Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
There is no "Edward Sharpe" in L.A.'s the Magnetic Zeros. Instead, Alex Ebert, formerly of the new wave cult band Ima Robot, leads the indie/psych/Americana collective.
More aptly, Ebert plays exuberant ringmaster to as many as 13 musicians, most of whom were either friends or acquaintances before he formed the band in 2007. The group features piano, accordion, trumpet and lots of percussion; live shows are reportedly joyous events, indeed.
Up From Below, last year's debut on Vagrant Records (Rough Trade in the UK), draws inspiration from several late 60's/early 70's-era sources, most notably British folk revival (The Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention), Laurel Canyon singer-songwriters (Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne) and San Francisco's "Summer of Love" scene (The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane).
The album was, in fact, recorded in Laurel Canyon at the analog-friendly home studio of Nico Agliette, one of the guitarists in the Magnetic Zeros. Up From Below, which has just been re-released as a deluxe edition, has an easy, organic vibe. Highlights including the minor hit "Home", the tribal "Desert Song" and the sprawling "Kisses Over Babylon" make this one of the more satisfying debuts in recent years.
U.S. fans can catch Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros at the Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival On Dec. 4 before the band takes wing to New Zealand and Australia for a string of shows that ends on Feb. 6 at the Big Day Out festival in Perth.