Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
The mere presence of the bountiful Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros band, from the one and only Los Angeles, California, is enough to make you feel insignificant by just a little, or very much as an outcast. First of all, you are not dressed properly. You're not comfortable enough to be in the same company as the dozen-strong band that's exploded on the worldwide scene in just a few short months behind the strength of one of the most lush and sunny albums that's been released this year. You are not, in fact, wearing a plain white dress that reaches down to you mid-shin and is as damned Biblical-looking as you're going to get. And there's a guess that this is how they dress when they're just popping out of the bus in the middle of Missouri to buy Twix and Mountain Dew, maybe stop for a piss. Moving on, you've likely slept too much. You've likely showered too much and you've definitely taken too much time to comb out all of the ratty tangles, burrs and knots from your head of hair. Just leave them. Just stink. Just let the hair grow everywhere. Just let everything else evaporate and get to a point where you do smell and feel like wine and never-ending bonfires 24 hours a day, every single day you're awake. It seems to be better that way - to be able to look up to the skies and feel as if there's no reason to understand their immensity, just your own mortality and the belief that it's all there for the taking, money or not, fame or none. It's about finding a home in all of the unlikeliest and ugliest places and with a pack of buddies that's getting bigger and bigger with each day. It's about getting wasted with the day. It's about finding communion in smoking the daylight out of an afternoon, hurrying it along so that the real playground of the twilight and beyond, when the exhilarating magical mystery kind of experiences can be set before us and the languishing doldrums can be pushed aside like scared spiders. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros may be the secondary playground for Ima Robot lead singer Alex Ebert, but it's not really a band at all, just a sensation that would be hard to suffocate, even if you wanted to. It's some sort of brotherhood and exactly what's being made so much about over the last few weeks (or most of the summer, by Ang Lee and all of the Baby Boomers) about the 40th anniversary of that big festival that happened on a dairy farm somewhere fairly close to Woodstock, N.Y., just before Charles Manson struck with the gristly murders of the beautiful actress, Sharon Tate, and some of her friends on the other coast - the coast where ES and those Zeros call home. It's an idea that home is where your heart is, so make sure your heart's always on you. It's the thought that there will always be more times to join hands and dance around a fire, or a post or nothing as the horizon burns down to its nubs. It could be the end of all days, but Edward Sharpe's music - with Ebert's deep and droll voice, and affectations that make him sound like Elvis Presley covering Essex Green songs, at times - will urge you to get a good eyeful of that sinking ship, to look around at who surrounds you and then roar until there's nothing left to hear or no one left to hear it. They sing about the guns and steel and the germs of love and it's as if all the good and all the bad is haunting us, stalking us like game birds, so it seems only fitting to just black it out and try not to be too sober when we're together.
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros Official Site
Community Music / Fairfax Recordings