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Fruit Bats, aka Eric D. Johnson’s alt-folk band and songwriting project, are preparing to release their first new album since 2016’s critically acclaimed Absolute Loser. The new record, Gold Past Life, marks Johnson’s seventh studio effort under the Fruit Bats name and his third in an “unintentional thematic trilogy” of albums beginning with 2014’s EDJ, which he released under his own initials. Following those five years of political and personal chaos that maxed out with Loser, Gold Past Life promises a shimmery new beginning.
The third single, following the previously released title track and “The Bottom of It,” is a real folk-rock charmer. It’s called “Ocean,” and it’s premiering here at Paste. Listen below.
“This is a song about late bloomers, late discoveries, adult baptism, coming-of-age when you’re way past the right time to do that,” Johnson says. “About growing, I guess. And how a good love can help you do all of that. In short, this is a lovey-dovey song I hope you enjoy.”
“Ocean” begins in calm waters, with just some light acoustic guitar, before maracas and staggered baroque piano accelerate the tempo, just as Johnson is “watching it all tumble into view.” As is usually the case with Johnson’s realist yet romantic songwriting, “Ocean” is nostalgic without collapsing into melodrama.
Fruit Bats signed to Merge Records earlier this year following Johnson’s longtime “mega label crush” on the North Carolina mainstay. Gold Past Life is their debut on the label, and it’s out June 21. You can preorder the album here.
Again, you can hear “Ocean” below. Keep scrolling to watch Fruit Bats’ 2016 Paste Studio session, followed by a 2010 Daytrotter Session. Further down, find Fruit Bats’ tour dates.
Read: The 50 Best Albums of 2016
Fruit Bats Tour Dates:
08 – Sonoma, Calif. @ Huichica Fest
21 – Santa Barbara, Calif. @ SOhO
22 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Lodge Room
03 – San Luis Obispo, Calif. @ Madonna Inn Expo Center^
05 – Monterey, Calif. @ Golden State Theater^
06 – Jacksonville, Ore. @ Britt Festival Pavilion^
13 – Mount Salon, Va. @ Red Wing Roots Music Festival
25 – Carrboro, N.C. @ Cat’s Cradle (MRG30) [SOLD OUT]
26 Washington, D.C. @ Union Stage
27 Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
1-4 – Happy Valley, Ore. @ Pickathon
08 – St. Paul, Minn. @ Turf Club
09 – Chicago, Ill. @ Thalia Hall
10 – Indianapolis, Ind. @ HiFi
11 – Lexington, Ky. @ Railbird Festival
20 – Salt Lake City, Utah @ State Room
21 – Ft. Collins, Colo. @ The Aggie
22 – Denver, Colo. @ Bluebird Theater
25 – Kansas City, Mo. @ Record Bar
26 – Oklahoma City, Okla. @ Pony Boy
27 – Houston, Texas @ Satellite
28 – Dallas, Texas @ Club Dada
29 – Austin, Texas @ 3Ten
02 – Phoenix, Ariz. @ Valley Bar
03 – San Diego, Calif. @ Casbah
04 – Felton, Calif. @ Don Quixote’s
05 – San Francisco, Calif. @ The Chapel
06 – Boston, Mass. @ Sinclair
07 – Portsmouth, N.H. @ Press Room
08 – Burlington, Vt. @ Arts Riot
09 – Syracuse, N.Y. @ Wescott Theater
10 – Toronto, Ontario @ Horseshoe Tavern
13 – Ferndale, Mich. @ Otus Supply
15 – Birmingham, Ala. @ Saturn
16 – Nashville, Tenn. @ Exit In
17 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Terminal West
19 – Asheville, N.C. @ Mothlight
20 – Durham, N.C. @ Motorco
22 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ Boot & Saddle
^ solo w/ Mandolin Orange