Alexander Giannascoli (born 1993), better known by his stage name Alex G, is a multi-instrumentalist from Philadelphia who started his career as a bedroom singer/songwriter, building up an audience through a series of DIY releases on Bandcamp. Following the critical acclaim of Giannascoli's sixth album DSU—featured as a Best Album of 2014 by Noisey, Consequence of Sound, The Washington Post, Vogue, CMJ, and Time Out—UK label Lucky Number Music stepped in to physically re-issue Alex's earlier releases Trick and Rules. Previously only available via Bandcamp, the albums were professionally mastered and made commercially available for the very first time.
In 2015, Giannascoli signed with Domino Recording Company, performing as part of the label's roster at their South by Southwest showcase that year. In August 2015, Giannascoli announced his first album with the label, Beach Music, released on October 9, 2015.
Giannascoli was born in Havertown, Pennsylvania. He has two older siblings, Matt (David Allen Scoli), an accomplished professional pianist, saxaphonist, singer, songwriter, and multi - instrumentalist ; and Rachel, who introduced him to influences such as Radiohead, Wilco, and Modest Mouse. Giannascoli began recording music at the age of 13 when his parents purchased a Mac Book computer, and his older brother gave him his first guitar.
While attending Haverford High School, Giannascoli created two albums with friends. he experimented with different genres in high school collaborations with his sister, such as techno and goth rock. His high school band The Skin Cells were a pop rock band that "ended up being punk".
Giannascoli enrolled at Temple University, pursuing a major in English. While at Temple, he regularly played basement house parties. In 2011, he released his first song, "Sandy", on Bandcamp. Since then he has put out four albums and an EP on the website. Giannascoli's 2012 album Trick was praised by Philadelphia magazine. His popularity spread through word of mouth, interested blogs, and reverence by musicians such as Mat Cothran from Coma Cinema. The Fader called Giannascoli "the internet's secret best songwriter."
Giannascoli's first non-self published album, DSU, was released in 2014 on Orchid Tapes, a small independent label based in Brooklyn. Short for Dream State University, its name stems from a remark his sister made. After the release of the album, Giannascoli went on a tour throughout North America and Europe. he called the album "my best work so far" and began working on it immediately after "Trick". He was profiled in a Rolling Stone article entitled "Rock Star on Campus" on August 28, 2014. Pitchfork said that DSU was "a 13-song set of warped, idiosyncratic sketches each capable of wending its way to a distinct place into the hearts of anyone who ever warmed to the idea of indie rock." He dropped out of Temple prior his senior year in 2014 to pursue a career in music full-time. Giannascoli currently lives in a small house in Philadelphia with his friends.
Giannascoli's music is generally categorized in the indie rock/lo-fi genre, with atmospheric white noise and some guitar solos. He is frequently compared to singer-songwriter Elliott Smith, who is an influence of his. Other comparisons include Built to Spill and The Martinis. The Philadelphia Inquirer praised him as "a particularly gifted melody writer" whose "fuzzy, sometimes distorted songs, which hark back to slightly askew 1990s bands such as Pavement, can't hide his skill as a pop craftsman and a constructor of elliptical narratives that call for repeated listening." He dislikes playing cover songs, calling it "work" compared to the creative outlet of songwriting. Lyrically, Giannascoli was influenced by James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, a book he read at Temple University. Themes on his songs include mental illness, unrequited love, and growing up.
His creative process consists of him working alone in his room with his guitar and adding other instruments later. When asked about working in a modern recording studio, he replied, "I feel like I'm eventually going to have to do that, but I just don't want to. Because I don't know how to work all that stuff, and I don't want anyone else to have control. I just want to follow my own ideas, and I'm uncomfortable doing it any other way."