EXIT 380’s Sixth Studio Album PHOTOMAPS
Coming July 2014 on Hand Drawn Records
Standing on the frayed edges of alternative and roots music, Exit 380 has tread many roads and styles in its 14 year span. Originally based in Denton, Texas, University of North Texas students Dustin Blocker, Aaron Borden and Jeff George began as an acoustic cover act with little focus on originality in the early years.
As the band added, what would begin a rotating rhythm section, the act started to write original alt-rock, self-releasing its first record in 2000, The Quenching Burn. In late 2001, the band went through its first substantial reconstruction, as co-founder, guitarist George left the band, as new additions, bassist Jon Hutchison, and drummer Cory Parker, entered what would be the most prolific years, releasing 3 full length records, and 2 extended play albums in the following 6 years. During this time, Exit 380 veered from acoustic-based balladry into a harder-edged rock act.
In early 2007, Parker left the band to be replaced by drummer Bobby Tucker, and with his induction, the band again began a reformatting of style that would eventually take them from alternative-rock, to a more roots-based vibe. Exit 380 finally put a stake in a singular style, when they chose experimentation and organic instrumentation with their landmark record, The Life and Death of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Stone, which was nominated for “Rock Album of the Year” and won “Song of the Year” for the single, “Alexander Stone’s Ode to Death” in 2009’s Fort Worth Weekly Music Awards.
During the release of The Life and Death…, Exit 380 added bassist Jon Hutchison’s younger brother, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist, Jeremy Hutchison. In the subsequent years the act was still playing both sides of the musical fence, releasing another EP, Cities Townies in Spring 2010, which split their older rock styling with the new organic style down the middle. But the EP did not yield the result originally intended—melding their two now disparaged audiences, but it did allow the band to finally make up its collective mind, opting to go wholly down the “Townies” road, ultimately leaving the heavy behind for good.
The band had begun to hit its stride in the new format when drummer, Tucker decided to leave for an interminable amount of time; leaving Exit 380 with conceivably their best material, yet unable to record, nor play it live. Undeterred by this twist, Jeremy Hutchison took the reigns as interim studio drummer and along with Borden, Blocker and older brother Jon, the fragmented band completed what would become the new musical benchmark for the now veteran rockers, in late-2011’s full length album, Townies.
Townies was released under lead singer, Dustin Blocker’s upstart independent label, Hand Drawn Records. The label only had three bands on its roster at the time, and finding themselves without a drummer, Exit 380 enlisted a little help from their friends in the form of fellow Hand Drawn artist Secret Ghost Champion; as their drummer, Jody McCauley jumped in to keep the act alive from late-2011, to early 2013. During this time Exit 380 was rewarded for their resilience with another “Album of the Year” nomination, this time for Townies, and a win for “Comeback Band of the Year” by the Fort Worth Weekly in the summer of 2012.
Splitting time between two full time bands eventually took its toll on McCauley’s schedule, and upon his decision to depart Exit 380, former drummer Tucker made his return, refocused and hungrier than in his previous stint. This reclamation energized the writing sessions and put the band back on the road to realizing its previous successes, in the form of a new conceptual record, Photomaps.
In the years between Townies and Photomaps not only has the band grown, but their label has begun to realize its bigger potential, putting out several releases and bolstering the roster significantly with freshly unique acts; Andrew Tinker, Brandon Callies Band, Swindle Boys and Un Chien. Now, on the dawn of a new album, a focused style and the strength of a truly familial concept in Hand Drawn, Exit 380 is poised to reinforce their claim as one of the region’s most exciting acts.
The Quenching Burn – Ind. 2000
Breakdown EP – Ind. 2002
Short Story – Ind. 2002
Old Songs. New Tape. – Ind. 2005
Last Monday – E3 Records 2006
The Life & Death EP – E3 Records 2008
The Life & Death Of Mr. & Mrs. Alexander Stone – Rockyard Records 2008
Cities Townies EP – Rockyard Records 2010
Townies – Hand Drawn Records 2011
Photomaps – Hand Drawn Records (Coming July 2014)