Skip to content


By Lucia Ruan

Although I was pretty excited for the Grammys, I wasn’t expecting much. Luckily for me, there wasn’t much. (Ed Sheeran and Elton John, though. Justin Timberlake. Frank Ocean. Taylor Swift badly faking an English accent. All interesting. The rest was uneventful.)

Now that it’s over, though, I can focus on freaking out about the BRIT Awards. There are various reasons for my enthusiasm, up to and including:

  1. Taylor Swift and One Direction performing on the same stage at the same time (judge me, I don’t care, this is where the drama in my life comes from)
  2. Exciting artists I actually care about!!!!!!

Sure, sure, Calvin Harris, Coldplay, Mumford and Sons, Muse, One Direction, and all that are old names that certain pretentious music lovers are sooooo over, but I want to talk about the amazing new discoveries I made through the BRIT Awards’ nominees that I want to share with you all!

I’m going to talk about Alt-J and Jake Bugg.

First, Alt-J. Fun fact, they’re technically named ∆, but because no one knows how to actually pronounce that (delta?), they are pronounced alt-J because that is the keyboard shortcut to create ∆ on a mac. Try it! Back to the point, I first heard of them from a mix I got from a friend. She put Breezeblocks and Dissolve Me on, and I thought they were fantastic and didn’t look more into it. Lo and behold, four months later, Alt-J is nominated for a BRIT Award! I checked out all of their songs and they are all beyond amazing, particularly Taro, which has a tendency of getting stuck in my head, and Dancing in the Moonlight, which is more acoustic yet still distinctly them. They have a mellow, soft sound, which Wikipedia tells me is because they had to keep the noise down because they lived in student halls, and this paired with lead singer Joe Newman’s quiet, somewhat high-pitched voice makes any song by them immediately recognizable. I would classify their music as synth-folk-pop-rock-ish? Eh, I am definitely not the best at labeling genres, but I want everyone ever to give them a listen, so. Do it.


Second, Jake Bugg. He’s pretty different from Alt-J; not exactly for everyone. Wikipedia labels him as the folk/country genre, but DON’T RUN AWAY!! Truth be told I was drawn to him by his age—he’s eighteen (aka my age—hello), which is equal parts attractive and enviable. I would say the closest comparable artists would be Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, but that’s not even right. I’m going to stop trying.

I’m just going to point you all to

this video which pulled me in and didn’t let go. His sound and his lyrics (which, fun fact, he wrote all of them. With some help, but still) are just so refreshing and unlike any recent artist I can think of. The fact that he is nominated for the BRIT Awards indicates that maybe, just maybe, he’s successfully bringing back that old time sound that people loved so much back in the day. Other tracks to check out include Taste It, Trouble Town, and Country Song. I’m going to admit that I haven’t heard the songs that don’t have videos yet, but I mean…just watch one of them and try to pull yourself away from the way he performs, is all I’m saying. Now, that’s attractive.

Both are nominated for British Breakthrough Act while Alt-J is also nominated for Best British Group (along with One Direction!!!) and Mastercard British Album of the Year in this year’s BRIT Awards, which takes place on the 20th of February. So yeah, I guess they’re not obscure or anything, but on the off-chance you’ve never heard of them before in your life, you’re welcome for making your life 1230% better.