Firstly, congratulations Alt J for winning the Barclaycard Mercury Music Award for their album, An Awesome Wave, last night. A large part of us wish Jessie Ware had won, but you know what? Alt-J are also great. A little bit folky, a little bit sample-y, tuneful and sad-sounding with some actual falsetto - modern! You know a bit like the brilliant Everything Everything who were also, coincidentally, nominated for a Mercury prize but were sadly (and shamefully) robbed last year. The Mercury Music Awards, which awards £20,000 to the year's best album, is a big deal in the world of music. Yes there’s the famed Mercury curse – that it destroys its winners' musical futures *cough* Klaxons *cough* - but we expect Alt-J will buck the trend. Why? Because they’re great. So go buy the album.
Wait, hang on, what’s that? You have no idea who Alt-J are? And you’re worried you’ll sound like an idiot in the pub tonight? No matter. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Alt-J, a sort of post-Mercury’s crammer.
1. Alt-J’s name comes from the shortcut for the delta sign on a Mac keyboard: ∆. We use Macs, so nope, no idea.
2. Alt-J are Gwil Sainsbury (guitarist/bassist), Joe Newman (guitar/vocals), Gus Unger-Hamilton (keyboards) and Thom Green (drums). All real names.
3. Alt-J met at Leeds University in 2007 where they lived together. They now live in Cambridge. None are from either city.
4. "Alt-J" were formerly known as both 'Daljit Dhaliwal' and 'Films'. Films has a ring to it.
5. Some of Alt-J studied English Literature which explains the literary references in their music. Our favourite? Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are.
6. An Awesome Wave went top 20 when it came out. Not bad for a debut.
7. Alt-J are on tour next spring. Good luck getting a ticket.
8. Here are some things critics have said about their album (which you can now say about them):
‘It's an ‘innovative, arty, but engaging and warm record’ Paul Stokes, Associate Editor Q
‘It's very John Peel’ Paul Lester, Guardian
9. They intend to spend some of their prize money taking their parents out for a slap-up meal. Which is nice.
10. They were the bookie’s favourite to win. So shame on you for not knowing who they are.