SXSW Preview: Alexander (Solo Project from Edward Sharpe’s Alex Ebert)

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Alexander_albumartI ran into the manager for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, one of LA’s biggest breakout bands of the last few years, in a Venice bar one rainy night late last year. The band had just taped their performance on Conan and he was beaming.

Even better, he had big news – frontman Alex Ebert had just finished recording a solo album as Alexander (the name Jade lovingly calls him in Ed Sharpe’s hit “Home”). He told me that Alex played every single instrument on his solo debut, working on it in his bedroom during breaks from touring.

You can imagine that going solo after touring the world with his merry entourage of musical soulmates (10 members strong) must have been refreshing. Not to mention that he also reunited with his bandmates in Ima Robot this year.

It seems Ebert simply has too many ideas for any one project! But the 10 songs on the self-titled Alexander, out today, should please Ed Sharpe fans waiting for the follow up to their beloved debut. He maintains that vintage, ‘70s, playful sound on many tracks – sometimes sounding like a psychedelic Paul Simon, especially on the upbeat first track “Let’s Win!”

Stream “Let’s Win”

“Truth,” which kicks off with his famous whistle, shows his folky side:

Stream “Truth”

Alexander will be headlining KCRW’s Wednesday night showcase at SXSW this year and Ebert is putting a band together for the occasion.

I can’t believe it’s only a couple weeks away (March 16),  and it will be the first chance many of us will have to see these songs in a live setting. Exciting!