Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Release Seven Minute Epic “Hot Coals” . . . …Announce Fourth Album Out Early 2016

A new chapter in Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ evolution is about to be written by their fourth studio album “due out the beginning of next year” according to a recent facebook post by the band. “We’ve been on for a while now, but it’s like we just turned on a new page in the old book with the inscription: serve your power and work beyond reason,” frontman Alex Ebert says in the post.

The crux of these recordings turning a new page to the next chapter is obvious: it’s their first album without beloved co-lead vocalist and good vibes specialist Jade Castrinos. Although her absence has left many questions about the future of the band, quite a bit is known about the new album. Stream lead single “Hot Coals” now on soundcloud below, or on Janglin Souls or in this unofficial music video:

 

On November 16th “Hot Coals” will be released as a free download directly to members of Edward Sharpe’s mailing list (so if you haven’t already signed up, do so ASAP); it will not be on streaming sites immediately, though sharing is encouraged. The entire album was debuted in live performance at a secret SXSW show earlier this year at Austin’s Central Presbyterian Church and fan footage of the whole concert was uploaded to YouTube though has since been removed. As of now only a few bits remain on YouTube, all of which are embedded below.

Among those in attendance at that SXSW show were members of Austin party folk psych band Calliope Musicals (whose celebratory music and vibes compare well to the Magnetic Zeros). Lead guitarist Chris Webb tells The Future Heart, “Every aspect of the performance I saw that debuted the new album was captivating and intimate. The new album has a wholeness to it that is very familiar and fresh at the same time. Many of the songs seemed to be driven by piano which seems like a new direction in their writing style. The harmonies really stood out as well, full intricate and lush. What really held my attention though, and has really changed the way I look at live music ever since, is the volume and dynamics of the band. At moments the band was so quiet that they seemed to step away from their mics and project their bare voice into the audience effectively. Changed the way our band practices even. We started getting really crazy into what dynamics meant right after this and all trying to rise and fall together in volume and attack in weird ways and inspired us to release our album in a similar setting. We are looking at a few churches and barns around town!”

“Watching a band like that play a full album from start to finish for the first time, watching their obviously sweaty palms and nervous commentary before and during the show and then watching them all bond together to make this one massive sound just blew me away,” Chris says.

 

As for how Jade’s departure has influenced the new material Webb says, “it had a huge impact. I think losing that balance of masculine and feminine between Jade and Alexander is heart breaking and it absolutely changed their sound but I wouldn’t say the change was bad.” Hear the dynamic of the group shift to a band of brothers in set opener “Everyday,” below:

Billboard was also at the SXSW live debut and summarizes it thusly:

“From the beginning of the first song, “Everyday,” a slow-burner with a dynamic ending that brought audience members to their feet, where they remained through the set (song titles were pulled from the setlist that was onstage). “Lullaby” continued the set with a slow intro that became a gang-sung refrain backed by simple piano instrumentation, with hard-stop dynamics and airy, expressive, pensive vocals. The highlight of the set was the mid-album song “Bunununu,” an oddly funky, odd-timed shouter with an Ennio Morricone coda: all trumpet lines and piano hits, over a dreamy, desert soundscape. Ebert made his piano debut on “Uncomfortable,” a cacophonous-by-choice droner moved along by rolling, lulling drums. “Perfect Time” found the band in nearly Brill building territory, exploring 40s-ish melodies as Ebert brought an audience member onstage to swing dance and sing, imploring him to follow the lyrics even as he got lost in the song’s rhythm.”

Of course it’s possible the album has changed since it was played live at South By last March. While we wait for the new studio album, check out the Zeros’ recent comp Live In No Particular Order: 2009 – 2014. The tracklist and where/when each of the songs on the live set were recorded are below followed by a video of its version of “Truth”:

1 Better Days – 4:18 – Brixton Academy, London, UK, February 11, 2014
2 40 Day Dream – 4:25 – NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert, Washington, DC, October 2009
3 If I Were Free – 5:07 – GOTR Daytrotter Session, Troy, OH, August 30, 2013
4 Janglin – 6:37 – Floydfest, Floyd, VA, July 27, 2013
5 Up From Below – 6:55 – Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, March 20, 2011
6 Brother – 4:59 – Gurtenfestival Bern, Switzerland, July 12, 2012
7 Please – 4:23 – Longwood Gardens, Kennet Square, PA, August 28, 2013
8 Mother – 5:28 – The Box , New York, NY, July 25, 2013
9 Home – 8:54 – Floydfest, Floyd, VA, July 27, 2013
10 Mayla – 5:43 – Babcock Theater, Billings, MT, May 28, 2013
11 They Were Wrong – 4:26 – Summer 2013
12 This Life – 7:01 – Summer 2013
13 Black Water – 4:24 – Spring/Summer 2013
14 I Don’t Wanna Pray – 7:47 – Brixton Academy, London, UK, February 11, 2014
15 Truth – 5:17 – Big Top, Los Angeles, CA, October 19, 2013
16 If I Were Free – 4:53 – Floydfest, Floyd, VA, July 27, 2013
17 Fog On the Tyne – 4:35 – Sirius XM Studios, New York, NY, August 08, 2012
18 Bad Bad Love – 4:15 – WXPN’s World Café, Philadelphia, PA, June 01, 2011
19 Life Is Hard – 4:06 – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London, UK, February 12, 2014
20 All Wash Out – 6:04 – KCRW’s Apogee Sessions, Los Angeles, CA, April 05, 2012
21 All Together – 0:24

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