Fruit Bats Announce Rarities Compilation Album & Shares New Single ‘Rips Me Up’

‘Sometimes a Cloud Is Just a Cloud: Slow Growers, Sleeper Hits And Lost Songs (2001–2021)’ comes out in January on Merge.

By Andy Kahn Oct 12, 2021 12:50 pm PDT

Fruit Bats, singer-songwriter Eric D. Johnson’s long-running project, will release a 20th anniversary rarities and favorites compilation, Sometimes a Cloud Is Just a Cloud: Slow Growers, Sleeper Hits And Lost Songs (2001–2021) on January 28 via Merge Records. Fruit Bats also shared the album’s new single, “Rips Me Up.”

Johnson selected the tracks making up the two-disc collection, with each half presenting — in reverse chronological order — a distinctly different set of recordings. The first half was chosen from official Fruit Bats releases, such as “Glass in Your Feet” from the 2001 debut Echolocation, “Humbug Mountain Song” from 2016’s Absolute Loser and “The Bottom of It” from 2019’s Gold Past Life, among others.

The second half was culled by Johnson from his archive of work collected over the past two decades. While the first disc is described as a good introduction to Fruit Bats, disc two is said to be a deeper dive for longtime fans. Included are rarities like 4-track demos of “Rainbow Sign” and “The Old Black Hole” as well as other early recorded versions of “Baby Bluebird,” “Barely Living Room” and “Feather Bed,” along with a cover of Steve Miller’s “The Joker.” “WACS” and “When The Stars Are Out,” both recorded during sessions for 2011’s The Tripper, feature Dinosaur Jr. guitarist J Mascis on the former and the late Richard Swift on the latter.

Johnson shared this regarding the new single, “Rips Me Up”:

“Every once and a while, you’ll record a song for an album and that song feels really great but also vibes like an emotional and/or sonic outlier from the others. Here’s one of those from The Pet Parade sessions. Hopefully this gets put somewhere in the pantheon of ‘trying to be a better man’ songs. I’m not sure why I wrote it. I must have been feeling uneasy that day. Oh, also: yeah, I know it’s always weird when an artist puts a new song on a ‘greatest hits’ album. But since I’ve never really truly had a ‘hit,’ I figured I could break that rule here and put it on this new compilation and retrospective. Joe Russo and Nathan Vanderpool and Josh Mease and Josh Kaufman are on here. They are all wonderful. Enjoy this little ripper.”

Stream “Rips Me Up” below:

Sometimes a Cloud Is Just a Cloud: Slow Growers, Sleeper Hits And Lost Songs (2001–2021) Tracklist

Disc One

  1. Rips Me Up
  2. The Bottom Of It
  3. Cazadera
  4. Humbug Mountain Song
  5. Absolute Loser
  6. The Rock Doc
  7. You’re Too Weird
  8. Flamingo
  9. Born In the ‘70s (Live in Portland)
  10. When U Love Somebody (Live at Spacebom)
  11. Glass In Your Feet

Disc Two

  1. Without Any Airs
  2. Barely Living Room (Demo)
  3. Baby Bluebird (Waltz Demo)
  4. Hot Dogs
  5. WACS
  6. When the Stars Are Out
  7. Aces
  8. The Joker
  9. Feather Bed (Demo)
  10. Goodnight Sun & Hello Moon
  11. Rainbow Sign (4-Track Demo)
  12. The Old Black Hole (4-Track Demo)
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