Hip to Be Square: The Explorers Club Will Blow Your Soft Rock Mind
February 7, 2012
by Kristi York Wooten, published on The Huffington Post

Fellow Huffington Post blogger (and longtime music editor) David Wild hit the nail on the head when he said The Explorers Club's sophomore outing, Grand Hotel, is "the best album of the year -- but what year?"

Music nerds (like me) who are in touch with their inner Burt Bacharachs will salivate over the production values this Charleston, South Carolina sextet employees on its latest decidedly-retro collection. These guys sing so sweetly together, it's hard to believe The Explorers Club's (five!) vocalists don't also share a last name (Wilson, anyone?).

In a world filled with auto-tune and sampled beats, beachy, breezy tunes such as "Run, Run, Run" and "It's You" ring almost revolutionary with their innocent, layered harmonies, organ, and guitar recorded the old-fashioned way (utilizing a simple, Phil Spector-inspired method Club mastermind Jason Brewer calls, "adjusting how far away the amp needs to be from the mic").

The Explorers Club. Photo by Matthew Carter. Courtesy of Rock Ridge Music.

Brewer, 30, says he doesn't eschew comparisons to the Beach Boys or other acts from the early rock 'n' roll era. "I wanted to be like Marty McFly and go back and play guitar just like Chuck Berry," he says. "When I was a kid, everyone else was watching cartoons, but I watched VH1 and Elvis movies." He also listened to his parents' vinyl collection on headphones - a lot. Elton John, Leon Russell, The Beatles. "To me, that's what real records were supposed to sound like."

A self-described "production perfectionist," Brewer and the band's manager convinced longtime Brian Wilson collaborator Mark Linett (who engineered The Beach Boys' SMiLE) to mix Grand Hotel. The result: a sound so smooth one would swear Richard Carpenter was twiddling those console knobs ("I do love the Carpenters," quips Brewer). "I'm on a never-ending quest to nail that sound," Brewer says of his major influences from the golden age of analog. "Guys like Dan Penn (Box Tops, Aretha Franklin) are living legends to me."

So what's the deal? Are The Explorers Club simply a throwback, or what?

"What we do can't be classified as Yacht Rock," Brewer clarifies with a laugh, referring a to recent rash of 1970s-themed cover bands. "We're looser and less high brow. We're not Michael McDonald." (FYI: With the exception of a few brilliant remakes on its recent trio of EPs, The Explorers Club's material is all original and written by the band.)

Funny thing is, as easy as it is to find bits and pieces of Grand Hotel that sound more like B.J. Thomas or Todd Rundgren ("Summer Days, Summer Nights") than anything from the 21st century, The Explorers Club maintains an indie spirit that is inexplicably, undeniably 2012. Only, one needs to hear Grand Hotel to believe it.

Fresh from recent runs with The Apples in Stereo and Lightspeed Champion, the Club is headed out on an East Coast tour during the month of February, in support of Grand Hotel's official release on Valentine's Day (tres apropos!). A fan of Wilco, Camera Obscura, and the San Francisco duo Girls, Brewer says his collective can't wait to bring The Explorers Club's feel-good repertoire to a larger audience. "We put on a really good show." But with such high standards, "We're a sound man's nightmare."

Early Praise for Grand Hotel
January 23, 2012

"The Explorers Club may sound at first like a mash up of Burt Bacharach, Jellyfish and The Beach Boys, but what lies underneath is one of the few bands in recent times that have managed to pay homage to the past with a finely tuned ear toward the future. We've been playing them since the beginning and while we were expecting the new record to be good, "Grand Hotel" obliterates our expectations."

-Mike Marrone // The Loft Sirius XM

The Explorers Club Fan Photo Contest:
January 17, 2012
Here are the details:

You can use Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter to submit photos to the band. We will pick 1 winner out of each social media outlet. The winners will receive a FREE signed copy of the new The Explorers Club album, Grand Hotel.

The subject matter needs to represent The Explorers Club. For example: a band member, a live show, a setlist, someone wearing an EC shirt, someone listening to an EC album, anything EC themed. You get the idea... You are free to use your imagination and to enter as many photos as you like. Make sure to tag us on all photos submitted to Facebook and please use the hashtag #ECFanPhotos on all submitted photos sent through Twitter or Instagram.

The 3 winners will be announced January 30, 2012!!!

Lots of love,

The Explorers Club
We've got News for You!
December 7, 2011
Ok. Where do we start? Some local press:

A Winter Tour: Upcoming February Dates Coming Soon!!!

(these should be especially exciting!!! // All sorts of things are in the works and it would be a shame to let the cat out of the bag just yet...) HERE you will see a few dates that we have in January with Gringo Star.

Or perhaps you prefer a fancy video with faces, guitars, surfboards and some new music?

Last but not least we are now taking
pre-orders for GRAND HOTEL!!!

Consider yourselves informed.

The Explorers Club