The Exit
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The Exit

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The best kept secret in music



Despite the fact that they are on an independent label, the guys in The Exit play accessible music that--with the right marketing--could easily please millions of people. The band's music is highly reminiscent of early material from The Police (before Sting turned into a vomit-filled turd). Combining elements of rock, pop, and ska...these guys play a brand of hard pop that would not have sounded out of place on 1980s FM radio stations. Home For An Island is a slick and polished effort...yet it doesn't come across sounding pretentious or overly calculated. The band's thick and meaty guitars combine with propulsive rhythms to create music for the mind and body. Smart songs and determined tight playing create a thick and effective collection of modern rock tunes. Cool keepers include "Don't Push," "Home For An Island," "Back to the Rebels," "Darlin," and "Already Gone." (Rating: 5/6)
- entertainment editor

"Filter (mini mag)"

If ever there was a band that's going places, literally, it's the Exit. See? They just left. Get it? Okay, sorry. But really, this trio of New York punks-turned-Rasta-politicos is obsessed with egress - from the titular declaration on their sophomore, Home For An Island (said declaration: "I left my home for an island"), to their dynamic-as-all-hell, percussive-heavy single "Let's Go To Haiti," to the floating closer "Already Gone." There and elsewhere, the band has made a name for itself (but really, what's in a name?) by effortlessly blending some of the best and punkest forays into reggae groove by white dudes with a penchant for wearing leather (the Clash, early Police, Talking Heads, Rx Bandits, those guys outside of the club with the bongos). With those powers combined, all this talk about taking off may prove reality sooner than later. Seriously, it's like the weirdest episode of Captain Planet you've ever seen. I just want to know who gets the ring of synth.
- Jack McGrue

"Maximum Ink"

Infectious stone-skipping reggae powers untamed space-rock riffs, fluid bass and majestically desperate lyrics as this solid self-aware trio mixes passionate hearts and aching souls with finely-tuned fury.
- John Noyd

"Pulse Weekly"

The Exit’s strong and unique blend of music is worth your time, guaranteed. Pleasant to the ear, but still deep with artistic content, The Exit strives to mix a slew of influences into its personalized flavor, a flavor that’s influenced by gritty guitars, U2 and reggae/dub.

Let’s Go To Haiti, the ironically titled self-described “hit,” is approximately two minutes of pure garage rock heaven that doesn’t follow the usual pattern of most structured songs (i.e., there really isn’t a clearly defined verse). The rest of the record, which contains better songs like Home For An Island, Already Gone and So Leave Then, is a strong piece of forward-thinking rock ‘n’ roll. If you like The French Kicks, The Exit will do you fine.
- Nick Rose

"Avoid Peril"

In the midst of all the resurgence of 1980s pop (See Justin Timberlake doing his best Michael Jackson impression! Dazzle as No Doubt remake New Wave classics!), it is surprising that some of decade’s music has gone untouched – namely, the subtle reggae found in early songs by The Police. The Exit take it upon themselves to fill that void, blending a reggae groove (perhaps more easily reminiscent of 311) with a more straight-up rock vibe that makes for an ear-catching sophomore album.

Home for an Island kicks off with the slow-burning “Don’t Push,” featuring lyrics that grapple with a burgeoning love affair – ‘I’m too shy / You’re too sharp / Together we can work each other out.’ The title track, “Home for an Island” truly embodies the often laid-back feel of this album, and the shell-shocked lyrics of a love gone wrong are nicely offset by some disarming work on the steel pans on “So Leave Then.”

Indeed, it is often the opposing nature of the lyrical content and the music that makes Home for an Island noteworthy. This contrast makes for an attentive listener – never sure what to expect, the audience can’t help be captivated by The Exit’s latest effort.
- JN

"Punk Planet (interview)"

Punk Planet (interview)

The Exit Rides The Return Of New-Wave With Their Danceable, Reggae-Tinged Vibe

Interview by Trish Bendix

The Exit is a New York band with an '80s new-wave sound. This sounds typical of the last two years, except that the word "interesting" should be inserted somewhere in the preceding sentence. An exciting live band, The Exit's upbeat dub rock easily translates from the stage to the recording studio. Their sophomore release Home For An Island is out on Some Records, an inventive follow-up to their 2002 introduction, New Beat. With dueling vocalists and songwriters, Ben Brewer and Jeff DaRosa, the tight vocals and wailing hooks are creative and catchy with a jamming reggae vibe. Brewer called me from New York to talk about his city, new album and its title track's relevance to the US invading Iraq.

How important is being from New York to your music? Does the success of bands like The Strokes have any negative connotation for you?

It depends on who you're talking to about what's negative and what's positive. I think that some of those bands get a negative stigma just because they're really successful, other are just not that good. I don't roll with that scene. New York is an essential part of who I am, Gunnar is, and Jeff is. While it's really important because of the vibe of the East Coast seeps into our music, it's not important because of those bands.

When New Beat was released in 2002, you received comparisons to the Police and the Clash. Was it a conscious decision to steer away from that sound on Home For An island?

No. All we've done is continued on our natural course. We refined our sound in the way we wanted to be heard. I think the reason for the Police and Clash comparisons are because we have the same influences. I still think we're similar to those bands in the sense that they're both really good live bands and listened to a lot of reggae and a lot of dub, which came out in their music. The thing about those bands is they both have their own sound because they were listening to a lot of different types of music. Where we are, me listening to dance music and reggae records all day and Jeff listening to folk, coming together at practice we put it down together.

Why do you think that music like the Police and the Clash and other '80s punk acts are more relevant in music now that in the past decade?

Music goes in cycles. It's like the Renaissance is in cycles, the dark ages are in cycles. It's all typical.

I was reading an interview you did in July where you said that the first time you played "Home For An Island" was when the US forces invaded Iraq and you felt there was a significance. What do you feel that significance is?

It's significant to us because we as Americans were being pulled into something we knew we didn't feel was right by a man we didn't elect. When you're a person or musician or artist, all you really have to console you is your art because it is the way in which you vent your frustrations and everything. We watched our country commit a war crime, an act of terrorism, and we'd written this song. It was like "This is our new song, it's called 'Home For An Island' and this is our new reality." It was important to me because it was a moment in which we were able to vent our real frustrations with what our current sound was. It wasn't like "Hi we're the Exit and we're at war."
- Trish Bendix

"Amplifier Magazine"

Malcolm McLaren, you could say, succeeded in what he was doing – punk rock has infiltrated every aspect of pop culture these days. It’s in the mall, on corporate radio, and at least one character on your average reality TV show probably sports a Clash patch on a backpack somewhere. However, far from the sounds of Good Charlotte and the denizens of Hot Topic, there are still bands that believe in the spirit of punk rock, despite many setbacks. The Exit is one of those bands. On their second full length, Home For An Island, they display a love for the classic reggae-cum-rock stylings of bands such as the Clash and the Police while coupling it with the more rocking sounds of the Pixies and U2. Though the band’s avowed spiritual homeland is on the stage, enough power and energy comes through on this recording to convince any casual listener of the band’s devotion. The album is a little bottom-heavy; Jeff DaRosa’s meaty, dub-influenced bass lines on tracks like “So Leave Then” sometime leave the often minimal guitars in the dust. You can see their love of late period Clash coming through in nearly every track, though they don’t entirely give up three-chord punk in favor of reggae noodling. Needless to say, you won’t be hearing this album at your local Pacific Sunwear anytime soon. This is punk rock where it belongs – in the clubs and on the stereos of the true believers.
- Emily Burnham


When The Exit dropped its 2002 debut, New Beat (Some), it was darn near impossible to reference the New York trio without a passing mention to The Clash and The Police. After all, the trio’s love for Caribbean rhythms, punk’s aggravated guitar collisions and pop melodies tugged The Exit right in The Police and Clash’s wake.

Home For an Island takes those highly lauded influences, cuts it with a thick dose of heavy, heavy dub, rolls with a serious step forward in songwriting maturity and lets it burn. This time out, the band’s smoke has its own flavor, own direction and own claim to fame that makes its debut look like piddly kids’ stuff. With a deeper dedication to groove and atmosphere, The Exit’s dub puts it on equal footing with reggae-punks such as The Members and Stiff Little Fingers, as acts such as Trenchmouth are realistically in The Exit’s sights.

Although anyone with an ear for punk’s spirit and reggae-induced lineage will be able to spot the three-chord DNA that defines Home For an Island, The Exit turns in its big guitars – and Police-inspired pop, for that matter – in favor of murky low ends and a powerful, albeit relatively minimal guitar assault. Guitarist Ben Brewer wields his instrument truly like an axe, sometimes hacking away with pinpoint-precise rhythms (“Don’t Push”), others with funk’s chunky back-and-forth (“Back to the Rebels”) and others with melodic acoustic strumming perfect for a campfire (“Soldier”). Where Brewer doles out guitar work that’s one part Mick Jones, one part Bootsy Collins, the band’s rhythm section steadfastly builds a foundation on which he can rock out. “Don’t Push” combines brutal tom beats with Jeff DaRosa’s smoked-up bass line; on “Italy” DaRosa’s deliberate backbone gives Brewer’s echo-ridden guitar the form it needs to go nuts; “So Leave Then” features an impossibly low bass line and drumming that’d you expect to find piped out of Studio One in the late ’60s.

Through it all, however, is a relentless spirit that makes it obvious The Exit hasn’t turned its back on its punk upbringing. Like The Clash’s Sandinista! crammed punk into a Jamaican context, The Exit builds on Big Apple punk rock. No matter how sleepy the band’s dub gets, punk’s rough edges, usually there from Brewer’s sharp guitar work, are there to keep Home For an Island from getting too mellow. With that, of course, comes The Exit’s newfound ability to reach out of the punk-rock underground and, using its determined songwriting, challenge a whole world rather than just a scene.
- Matt Schild

"Lollipop Magazine / Transform Online"

An expansive, sweltering, tropical monster of heat and passion.

Let’s get this out of the way: The Exit is a fucking awesome band. They are a power trio that possesses ludicrous technical prowess as well as rhythmic dexterity, daring to challenge lords such as The Police and Talking Heads for their thrones. Seriously, I thought I liked their debut (‘02’s New Beat), but when I caught these guys live last year… WOW were they beyond recording’s capability of capturing sound. Especially the drummer: the man made a joke out of the other bands’ skinsmen. It was like watching Heath from Mock Orange or Stewart Copeland on crack.

With that said, my enthusiasm for Home For an Island is only tempered by the fact that the bio throws so many goddamn “selling points” in my face. When I listen to this expansive, sweltering, tropical monster of heat and passion, I don’t give a fuck about their booking agent (same as Elvis Costello’s and The Strokes’), how Recover loves them (maybe Recover should take a hint and write some good music for a change, then), how one of them has an “influential” family member in the “biz,” or how they’re currently living with the next Basquiat. Trivial “did you know”s don’t mean shit without the kind of minor-based, lopsided beauties that, thankfully, The Exit create. So don’t fucking shove hype down people’s throat, alright? Let the music speak for itself. Cuz this industry is already so over-populated by bands propped up by empty press, that losing authentic artists like The Exit would surely be the death of real music.

Home For an Island is rich (Ron St. Germain never fails), inescapable, and daring in its pursuit of deep grooves and heartfelt serenades. Leave the bullshit at the door and you will surely agree.
- Tim Den

"All Music Guide"

There aren't that many guitar bands that can incorporate elements of synth pop without starting to sound like a synth pop band, and even fewer that can incorporate elements of dubwise reggae without starting to sound like a wannabe reggae band. But the Exit has done the seemingly impossible -- taken familiar elements and combined them into something that's not so much unique as uniquely personal and smart, and yet immediately accessible. Even when the band's influences are less than fully digested ("Back to the Rebels" sounds like Counting Crows doing a cover version of "Watching the Detectives"), the result feels more like a creative collage than a derivative cut-and-paste. One of the things that makes this album so satisfying is the way it builds slowly to its climax, a gorgeous and emotionally powerful song called "So Leave Then," on which a slightly dislocated rhythm supports a heart-on-the-sleeve melody and unabashedly immediate three-chord guitar (and even a few bars of make-believe steel drum). It's hard to put a finger on what makes this album so special, but you'll get it when you hear it. Highly recommended.
- Rick Anderson


Debut LP-"New Beat"
Sophomore LP-"Home for an Island"


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Exit’s debut full-length New Beat (Some Records, produced by Daniel Rey) appeared on several band and industry insiders’ top ten lists for 2002. Once the record was released, the guys hit the road non-stop. “We wanted to get (New Beat) out there as much as possible because we believed in it,” Guitarist and vocalist Ben Brewer says. “That was almost two years touring on that record. We kept getting these offers; it was like a carrot in front of a horse.”

“We did the whole tour thing and now we’re a very, very solid live band,” Brewer explains. “We just try to put everything into it and try to have fun. When you’re driving 12 hours to play 30 minutes of music, you don’t want to fuck up. When you take that much time on the road by yourself, you become a different type of thing. We could have just chilled out in New York, but I don’t know what kind of band we would be right now. It’s just a natural process. We realized that every show we’d play, we’d be a little bit better.”

Since writing and recording New Beat, an album that Kerrang! Magazine called “a heady fusion of Foo Fighters, The Clash and the classic songwriting suss of ‘80s legends The Police,” the Exit has been moving past its influences, developing an original sound that has grown organically through the past three years of touring.

The Exit recently completed recording its second full-length, Home For an Island, produced by Ron Saint-Germain (Tool, Sonic Youth, Bad Brains, 311), showcasing its maturity, poise, and intelligence. The title of their sophomore release is taken from singer Jeff Darosa's lament of his nomadic wanderings back and forth between Brooklyn to Manhattan. "I left my home for an island, where rebels fly in on airplanes," sings DaRosa on the title track.

Similarly, as if the two singers were playing lyrical ping pong, Ben Brewer's song "Back to the Rebels" outlines modern plutocratic urban life. "It seems like when we get something special, they buy it up and sell it back to the rebels. I don't like it anymore than the next man, I just do what I can."

Following the recording sessions, the road-hungry trio immediately hopped in their van for a full US tour with English rock lords Muse, debuting most of the songs from their upcoming album. With Marsha Vlasic (Elvis Costello, Le Tigre, The Strokes) signed on for booking, expect to see The Exit redefine the term “road-warrior” as they perform up, down and around the globe.

If you’re yearning for something truly refreshing – with a hint of nostalgia - to wet your musical palette, we invite you to experience The Exit live and direct. You won’t be disappointed. Home For An Island is out now on Some Records.