Finishing out this Live Friday perfomance is another XPN favorite, the fabulously invigorating folk collective Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Breaking out in 2009, riding the strength of their catchy single 'Home', the currently 11-person outfit revolves around vocalist Alex Ebert. Ebert started ES and the MZ after creating a fictional, messianic character named Edward Sharpe while dealing with addiction and life changes. The result is mesmerizing--from their school bus converted to a tour bus, back-porch and improvised acoustics, and big communal folk sound, ES and the MZ has quickly become something of a worldwide sensation. Their sound calls to mind influences such as Polyphonic Spree and Bob Marley, but it's hard to pin a single genre on their psychedelic rocking bluegrass-y neo-folk.
ES and the MZ are on the cusp of releasing their follow-up to their breakout album, 2009's "Up from Below". Fresh off appearances with Mumford & Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show, ES and the MZ played the new release, entitled "Here", in Santa Monica in April. It doesn't disappoint--"Here" is a product of a group that know how to collaborate, how to live together, and how to share a musical, utopian vision in the most believeable of ways. From the quiet whistling in "All Wash Out" to the energizing, rock-based "Man on Fire", this is an album that will help solidify ES and the MS' appeal.
Don't miss out on this special Free at Noon performance--three great artists in two locations. What better way to start the weekend?
Free At Noon Setlist
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Archived Concert
1. I Don’t Wanna Pray
2. 40 Day Dream
3. Fiya Wata
4. Man On Fire
Facebook: facebook.com/themagneticzeros Recent Release: Here
Release Date: May 29, 2012
Label: Rough Trade Records
Origin: Los Angeles, CA
Free At Noon Setlist
Spiritualized will be archived at NPR.org/Music
1. Hey Jane
3. Lord Let It Rain On Me
4. I Am What I Am
5. Come Together
Recent Release: Sweet Heart Sweet Light
Release Date: April 17, 2012
Label: Double Six Records
Hometown: Rugby, England
Free At Noon Setlist
Dar Williams Performance will be available here
1. The Light and the Sea
2. I Am the One Who Will Remember Everything
3. You Will Ride With Me Tonight
5. Are You Out There
6. I Have Been Around the World
Recent Release: In the Time of Gods
Release Date: April 17, 2012
Label: Razor & Ties
Hometown: Mount Kisco, NY
Hailing from Ridgewood, NJ, but now comfortably situated (both in sound and influence) in Brooklyn, NY, Real Estate is a young five-piece making waves in the music market. Band members Alex Bleeker (bass), Martin Courtney (vocals, guitar), Mathew Mondanile (guitar), Jackson Pollis (drums), and Jonah Mauer (keys and guitar) have all been together for just one year, though the roots of Real Estate were planted in 2008. In the last few years, Real Estate have been building a reputation for coherent, catchy, and precise tunes--but tunes that are also introspective or effervescent at all the right times. Real Estate's summer-y indie rock is nothing short of spell-binding.
Since releasing a set of demos and their self-titled debut in 2009, Real Estate has since been named 'Best New Music' by Pitchfork, toured with the likes of Deerhunter, Girls, and Kurt Vile, and played at festivals around the world. Now that they're out with their follow-up, Real Estate is picking up even more followers and buzz. This latest album, entitled "Days" and released on their new label Domino, is just as cheerful yet just as sentimental in sound. Influenced by power-pop and beach sun by turn, it's clear that Real Estate is definitely here to stay.
Don't miss your chance to see Real Estate as the week winds down--they're here for a Free at Noon session this Friday! There's no better way to start the weekend.
JD Souther is a veritable country-rock living legend, writing songs over his impressive career for the likes of The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and Jackson Browne. He's on tour in support of his latest album "Natural History," and will be here for an XPN Free At Noon on December 2, along with a special set by Magnolia Memoir.
After Souther relocated to Nashville, he wrote for an even greater variety of artists--India Arie, Trisha Yearwood, George Strait, and Brooks & Dunn and over time has accumulated numerous awards for hit records, Grammy nominations and gold and platinum albums. He's also a successful solo artist, releasing several charting albums in the '70s and '80s. In 2008, he released his fifth solo album. Though "If the World Was You" is undeniably Souther--hearty, solid country-rock--the years of change are evident in this collection. Now he's back with a follow-up, released just this past May.
"Natural History" is retrospective and hearty, full of a mix of obscure recordings from Souther's long history, a new song, and plenty of reclamations from his past - the Eagles with 'The Sad Cafe', 'Best Of My Love' and 'New Kid In Town', and Linda Ronstadt with 'Faithless Love' are now all Souther's again. Souther described the result as "smoky and rainy", almost like "film noir", full of occasionally jazzy acoustics and his sophisticated vocals.
Don't miss JD Souther at this Free at Noon, as he brings some truly inspired country rock to the World Cafe stage. There's not a better way to start the weekend!
And, be sure to catch him for a full show on Saturday night, December 3 at Sellersville Theater.
Magnolia Memoir brings the sultry danceability of jazz to contemporary rock. Self-described as "Billie Holiday meets the Killers with a dash of the Clash," LA-based Magnolia Memoir is making waves. Vocalist and songwriter Mela Lee boasts a five-octave range and a girlishly sweet voice, which has been featured in numerous movies, television shows and commercials. With Alexander Burke as music director and keyboardist, bassist Gordon Bash, guitarist Aron Forbes and Matt Lucich on drums, the ensemble will be doing a special acoustic set opening for J.D Souther this week's Free at Noon show. They are currently touring their EP "What's A Good Girl Do?" and their debut album "The Perfect Crime" will be released on eOne Music Group in February.
From the Santa Monica Pier to Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble, with three solid years of touring under their collective belt, Angel Band has rapidly expanded their following from opening act up to headliner status. No audience has been known to have been unmoved by Angel Band's all-out stage presence, signature rootsy, bluesy Americana songs, superb back-up band and the vocals of leader and lyricist Nancy Josephson and fellow Angels Kathleen Weber and Aly Paige. Initially performing as opening act and backup singers for Josephson's husband, world-class roots musician David Bromberg at Bonnaroo, Merlefest, the Philadelphia Folk Festival and other high profile events, Angel Band has moved up to playing prestigious concert venues on their own. Voted one of the Top 10 Favorite Bands at Bonnaroo, Angel Band are clearly a group on the ascent.
Born and raised in new York City, Nancy Josephson says "I don't ever remember not singing," and was thumping on an acoustic guitar at age six. She learned to play stand-up bass and was a founding member of the all-girl bluegrass group, the Buffalo Gals. After a move to California in the mid 70's she performed with a number of well-known bluegrass and "new grass" performers, including Arlo Guthrie, Peter Rowan and the Free Mexican Airforce, Laurie Lewis and Kathy Kallick (of the Good Ol' Persons), and The David Bromberg Big Band. She has also sung back-up with Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt and Phoebe Snow, among others.
In 1980, David and Nancy moved to Chicago, where he studied violin making while Nancy sang commercial jingles, joined The Annettes as the only Caucasian in a 30-voice women's choir, raised two young children and switched to visual arts as her main creative outlet. When the city of Wilmington, Delaware asked David and Nancy to become artists in residence in 2002, Nancy initially refrained from joining the bluegrass sessions David organized there, until Bromberg started raving about a mother and sister vocal duo that might accommodate a third voice. "Mainly to satisfy David" Nancy attended the next jam and was hooked by the resultant three-part harmonies. Thus began the formation of Angel Band.
Kathleen Weber comes from a musical family in Philadelphia. She is a four-year veteran of the Angel Band and a lifelong singer; one critic exclaimed "her deep, bluesy voice seems almost out of place in her small frame." You can really hear her influences channeled: Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin and and Alison Krause, among others. Her versatility allows her to move easily between Angel Band's low down and dirty and simple, sweet songs. Aly Paige's vocals are clear, clean and powerful. Originally from Delaware, now living in Philadelphia, Aly joined the band as a novice in the Americana world, but with some roots in the world of opera. Aly belts with the best of them, and one can hear a little Etta James in her approach to the material; soulful, soaring, then close up and intimate, Aly's approach captivates and ignites the audience.