Charleston pop/rock outfit The Explorers Club have been patiently preparing themselves for the official release of Freedom Wind, their debut on the Dead Oceans label (a subsidiary of Jagjaguwar/Secretly Canadian). After much ado, it looks like the label will distribute the album (on CD and vinyl) on Tues. May 20. The first single is “Do You Love Me?” (backed with “Carry Me” on 7-inch vinyl), available on Tues. April 8. In the meantime, singer/guitarist Jason Brewer, guitarist Jim Faust, organist Stefan Rogenmoser, drummer Neil Thomas, bassist Wally Reddington, and multi-instrumentalist David Ellis are due at the Map Room on Tues. March 4 for an opening set supporting Matt Pond PA before heading out to Austin, Texas, for the South By Southwest Music And Media Conference (SXSW) and a series of Dead Oceans/Jagjaguwar/Secretly Canadian showcase gigs. Visit and for more.


While there’s plenty of excitement in town about the upcoming Wilco concert, set for Fri. Feb. 29 at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, there’s additional buzz about the opening act, legendary L.A. songwriter John Doe, formerly the singer/bassist of seminal California punk/rock band X. Following the recent release of A Year in the Wilderness on Yep Roc, Doe is heading back out on the road with a trio featuring bassist David Carpenter and drummer Brian Head. Doe collaborated with guitarist Dave Alvin (of The Blasters) and vocalists Kathleen Edwards, Aimee Mann, and Jill Sobule, among others, on the new album. Look for an interview with Doe in next week’s issue, and visit for more.


Speaking of Wilco: the band’s bassist (and co-founding member) John Stirratt’s twin sister, Laurie Stirratt, will be in Charleston on Thurs. Feb. 28 for a cool gig at the Pour House with the recently-reunited Americana/rock trio Blue Mountain. Based out of Oxford, Miss., Blue Mountain was formed in 1993 with Stirratt on bass and vocals, Cary Hudson on guitar and vocals, and Frank Coutch on drums. Melodic, dynamic, and twangy as heck, they released four full-length studio albums and one live collection before disbanding in 2001. They’re heading into Elmwood Recording in Dallas with producer/engineer Stuart Sikes (Cat Power, White Stripes, Loretta Lynn) to record a full-length of new material this spring. Check out for more. —T. Ballard Lesemann