Fruit Bats (solo)

Eric D. Johnson is Fruit Bats. And Fruit Bats is back.

Although Fruit Bats has been ostensibly been a solo project since its inception in 1997, Johnson ditched the name after 16 years and five successful studio albums.

He’s found success scoring films like Smashed and Our Idiot Brother and contributing songs to movies like Wild. He’s produced albums for artists like The Cardigans’ Nina Persson and bands like Breathe Owl Breathe. He’s continued to grow his Huichica Music Festival and even recorded a solo album under his own name.

But in 2014, Johnson was ready to drive the car off the cliff. His wife suffered a miscarriage. He lost his voice in a cancer scare. His sense of identity felt frail; his purpose seemed unclear. So Johnson turned back to his creative constant—Fruit Bats.

Fruit Bats’ sixth album Absolute Loser represents a triumphant return to name and form. Fruit Bats’ rebirth parallels Johnson’s resiliency, and Absolute Loser is his treaty on how to redefine oneself after tragedy.

Vetiver is the long running stage and recording name of San Francisco's Andy Cabic, who since 2001 has released over 6 albums and toured around the world supporting artists such as Wilco, The Shins, Fleet Foxes and Beach House. Vetiver craft nuanced, understated songs that reward careful listening, building a rich duality; a space where sunshine is only a chord away from melancholy, an introspective lyric underlies an extroverted chorus and subtlety tries to be outgoing in an effort to connect the dots of life’s ellipsis.
The album came together slowly over demos at my home in San Francisco and quick trips to L.A., continuing on with Thom at his studio. It moved in fits and starts for a couple years. Once we had the basic arrangements we jumped in the studio with Bart Davenport, Gabe Noel and Josh Adams for a few days to put down rhythm tracks. That’s when the album really took shape. Thom & I fleshed everything out with a few more musicians in San Francisco & L.A. and eventually Complete Strangers arrived.

The songs on Complete Strangers bear some resemblance to the album’s title. They share things in common but come from different places, different times. “Stranger Still” is an anthem for insomniacs, illuminating the hours when the world exceeds our grasp. “From Now On” rings out some emotional tinnitus, the moment a night runs away from you, when freedoms turn into responsibilities. The album builds around dualities, the way people pair at parties. “Current Carry” percolates with the confidence of love, while “Confiding” reveals how vulnerable we are chasing love. “Backwards Slowly” and “Edgar” are vignettes of transition, more ebb than flow. As with many of Vetiver’s better moments, sunshine is only a chord away from melancholy. An introspective lyric underlies an extroverted chorus. Subtlety tries to be outgoing, loneliness familiar, in an effort to connect the dots of life’s ellipsis.

I’m still figuring the album out. It feels like someone I’ve just met yet known for a long time.

– Andy Cabic

Day of Show: $18.00

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