Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fruit Bats: Love in a Compact Compartment

Band: Fruit Bats
Label: Sub Pop
Members (currently):
Eric D. Johnson, Graeme Gibson, Chris Sherman, Ron Lewis, Sam Wagster
Echolocation (2001) Mouthfuls (2003) Spelled in Bones (2005)

One of my favorite bands for a long while now has been the Fruit Bats, a self-defined indie/bluegrass band originally from Chicago but now based out of Seattle, WA. Funny thing is that they have not produced any new music since 2005, and "Fruit Bats" has been an every changing cast of musicians, the only consistent member being Eric Johnson, Fruit Bat's original founder, yet these things do not stop me from listening to the band on a steady basis. My brother turned me on to this wonderful band (as he usually does) when I was still in high school (2002?), and I've been hooked ever since. The Fruit Bats are odd, because I often feel they really personify why great music can sometimes exist without having the strongest cohesion between melodies and lyrics. (I can often love their songs, bouncing my foot and singing along, yet then look closer at their lyrics and wonder, "What the hell are they talking about?"). My favorite record of theirs is Mouthfuls, with Echolocation being a close second, and Spells in Bones a farther third. Echolocation is a wonderful supplement to Mouthfuls, but I think that they did not hit the same cord on Spells in Bones as they did on the other two, and perhaps this was a reason they drew apart as a band. Nevertheless, they tug at my heart strings, and I will forever enjoy listening to their music on a warm summer day, in the car, while driving to some distant waterhole (sorry, I am nostalgic for Austin, TX).

Why my sudden interest in these guys who have not been recording since '05, you ask? Fruit Bats recently announced that they are in the studio again and TOURING none the less! I have already put my heartfelt plea in for a NYC (Brooklyn, I hope) show through their blog, and I am sure they will give it a strong consideration. This band shows its greatness over and over again to me, because when I joined their mailing list and expressed my love of their music (along with my joy to hear that they are starting things up again) I got a personal response of, "Excited to start playing again, too! Speak to you soon!" When a band takes time to acknowledge their fans, I think that is just wonder. Please check them out! You will not be disappointed.

Tour Dates (as of today):
Feb 2: The Casabah @ 8pm (Santa Barbara, California)
Feb 3: The Echo @ 8pm (Los Angeles, California)
Feb 5: The Ike Box@8pm (Salem, Oregon)
Feb 6: Mission Theatre @ 8pm (Portland, Oregon) <--check out the link for an interesting write-up on the band.
Feb 7: The Vera Project @ 8pm (Seattle, Washington)
Mar 28: Schubas @ 9pm (Chicago, Illinois) <-- I would give my right arm to see this show. Apr 2: The Picador @ 8pm (Iowa City, Iowa)

Go to their blog, Myspace, or website for more information, music, and love!

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