Today, I bring you Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
. The band's full-length debut, Up From Below
, is out on July 14, but it has already released the Here Comes
three-song EP through iTunes. There's a huge buzz on this band, so much so, I cannot sit back and wait any longer. I first heard about the band from an in-the-know fellow blogger, I saw them on YouTube, and heard their live session
on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic
. The three songs the band has released digitally are quite good. Check out the band's performance of "Carries On," one of those three songs, shot live at the Regent Theater in Downtown Los Angeles, but I advise you to go to iTunes and download the studio version to hear the song in its full studio glory.
As you saw in the clip, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros are a multi-member ensemble that's something like a cross between the Polyphonic Spree and Arcade Fire. The band performs big bombastic epics with an almost religious-like zeal. "Carries On," has a gospel-meets-indie rock feel reminiscent of the sound Blur explored a decade ago in the track "Tender."
After watching that clip you may ask yourself, "Just who is Edward Sharpe?" For you, friends, I have an answer. Sharpe is actually Alex Ebert, who gained some notice earlier in the decade fronting the punky/neo new wave outfit known as Ima Robot. For a glimpse of what Ebert sounded and looked like before he became Sharpe, check out the 2006 clip for "Lovers In Captivity" below.
Now sporting long hair, a beard, and a Messiah-like robe, he leads the Magnetic Zeros, an 11 or 12-member troupe that revels in his madness. Given Ebert's incredible physical and musical transformation into Sharpe, I suspect there's a certain amount of posing going on here, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some of the best rock 'n' roll throughout the ages has been made by performers who assume identities that aren't quite like their own, but a character they create to make music and perform. And some of them pose so hard; eventually they become what they want to be. With Ebert/Sharpe, I think that might be the case. The band tours in a converted school bus, sporting the band's name in faux Hebrew script, that seems like some sort of a hippy commune on wheels.
Check out the video clip below for "Desert Song," which is part one of 12-part incredibly ambitious or pretentious (your pick) feature-length movie musical the band is releasing. The song/video are reportedly about Ebert/Sharpe's "reckoning with the middle name his father secretly wrote on his birth certificate--a Native American name which means 'Devil' or 'Demon.'" The opening segment reportedly features Ebert/Sharpe's father chanting in Monument Valley and was shot by his mother. That clip might put off some like some sort of bad Song Remains The Same flashback segment, but try and focus on the song, which will be included on Up From Below.
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