Most people probably don’t associate Florida as a musical haven. In fact, more often than not, the Sunshine State is omitted from tour routes, and the only successful festival is where Madonna and Molly are both present, but only one is actually a musician. In reality, though, there are a few really great things happening in Florida right now. You may have noticed that we’ve teamed up with a wonderful new company called Subculture — spearheaded by our own Philip Roffman — for one-of-a-kind events that showcase South Florida’s brightest young musicians, artists, merchants, and more.
There’s also something really awesome happening in Orange City, Florida. Off a dusty highway a little north of the Psychic Capital of the World, aka Cassadaga, is North Avenue Studios. Never ever ever would you guess that this small building would house a multi-million dollar recording studio, packed to the brim with the best equipment money can buy.
You may have also noticed that we’ve partnered with North Avenue for a live performance series called Off the Avenue. The idea isn’t to film bands playing in unique locations or jumping into Lake Michigan (though we like doing those things too). Rather, director Dave Plakon’s goal is to create the best sounding live series on the web, recordings so great that you’d think they were straight off an album.
Which leads us to today’s episode. We were thrilled when Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros accepted our invitation to record a session. Aside from being a phenomenal live act, Alex Ebert and his band of traveling musicians are also some of the most sincere and appreciative people you’ll ever meet. What you see on stage is what you get in real life.
Taking place just six hours before their sold-out performance at the Beacham, the band could have just gone with the flow, breezed through the session, and been out of there in 20 minutes. Instead, they took their time to properly set up the equipment and then went through multiple takes of three tracks from their latest album, Here. Ebert told his band to take advantage of the equipment and record something really special. Two hours later, they left the studios having delivered Off the Avenue’s best session yet.
You can find recent Off the Avenue sessions with El-P, Man Man, YACHT, Cursive, Heartless Bastards, AbdeCaf, Stagnant Pools, Bad Veins, and Lucero here.