Here

On its 2009 debut, this 12-piece ensemble went whole-hog on the hippie dream, dressing like an Aquarian cult and playing dazed acid folk that reimagined 1969 as one swaying group hug. Leader Alex Ebert was an L.A. rock journeyman, not an authentic flower puppy. But he wore his Manson beard with flair, and the second Magnetic Zeros LP taps into a slightly more down-to-earth Sixties, while Ebert pulls off a wider array of musical costumes. "Man on Fire" imagines Johnny Cash as a sexy Jesus; "All Wash Out" takes the venom out of "It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue"; and "Mayla" is "Kumbaya" country with "Penny Lane" trumpets. Much of the LP has a post-Altamont, let's-be-mellow-around-the-campfire vibe (see gospel-soul tunes like "That's What's Up") minus that era's sense of spiritual depletion. It's the kind of magical revisionism you can attempt 45 years down the line. And they damn near pull it off.

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Photos: Random Notes

From The Archives Issue 1159: June 21, 2012