Fruit Bats / Mouthfuls (Reissue) - 4061099
To mark the 10th anniversary of Fruit Bat’s excellent release, Mouthfuls, they’ve gone and pressed the album on vinyl for the first time! Details on this special release come from the band below:
“This album has never been available on vinyl, and like our reissue of Echolocation, we’ve pulled out the stops and taken another stab at the artwork. Illustrations were handled by Annie Beedy, and we’ve gone one step further than silkscreening and hand watercolored all 500+ copies of this pressing. Each copy will be unique. Each record is also a lovely shade of either yellow or sea green vinyl. Thanks to our fine friends at Sub Pop you will also find a digital download code nestled in there so those of you without a turntable in your car can listen to your record on the move.”
Released: November 7, 2013
Fruit Bats / Tripper - SP935
With the 2001 release of the Fruit Bats’ debut album, Echolocation, Eric D. Johnson embarked on a career in music that has, to date, included ten years with the Fruit Bats, sideman duties for bands including Califone, Vetiver and The Shins, and more recently, soundtrack work for films like Ceremony and the soon-to-be-released Paul Rudd comedy Our Idiot Brother. Tripper, the new and fifth Fruit Bats full-length, was recorded at WACS Studio in Los Angeles with Thom Monahan, best known as producer for the last four Vetiver albums, Devendra Banhart’s Cripple Crow, and the Pernice Brothers. For the first week of recording, Johnson brought in a full band—Sam Wagster, Ron Lewis and Graeme Gibson—to capture some of the live excitement of the previous Fruit Bats album, 2009’s The Ruminant Band. However, having recently worked alone on soundtracks for an extended period, Johnson knew that he wanted Tripper to be more of a solitary pursuit than his previous album. For the remaining four weeks, he worked with Monahan to deepen and refine the sound. Though, perhaps the most radical thing about the album is not its haunting production, but the way it allows narratives to shape its songs. Johnson says that, though he began experimenting with story songs on The Ruminant Band, he has only recently made them his focus. As Johnson approached recording for this latest Fruit Bats album, he began to think, more and more, about the appeal of changing scenery. His own process shifted slightly to focus more on story-based songs, and following his collaborations with film-makers, he began experimenting with more abstract, less folk-based sounds. The resulting album, a bittersweet meditation on hitting the road, leaving the familiar behind and reinventing yourself, is a reinvention itself.
Released: August 2, 2011
Fruit Bats / The Ruminant Band - SP830
Over the course of three records, the last two on Sub Pop (2003’s Mouthfuls and 2005’s Spelled in Bones), Eric D. Johnson’s Fruit Bats have looked for ways to file down the cynical edge of modern life and found many. Using bright melodies, defiantly major-key chord structures, natural imagery mixed with the occasional blazing insight and tender observation, the Fruit Bats have never shied away from darkness, but more uncommon in this day and age, they’ve refused to shy away from light. With The Ruminant Band, this tradition continues in characteristically rich and involving fashion. From the barn-floor stomp of “The Hobo Girl” and the Fleetwood Mac-esque shimmy of the title track to the propulsive yet spacious ‘70s country-rock jam “Tegucigalpa” and the parlor piano soft-shoe of “Flamingo,” The Ruminant Band makes good on Johnson’s recent message board promise: “We are going to choogle for you.” Though he has spent the handful of years between Fruit Bats records playing with peers as heralded and forward-thinking as Vetiver and The Shins, the songwriting and production on The Ruminant Band mark a further crystallization of Johnson’s own melodic instincts and overall vision over the past near-decade, abetted by brothers-in-arms who know both bluster and restraint.
Released: August 4, 2009
Fruit Bats / Spelled In Bones - SP654
Eric Johnson has been making experimental and pop-inflected folk-rock with increasing compositional and thematic complexity since Califone/Perishable Records founders Tim Rutili and Ben Massarella prompted him to explore his craft in the mid-‘90s. Johnson’s recordings, enriched by contributions from an ever-revolving cast of Chicagoan characters (the current lineup includes I Rowboat’s Dan Strack and percussionist John Byce) used a melancholy hand to touch on love and the human experience on 2001’s Perishable debut, Echolocation, and 2003’s Sub Pop-released Mouthfuls. Around the release of Mouthfuls, Harp magazine described the Fruit Bats as residing somewhere on a continuum between Califone and The Shins, combining, “…the latter’s widescreen vision with the former’s melodic knack to create something at once familiar and new.”
After the years of extensive touring that followed, including stints with Modest Mouse, The Shins and Iron & Wine, as well as a handful of Wilco opening slots, Johnson returned to the drawing board with distinctly darker intent. “I was going to write this dark bummer record with shades of optimism, but my life started getting better,” he explains. The result of much soul-searching, Spelled in Bones is truly Johnson’s enlightened Romantic opus — in the 18th century English literary sense of the term. With an emphasis on the “bigger picture” of life as it relates to nature’s organic relationship to man (“Legs of Bees,” “Spelled in Bones”), and irrational, spontaneous moments of beauty and rebirth (“Every Day That We Wake Up It’s a Beautiful Day”), Spelled in Bones proffers warm, thoughtful, bittersweet pop that’s as hopeful as it is curious.
Released: July 26, 2005
Fruit Bats / Mouthfuls - SP610
Fruit Bats are from Chicago, Illinois. The line-up is a bit nebulous, but revolves around Eric Johnson (guitars, keys, songwriting). Eric sings most of the leads, everybody else sings with him. The more observant amongst you might recognize Eric from his stint playing guitar and banjo with near-legendary folk weirdoes Califone, or as live multi-instrumentalist with Ugly Casanova and Sally Timms. Fruit Bats have toured with Modest Mouse, The Shins and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, and they’ve done a handful of headlining tours as well. Produced by Brian Deck, Mouthfuls is a collection of beautiful, heart-felt music in an age that resists beautiful, heart-felt music. Call them love songs dedicated to Ma Nature, primal lullabies, folk-pop gems (with an increasing emphasis on pop). It’s music for all sorts, or at least, the curious soul in everyone.
Released: April 8, 2003