With a critically acclaimed debut record under their belt and a highly anticipated followup in the works, instant cred for memorable live shows that are as much tent revival as rock show, and multiple unlikely singles featured in national ad campaigns, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (who we saw at Culture Room in the fall) have come quite a ways from Runyon Canyon, where the hippie ensemble formed a few years back. But even before the seemingly overnight success of the eclectic Edward Sharpe & Co., Ebert enjoyed reasonable accomplishment as frontman of the heavily buzzed L.A. electronic power pop outfit Ima Robot.
Which is exactly why fans should confidently regard the recent announcement of a solo release by the brilliant lead singer, titled simply Alexander, and slated for a March 1 release, with excitement. That and the fact we'll tell you it's really, really goddamn good.
Responding to solo work with trepidation isn't exactly unfounded. Just
look what happened to Chris Cornell (put out Scream in '09, a
Timbaland-produced album that made fans from the Soundgarden era want to
do just that). But not to worry, Ed Sharpe fans. There'll be no such
shenanigans on Alexander.
On his solo debut, Ebert not only stays true to a lot of the elements
that made Up From Below such a spectacular record in the first place. He
took extreme pains to do so. Because Alexander is the most pure
synthesis of his creative efforts he could achieve.
"I wanted to
be able to build an album basically with my hands," he says in the
album's announcement, "like building a house by myself."
end, Ebert crafted the entire album by himself in his bedroom in L.A.,
recording during brief breaks in between touring with the Zeros. The
ultimate low-fi project, Alexander was recorded using minimal equipment,
and featuring Ebert on vocals, on guitars, on clarinet, on an old organ
he picked up for $70, slapping his knees and snapping his
fingers -- even playing violin, which he didn't know how to do going in.
a record that will satisfy Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros fans,
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Alexander will give them a clear glimpse of Ebert's unmistakable
influence on the sound of a band ten people deep. And it's incredibly
sturdy for a house he built with his own two hands.
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