Photo by Gabriel C. Pérez
From wrestling bears to founding music festivals, Eric D. Johnson has done it all. As the single permanent member of the band Fruit Bats, Johnson has been writing music under the name for close to two decades, during which he’s released six studio albums and composed for seven feature length films. Having worked alongside The Shins, Ugly Casanova, and The Dodos, Johnson’s talent can be traced through some of the best indie rock music of the last decade. After a bittersweet farewell in 2013, fans thought they’d seen the last of Fruit Bats. But after Johnson rejoined the project in 2014, it appeared much more as a hiatus than a tragic end.
Released last week on Easy Sound, Absolute Loser is Fruit Bat’s first studio album since the band’s triumphant reunion. A tale of resilience and redemption, the album is a story of absolute loss – written in the aftermath of Johnson’s own personal tragedies. Following his work with film-makers, Johnson integrates an element of story telling unlike any of his previous works. Produced by Thom Maonahan (Vetiver, Neal Casal), Absolute Loser sheds the sunny pop elements found in 2011’s Tripper and trades them in for a 70’s aesthetic featuring Johnson’s long lost love: the banjo. The new americana spirit of the album melds with the upbeat rock melodies fans know and love, creating a fusion that makes it hard to be anything but grateful that Fruit Bats is back.
Today, KUTX was lucky enough to have Fruit Bats join us in Studio 1A. Just in case you can’t make it out to their show tonight at Parish, you can stream the studio performance below.