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Interview:
The buzz keeps building for Britain's Alt-J
 

By GARY GRAFF
@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

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It's not hard to pick up on the buzz surrounding Britain's Alt-J.

The alternative rock group's debut album, "An Awesome Wave," won the coveted Mercury Music Prize in 2012 and Album of the Year at the Ivor Awards. The group was nominated for three Brit Awards, and the album went platinum in its homeland. U.S. radio stations have embraced songs such as "Breezeblocks" and "Fitzpleasure." It also had a song ("Buffalo") in the soundtrack to the film "Silver Linings Playbook." The group has also composed the score the upcoming film "Leave to Remain."

So things are building -- but don't ask the band members if they know what's going on.

"I think my sense of things is fairly...warped," guitarist-bassist Gwil Sainsbury says with a laugh. "I think if you're on the road you're not really aware of what is going on -- you're aware of it, but it's kind of hard for us to judge what's really going on. You kind of know good stuff keeps happening and we just carry on working hard.

"But, yeah, it's very hard to really place yourself as a band and know how you're doing or how you're perceived."

Most of Alt-J's success, of course, has taken place overseas and especially in its homeland. But the group has been working hard in the U.S.; it's currently on its second North American tour and has played taste-making events such as South By Southwest and Lollapalooza. But, Sainsbury says, its track record has at least made things a bit easier on this side of the pond.

"When our album came out (in the U.K.), it wasn't reviewed by any sort of mainstream press, only by blogs," explains Sainsbury, 24. "Everything that happened in the U.K., kind of took awhile to come. It didn't really feel like anyone knew who we were at the time until the whole Mercury Prize thing, and then it was like, 'Who's Alt-J?! Where did they come from?'

"America has kind of bee paying attention to what's been going on in the U.K. and Europe. So when the album came out here, later, we came to America with a little steam and people were paying attention, which was nice."

Alt-J and Lord Huron perform Tuesday, Sept. 10, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance, $28 day of show. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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