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World Cafe Archives

Join the World Cafe through performances and interviews with celebrated and emerging artists.

Philadelphia, PA – WXPN, the nationally-recognized leader in Triple A music and non-commercial radio service of the University of Pennsylvania, names Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros as its August Artist To Watch. WXPN Music Director and Host Dan Reed will present the first of the month’s on-air segments on Monday, August 3 in the 4 p.m. hour.

Alex Ebert, a.k.a. Edward Sharpe, has traversed great musical distances to arrive in 2009 with the eleven member-strong, indie-folk outfit, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. The enigmatic, often shirtless and barefoot frontman began his musical career with aspirations of rapping, before taking the role of lead singer for successful LA indie/punk/dance band Ima Robot in the late 1990s. But after two major label releases and a decade with the band, Ebert grew weary of his rock star life and sought a new path, abandoning his phone and attending Alcoholics Anonymous while developing a new musical style. With financial help from the late Heath Ledger, Ebert and his friends-turned-bandmates recorded their album to a 1979 24-track tape machine, with twelve musicians playing together in live fashion straight to tape. The result was the organic, folk-revivalist sound that defines the new group, masterfully evoking the aesthetics of the late 70s while constructing a dreamscape of layered instrumentation and time-transcendent imagery. Their debut EP, Here Comes, was released in May, followed shortly by the full-length Up From Below in July.

“If the first Woodstock took place this year, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros would be one of the headliners,” said Bruce Warren, Assistant General Manager of Programming for WXPN. “Their indie-hippie folk rock is inspiringly fun and adventurous and their new album is a collection of fantastic songs that brings to mind The Waterboys, the Incredible String Band and the Arcade Fire all mixed up in to one giant beautiful mess.”

”Sharpe and the Zeros play like they’ve been together all their lives,” said Reed. “There’s a real celebratory mood that permeates throughout this new album, but there is also more than a hint of some pretty crafty songwriting as well.”

For more on the XPN Artists To Watch series and this month’s featured artist, visit http://xpn.org/music-artist/artist-to-watch/artist-to-watch-2009-08 The XPN Artists To Watch series reflects WXPN’s commitment to nurturing fresh, new talent and exposing listeners to the best new music. Each month, the XPN Artists To Watch series spotlights a different up-and-coming performer who has produced an album or body of work that demonstrates outstanding vision, creativity and songwriting ability. Month-long on-air promotion is combined with online features to help audiences discover each artist.

WXPN, the nationally recognized leader in Triple A radio and the premier guide for discovering new and significant artists in rock, blues, roots, and folk, is the non-commercial, member-supported radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. WXPN produces World Cafe®, public radio's most popular program of popular music hosted by David Dye and syndicated by NPR, and the Peabody Award winning Kids Corner hosted by Kathy O'Connell. WXPN also produces the alternative rock service, Y-Rock On XPN as its secondary radio channel in HD that is also available online. WXPN serves the greater Philadelphia area at 88.5 FM, the Lehigh Valley at 104.9, Worton/Baltimore at 90.5 FM, Lancaster/York at 88.7 FM, Harrisburg at 99.7 FM, and the world via online streaming at XPN.org.