Jump to content
aberdeen-music

imp: Fruit Bats (Shins side project) + Puzzle Muteson + Steven Milne @ Tunnels,15 Dec


offramp
 Share

Recommended Posts

interesting music promotions present

FRUIT BATS + PUZZLE MUTESON + STEVEN MILNE

Tuesday 15th December 2009?The Tunnels, Carnegies Brae, Aberdeen, AB10 1BF. Phone (01224) 211121?

Doors 8pm

Tickets 8+bf in adv / 10 on door

Available from One-Up Records, Belmont Street, Aberdeen. Phone (01224) 642662 or http://www.ticketweb.co.uk

http://www.myspace.com/interestingmusic

http://www.thetunnels.co.uk

fb-lo.jpg

FRUIT BATS started in the mid 1990s as the four-track project of Eric D. Johnson. The name Fruit Bats was actually one of many cryptic monikers scrawled on the cassettes. Somehow that one stuck. For a number of years there were many warbling, feedback laden tapes, but no shows and no band.

In early 2000, Johnson joined the cast of characters that made up Califone and the whole Perishable Records family. It was this kinship with a bunch of like minded folks that coaxed the Fruit Bats from out of the bedroom and turned the shy lo-fi project into a real band.

Tours and friendships with Modest Mouse, Iron and Wine and The Shins led Fruit Bats to sign with Sub Pop records in 2002. The first release on that label was Mouthfuls. The record went on to be a modest success, selling well and ending up on many of 2003s best-of lists. In 2005 Spelled in Bones was released before Johnson continued his career as a sideman, most notably with Vetiver and The Shins. Fruit Bats reassembled in late 2008. The new album, The Ruminant Band, was recorded with Graeme Gibson at Clava in Chicago.

The two best obscure genres the Fruit Bats have been linked to by the press are bootgazer and rustic pop.

Fruit Bats are Eric D. Johnson, Christopher Sherman, Ron Lewis, Graeme Gibson and Sam Wagster.

Eric and Ron are both also full-time members of The Shins.

Its the sound of a band coming into its own: psychedelia-tinged stomps rubbing shoulders with profoundly romantic tales spun of the warmest yarn. All set against an evocative backdrop of Michigan skylines, woozy piano and twinkling slide guitar, this is one made like they used to make em and its utterly gorgeous to boot. (Drowned in Sound)

http://www.fruitbatsmusic.com

http://www.myspace.com/thefruitbats

http://www.subpop.com

PUZZLE MUTESON is from the Isle of Wight and plays acoustic folk that is fragile, dreamlike and ethereal. File under Yo La Tengo, Bonnie Prince Billy, Sparklehorse and Jose Gonzalez.

http://www.myspace.com/puzzlemuteson

STEVEN MILNE is a singer / songwriter / busy man from Aberdeen. He also fronts local popsters The Little Kicks. Hell be doing some solo acoustic numbers at this show. Im amazed he has the time. Hes a busy man yknow.

http://www.myspace.com/stevenmilnemusic

http://www.myspace.com/thelittlekicks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Pitchfork review of the last album.

Pitchfork: Album Reviews: Fruit Bats: The Ruminant Band

Fruit Bats

The Ruminant Band

[sub Pop; 2009]

7.4

Sitting on Sub Pop since the label's early-oughts soft-rock land grab (think Postal Service, the Shins, Iron & Wine), Eric Johnson's Fruit Bats have chilled in those long shadows since 2002's Mouthfuls. Part of the reason of late is Johnson's own doing; the outfit has been dormant since 2005's breezy Laurel Canyon paean Spelled in Bones. Johnson himself has been plenty busy, though, between becoming the first non-Albuquerquean to play with Mercer & co., and sitting in with American Beauty acolytes and fellow Sup Popians Vetiver. As for the latest release: The word "ruminant" applies to cows making cud as well as brains making decisions, and this effort, the one he's had the most time to chew on, emerges unsurprisingly as the fullest-sounding, and (by a hair over Bones) the best thing he's done yet.

Listen to any of Johnson's albums for more than a track or two, and you get the sense that he's not really one for drastic change; instead, he's capable of flexing within the rustic confines of his chosen vibe. His ear for detail here is sharper than ever: The bittersweet and nostalgic "Singing Joy to the World" bookends an imaginary relationship between Three Dog Night's titular tune sung at a fairground performance and a girl dancing to Prince's "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man" at a bar. But he's able to bliss out, too-- "Flamingo" is post-tweaked with crackle and echo to sound like a Sun Records doo-wop pastiche, Johnson closing the record in giddy falsetto: "Everything is gonna be just fine."

That's a nice way to describe Ruminant, and Johnson's work more generally: "just fine." That's not damnation via faint praise-- the record is "fine," as in an indication of precision and elegance. As always, Johnson's gift for grab is subtle but effective. In a 2005 interview with Popmatters, he expressed a fondness for Led Zeppelin III, and though it took a while, sure enough, subtle variations on the forceful front-porch strum, stout drums of the borderline jammy "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" underscores opener "Primitive Man", followed by the title track, which while namedropping a "blue-eyed Merle", packs enough pristine overdubs to even suggest II's "Ramble On" or box set bonus "Hey Hey What Can I Do". The tossed-off saloon stomper "The Hobo Girl": yup, Physical Graffiti's "Boogie With Stu".

Johnson also finds a way to make AM Gold fresh again by filtering his own spirit through a cast of characters. One offers roadside proverbs ("You'll always eat bread if you always have seeds to sow"), another relates a bluesy origin myth built on bringing cold weather wherever he travels, and another loves hearing about your dreams when he wakes up. For what it's worth, the album fits exceedingly well between Wilco (The Album) and Richard Swift's The Atlantic Ocean: "My Unusual Friend" fits breezy guitars over a staccato piano rhythm, and "Being on Our Own" is sympathetic country-pop. All this means that Fruit Bats, like their contemporaries, could unfortunately be passed over due to sheer familiarity. That'd be a shame, because The Ruminant Band only gets more rewarding as it settles in.

Eric Harvey, August 3, 2009

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Review from Prefix Mag >> Fruit Bats: The Ruminant Band (New Album)

Since 2001s Echolocation, Eric Johnson has been crafting songs that have mainly dealt with the natural world. His non-sentimental approach has been fresh and careful, exploring themes such as man vs. himself, man vs. nature and man vs. love, set to equally fresh sounds that often fuse acoustic plucking with (sometimes electronic) atmospherics.

The Ruminant Band is Johnsons first Fruit Bats release since 2005s upbeat Spelled in Bones. In the meantime, he has been playing journeyman with such understandably like-minded acts as Vetiver and the Shins. His time with those folks has influenced the songs on this new album by giving them a sheen of western jauntiness and tighter structures. The Ruminant Band is not a clearly defined departure from earlier work, but just as it introduces new barroom sounds to their rural repertoire, it builds upon his creativity and ability to be catchy that originally made the Fruit Bats interesting.

A onetime member of Califone, Johnson has always been able to stretch a song into unknown territory. The layers of his rhythms separate, but rather than becoming abstract, or freak-ish, they become daydream-like. First hinted at on Spelled in Bones, Johnson has taken a liking to a tighter, more straightforward country-rock or smooth-70s sound. His time with Vetiver, then, seems fitting. Their association with the San Francisco folk scene has been one of compassion, but they have taken a musical direction that favors hi-fi traditionalism to the popular lo-fi freak aspect, but still appreciates the idea of experimentation.

These traits, perhaps, rubbed off on the current incarnation of the Fruit Bats, but are not entirely different from their songs on Echolocation or 2003s Mouthfuls. On those albums, songs were tinged with spacey-ness and at times never found footing, but rather existed in a fleeting psychedelic state. Just as the popularity of the San Francisco sound continues to rise, the Fruit Bats remain closely related, but all their own.

On The Ruminant Band, Johnsons tenor has become weathered and almost giddy. If there is a departure to be defined, it is that the songs have become more identifiable. The country-western Hobo Girl is a drunken rumpus that deteriorates into rowdy crowd-noise rather than a rural landscape. The title track is a sunny west-coast pop song that sways between catchy guitar riffs, bell jangles, and harmonic ohhhs. Perhaps the strangest song is the piano driven Feather Bed, on which Johnson resembles Elton John as he sings cant give me too much love." The albums affinity for traditional hooks, mixed with Johnsons ability to depart from the traditional makes this album one of the Fruit Bats most listenable and enjoyable.

There are, after all, still pieces of earlier Fruit Bats work. Songs often establish themselves only to drift amorphously into altogether new places. Tegucigalpa begins as a Cars song, but eventually turns into a groove more reminiscent of the Grateful Dead. Beautiful Morning Light returns to the trademark subject of nature. Also, Johnson renews his quiet storytelling with Singing Joy to the World with a story about a mismatched couples one night of bliss at a fairgrounds Three Dog Night concert. It is the king of kitsch that allows Johnson to get away with his own brand of over-romanticizing. Another noticeable change from the album four years ago is how dynamic it seems compared to the prior.

The current line-up includes Sam Wagster (guitars, Piano), Ron Lewis (Keyboards), Christopher Sherman (Bass), and Graeme Gibson (drums). Former band mates and current Califoners Tim Rutilli and Jim Becker also made contributions. The improved musicianship and a textured production give The Ruminant Band a dynamic quality. Songs build and destruct, as they never have. Album closer Flamingo sits in murky vinyl fuzz, which only adds to its character as a wandering barroom waltz.

Johnson, the Fruit Bats, have always been able to add depth to what seems like a sappy AM song. Discussing the spiritual with a poetic smile and playing with how far they can get away from sunny, up-tempo rhythms while still adhering allows them to create something all their own rather than ending up as bubblegum. Theyve proven to be consistently good, especially with The Ruminant Band.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Review from the AV Club >> Fruit Bats: The Ruminant Band | Music | Review | The A.V. Club

The Ruminant Band

by Chris Mincher August 4, 2009

Fruit Bats

Sub Pop

Considering that frontman Eric Johnson joined The Shins in 2007, and judging by the Chutes Too Narrow-esque cover art of the new The Ruminant Band, it might be sensible to worry that Fruit Bats have become a full-on Shins derivative. But the recordthe groups first since 2005s Spelled In Bonesthankfully takes huge leaps away from any conceivable comparison. The band has always created pleasantly simple tunes that bask in the quietly sunny realm of misty mountain valleys and winding country roads, while avoiding sounding like actual country music. However, in separating himself from the folk-pop pack, Johnson is comfortable passing on pop in favor of 70s-styled Southern rock, crafting bright, good-time country ditties that fit nicely beside Allman Brothers classics. Johnsons vocals have changed since the warmly unforced harmonies of 2003s Mouthfulswhen his voice and that of former member Gillian Lisee practically glowed togetherand they now match the rural lo-fi feel with a higher, more nasal, tinny pitch. But all that matters is that the songwriting is as good as ever: Tegucigalpa and Being On Our Own feature cheerful, expansive melodies that roll along under an open sky, while The Hobo Girl makes a fun, stomping campfire sing-along. Stripped of reference points, The Ruminant Band is an uncomplicated, easygoing success that suggests Johnson shouldnt get too busy to give Fruit Bats due attention.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well after a whopping 2 hour jam tonight were there!

Kind of.

We have now added a makeshift drum machine (keyboard acting as drum machine) to the setup and a cover (of my personal favourite song of 2009).

So set sorted for tomorrow:

three/four tracks solo (all new material)

one song is inspired by listening to too much ennio moriccone/ andrew bird

the other two are brand new and very finger picky/ tricky to play

one piano song

then four with michael chang on guitar, shaker and backing vocals (3 new songs / 1 cover)

listened to fruit bats all day too to get into the mood.

now to get the people down, whos coming?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well after a whopping 2 hour jam tonight were there!

Kind of.

We have now added a makeshift drum machine (keyboard acting as drum machine) to the setup and a cover (of my personal favourite song of 2009).

So set sorted for tomorrow:

three/four tracks solo (all new material)

one song is inspired by listening to too much ennio moriccone/ andrew bird the other two are brand new and very finger picky/ tricky to play

one piano song

then four with michael chang on guitar, shaker and backing vocals (3 new songs / 1 cover)

listened to fruit bats all day too to get into the mood.

now to get the people down, whos coming?

Sounds like peeps should come down early :up:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...