “DADADADA” and the beat kicks in. My favorite thing about Alt-J and more specifically, ‘Breezeblocks‘ is that they instrumentals do not drown out the impeccable vocals in the song. You are able to appreciate the vocals just by the melody of the voice even if you don’t understand the content of the words, up until you venture to a YouTube comment section. But yes, the vocals are crisp to the ear and pleasing, all the while giving you the chance to simultaneously appreciate the instrumentals of the tune. The complexity of the instrumental work has you replaying it over and over, and with each time you are pinpointing the different instruments and their role isn’t the song. It’s really an impeccably made song standing as their most popular, so it is a great introduction to the band’s sound. In parallel with ‘Tesselate‘, the music video brings even greater appreciation to the song.
She’s morphine, queen of my vaccine
My love, my love, love, love, la, la, la
Why I like it:
The girl he loves is obviously his addictions, his Morphine, but at the same time she could easily be the vaccine to bring him out of his addiction. Unfortunately, he loves her so much, he can’t go without her, but if she does escape his life that could better him.
Best Time To Listen To It: dusting your keyboard.
Why It’s Awesome: Well if you listen closely the song is about gang rape, that is not ‘awesome’. Harsh, I know. The inspiration came from the novel by Hubert Selby Jr titled Last Exit to Brooklyn. The main character’s name is “Tralala” aka ‘Tra-la-la-la’, and she ends up being horribly violated in the book’s end. My appreciation for Alt-J is a common thread int he other artists/bands that I rave over such as Twenty One Pilot’s. Both of these bands directly and indirectly acknowledge that, if you throw a nice beat and catchy chorus over dark lyrics people can go forever never knowing that the song was really about gang rape, basically. Beautiful song, gnarly meaning.
Deep greedy and
Googling every corner.
Why I like it:
It is someone pursuing out the girl, searching every corner for her. Nice word play.
Best Time To Listen To It: Tap dancing is a great time.
4. Left Hand Free
Why It’s Awesome: Easily one of the most poppy songs for them. It is this amazing hybrid of country and pop, like Imagine Dragons meets Vampire Weekend meets Taylor Swift? Yeah, that’s accurate. The instrumentals are very recognizable, unfortunately not as eccentric from the top 40 for a country-pop tune. It’s as if they were trying to yield to the Hot 100, yielding to the radio. Not my favorite idea for song creation, ut it is still a great song all in all. Makes me really happy whenever it shows up in my music queue.
Gee whiz, girl, you’re the one for me
Though your man is bigger than I am
Why I like it:
Joe says “Gee-Whiz’ c’mon now. That’s iconic
Best Time To Listen To It: Steppin’ off the plane in LAX with a dream and a cardigan.
5. Ripe & Ruin
Why It’s Awesome: It is an acapella masterpiece performed by Joe and Gus amazingly. I keep saying the word amazing throughout this post but it’s like a flashing neon sign in my head for this band, just amazing. Words can’t truly describe their amazing talent and artistry. It is a continuous unbroken harmony between the two. their voices compliment each other so well, you will notice Gus in the back vocals of a lot of their music also. The acapella is so simple and so crisp yet eloquent at the same time, they kill it every time.
Like all good fruit the balance of life is in the ripe and ruin.’
Why I like it: It is basically saying that the flow of life is to be born, live it aka the ‘ripe, and to ruin aka death. It just stating the circle of life for the featured person of the song who is suffering with OCD.
Best Time To Listen To It: after yoga, taking a vinyasa. Because since it an acapella you need to hear every single lyric, with open ears.
6. Real Hero (Bonus/Cover)
Why It’s Awesome: Originally performed by ” ” , I first heard this song in the Ryan Gosling movie Drive, and fell in love ever since. However, that love was elevated when I found out one of my favorite bands under The Strokes and Twenty One Pilots has been performed by Alt-J. Having one of the greatest vocalist in the industry, Joe Newman, his unique sound and ability for range sits parallel to George Ezra, and other great.
Best Time To Listen To It: on a swing or anything that makes you really really calm
Make sure to check out the incredibly Alt-J and support these guys.