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alt-J has always had a knack for making the unconventional sound appealing

alt-J needed a break after almost a decade as a band, putting out three immensely successful album, touring throughout. So just before the pandemic, the group decompressed in their own ways before starting work on their new album, The Dream. That break, along with building their own studio, was the spark they needed to make their most adventurous album yet. And that's the thing: alt-J has been daring from the start. With an incredible knowledge of music history at their disposal, the guys from Leeds, England, have always had a knack for making the unconventional sound appealing.

I caught up with Joe and Gus from the group for a live performance from World Cafe Live in Philadelphia to talk about making The Dream, and we also look back on their breakout debut album, An Awesome Wave, which turns 10 this year.

Hear the complete session in the player above, plus watch their performance of "U&ME" via NPR Live Sessions.

Copyright 2022 XPN

Since 2017, John Myers has been the producer of NPR's World Cafe, which is produced by WXPN at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Previously he spent about eight years working on the other side of Philly at WHYY as a producer on the staff of Fresh Air with Terry Gross. John was also a member of the team of public radio veterans recruited to develop original programming for Audible and has worked extensively as a freelance producer. His portfolio includes work for the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, The Association for Public Art and the radio documentary, Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio. He's taught radio production to preschoolers and college students and, in the late 90's, spent a couple of years traveling around the country as a roadie for the rock band Huffamoose.