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Albums Of The Week: Explorer Tapes | Explorer Tapes Expanded Edition

The Texas Time songwriters' long-delayed debut is packed with pristine pop gems.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The story of Explorer Tapes is a classic tale of popular music. Two guys from the Dallas/Fort Worth area take a lifelong friendship and decide to start a band. They gather some additional talented musicians from the surrounding area, write some songs, play some shows, make some videos, then pack everyone in a van and drive to Los Angeles with the hope of getting signed to a publishing company, a record label, or even better, both.

This is, in fact, what happened to the group. Not long after reaching L.A., Max Townsley and Drew Erickson, aka Explorer Tapes, signed a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music. After writing several songs with more established writers (David Baerwald, Dillon O’Brian, Steve Lindsey), the duo had the good fortune of having Keith Urban record their song Texas Time. The group soon signed to Warner Records and were assigned hot producer Mike Elizondo, a protégé of Dr. Dre known for his production of artists as varied as 50 Cent, Eminem, Carrie Underwood, Fiona Apple and Twenty One Pilots. The songs and recordings came together quickly and the album was more or less done in three weeks in January 2015.

After unforeseen circumstance, including a regime change at the label, the record stayed on the shelf at Warners for over six years, with no release in sight … until now. Omnivore Recordings, in conjunction with Warner Records, is happy to finally release of the debut album by Explorer Tapes. The eponymously titled collection contains 14 pop recordings on CD (12 on vinyl) including the original recording of Texas Time. The freshness of the songs and the sparkling production by Elizondo make this record seem like a long, lost friend and at the same time, something brand new! So, kick back, put the top down and crank up the tunes by Explorer Tapes … guaranteed to make you feel good all over!”