HotStar: Alt-J

Prince may be the first and last major artist to enlist an unpronounceable symbol as his musical brand but, 20-odd years later, comes a band that uses a symbol resembling a triangle or the Greek letter Delta as its name, but which the Birmingham, England, rock quartet says is pronounced Alt-J.

You need a Mac for the Alt-J trick, but you don’t need a compatible computer to figure out the band is the U.K.’s latest entry in a wave of BritPop newcomers making a splash in the States.

Leeds University students Gwil Sainsbury and Joe Newman began working on songs in 2007, with Sainsbury manning the dorm room Garageband controls and Newman “inspired by his guitar-playing dad and hallucinogens.”  Friends Gus Unger-Hamilton (keyboards) and Thom Green (drums) soon joined the fledgling band.

Alt-J has gone through other incarnations, first as Daljit Dhaliwal and then Films – which it dropped to avoid confusion with California punk band The Films. But it’s really been in the last year that Alt-J, and what it refers to as its own brand of “folk-step,” has come into its own.

With a booking team of Tom Windish of The Windish Agency and Primary Talent International‘s Matt Bates and Nick Holroyd, Alt-J has made an impressive progression as road warriors.

The band made the leap from 200-seat clubs to a 2,800-capacity sellout at New York’s Terminal 5 in just more than one year’s time. And the road seems to go on forever for the fey foursome in support of its debut album, An Awesome Wave

In addition to a slew of European festival dates and an Australian tour keeping Alt-J busy during the summer months, the band returns to American shores Aug. 27 at the Hollywood Palladium to kick off a fall headlining leg. Stops include two-night stands at the Fox Theatre in Oakland, Calif., and the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., and a visit to Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium.