Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Explorers Club Music

Let's face it folks, the Beach Boys are never coming back, but at least we have the Explorers Club!

Last week I interviewed one of my musical heroes, Jason Brewer, from the band The Explorers Club. If you like The Beach Boys, The Beatles or America you need to go to amazon.com right now and download three brand new songs by The Explorers Club! The best part? They're all free.

This is the link:


These three songs are being presented as a suite of music called "The Californian Suite". The three songs on the disc are "Walk On By" (a Burt Bacharach and Hal David standard covered by Dionne Warwick, Isaac Hayes, The Beach Boys and many other greats), Weight Of The World (a brand new original song) and Summer Days and Summer Nights (an original song that references the Beach Boys album of the same name).

This suite of music is fantastic, both as a marketing tool and as a release. All 3 songs are better than anything The Explorers Club have done before. These 3 songs represent a band more unified, educated, confident and artistic than ever before. Their version of Walk On By is different than any you may have ever heard before. The vocals are sung in a powerful and agonizing way that stands out in my mind much more than Dionne Warwick's version and their version also doesn't have the same backing vocals that the Beach Boys version had, so it is impossible to declare them "copycats", considering this version is completely unique. It even has a nasty organ solo at the end!

When I first heard the Beach Boys cover of Walk On By, I ADORED it. I must have listened to their version 20,000 times. I've learned the song and even thought about recording a cover myself. I am kind of glad I didn't get around to recording my version, because it would never have been as good as the Explorers Club version.

The 2 original songs on the suite, Weight of the World and Summer Days and Summer Nights are sort of spiritual sisters. They belong together. Weight of the World has this great flamenco guitar riff in it and amazing Spanish castanets acting as the rhythm. The song also has a great horn riff in the middle of it that makes the song sound like a Bacharach standard (Raindrops anyone?). This song is beautifully crafted and is so gorgeous that I'm afraid some people won't give it a chance, just for being so gorgeous.

Summer Days and Summer Nights is slightly slower than Weight of the World, but probably will have a greater appeal to the general public because it doesn't feature any castanets or flamenco guitar playing, but instead focuses on singing and vocal harmonies. The vocal track on this song is really gorgeous and so are the vocal harmonies dispersed throughout the entire song. Another awesome thing about this song is the ending, which picks up in speed and has a nice keyboard solo with some excellent acoustic guitar riffs and flute lines as well. It's really groovy and reminds me of The Free Design and Harpers Bizarre.

I really love this 3 song EP and I can't encourage you enough to download it immediately from amazon for FREE here -


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Interview: Jason Brewer of the Explorers Club

The Explorers Club is one of my favorite bands. I have wanted to interview them for years and I finally had the chance!

The Explorers Club are a pop band that sound a lot like the Beach Boys with perfectly in pitch vocal harmonies and unbelievably catchy hooks in all of their songs. They released their debut album "Freedom Wind" on the Dead Oceans label in 2008 and since then I have been so incredibly anxious for new music from the guys. Thankfully NEXT WEEK the Explorers Club will be returning with new music in the form of three exclusive "suites" of music that will be available through Amazon.com beginning next TUESDAY, October 25th when the "California Suite" will become available. Keep checking explorersclubmusic.com for more information!

I am so excited for these suites! I watched the promotional video below and it will feature a cover of the Burt Bacharach song "Walk On By" (also covered by the Beach Boys in 1968), the song Hitchin' A Ride as well as two "under construction" mixes of songs from their soon to-be-released new album "Grand Hotel" that will be available on Rock Ridge Music.

Jason Brewer is the principle song writer for the Explorers Club. He is the Brian Wilson of the band. I admire him a heck of a lot. He reminds me of Brian Wilson in a lot of ways; teaching his band members the vocal harmonies and meticulously rehearsing each part over and over again, giving suggestions to make the sound just the way he hears it in his head. I imagine him coming into band rehearsals and recording sessions with brand new songs in his hands anxious to show them off to the guys.

I have probably listened to the Explorers Club's 6 song EP and their debut full-length "Freedom Wind" a million times. I seriously spin the Explorers Club as often as the Beach Boys (and that is saying a lot). I don't think the Explorers Club are copy cats, I think they are pop fanatics, just like me and I think to label them as anything but fantastic is a poor judgment call.

I love the Explorers Club and I am absolutely giddy to share this interview with Jason Brewer!


1. When and where did the Explorers Club form?

Jason: We formed in 2005 in Charleston, SC in Dave Ellis' (one of the band's singers and multi-instrumentalists) backyard.

2. Are you [Jason] the only song writer in the band?

Jason: I am the only songwriter in the band, but I collaborate with Troy Stains and Mike Williamson - two songwriter friends of mine.

3. Besides the Beach Boys and the Beatles, who are some other big influences for the Explorers Club?

Jason: Herb Alpert, Neil Diamond, The Bee Gees, Burt Bacharach, CSNY, Andy Williams, The Grass Roots, The Turtles, The Zombies, Dan Penn, Joe South, ABBA, Frankie Valli, Bob Crewe, Roger Nichols, Paul Williams, Jimmy Webb, Glen Campbell, Booker T and the MGs... too many to name!

4. Your self titled, 6 song demo cd, where was it recorded and who mixed and mastered it?

Jason: It was recorded in too many places to name - a lot of it was done with my friend Troy Stains in Atlanta, GA. We mixed it ourselves. It was most likely mastered by Kevin Crothers in Charleston. That was WAY TOO LONG AGO.

5. What was the process like of getting signed to Dead Oceans and recording Freedom Wind?

Jason: They saw us play at SXSW in 2007 and signed us on the spot. We spent that summer making our record with Matt Goldman in Atlanta, GA. We really explored vocal harmonies and sound combinations to get that classic sound down just right.

6. What praise have you received that meant the very most to you so far (for example, if Brian Wilson told me he liked my music, I would cry)?

Jason: I think Brian [Wilson] calling me was real special. I also felt like our review in UNCUT magazine by Bud Scoppa was a career highlight so far. Singing with Darian and Nelson from Brian's band at the Troubadour in LA was very special.

7. What makes your new CD "Grand Hotel" that is about to be released different from "Freedom Wind"?

Jason: It is the REAL Explorers Club. It is our own sound. It is harmonies, classic pop sounds, lighthearted spirit and most remarkably - it's own VERY unique sound that is new and classic all at once. It is a musical vacation.

8. Are you going to buy the Smile Sessions by the Beach Boys when it released in November?

Jason: I plan to camp by my mailbox from now until it is delivered.

9. What are you planning to do after your next album is out? Tour? Record more? Take a break?

Jason: We will play shows and hopefully make a new record REALLY fast to follow it up. I already have two concepts half written for two more albums... get ready!

Listen to this tasty groove:
Do You Love Me? by expclub

and visit their website explorersclubmusic.com