Love & Riots: The Les “Fruitbat” Carter Interview

The label “cult hero” gets used a lot, but for Les “Fruitbat” Carter, it’s one that certainly applies. After a spell playing London pubs as a member of Jamie Wednesday, Les found fame as one half of Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine, a band loved and hated by the music press in equal measure. He became infamous for rugby tackling national treasure Phillip Scofield live on telly and for a time, was a regular face staring out from the pages of NME. After Carter USM split, he formed Abdoujaparov, an indie punk labour of love, which maintained his cult status. In September 2021, Les stopped by at Real Gone to talk about Abdoujaparov’s long overdue return, their new album, and more besides…

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KURT BAKER – Keep It Tight / Get Away

Despite a highly prolific power pop-centric solo output, releases with punkier band K7s and The Bullet Proof Lovers also showed Kurt Baker to be a great team player, able to transfer his musical chops to other guitar driven styles. His easy demeanour and gifts for a strong melody have always suggested that he’s a great addition to any band and a good guy to have around. His 2021 collaboration with Nuevo Catecismo Catolico reinforced these ideas, with his adding some great harmonies to the band’s punchy garage rock.

That release also marked the end of Baker’s years in Spain and coincides with his return to his home town of Maine. The return to the States also brings a more traditionally American sound, beginning with the standalone digital track ‘Anytime At All’. That saw Kurt melding a pop punk chorus to an old Chuck Berry riff very effectively, but the two songs from the ‘Keep It Tight’ download find the musician in far more of a comfort zone.

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CULT BURIAL – Oblivion EP

On their self titled album from 2020, London’s Cult Burial served up an interesting mix of extreme metal sounds. Tracks like ‘Abyss’ and ‘Chaos’ assaulted the audience with a take on doom metal that injected the slowness with elements of blackened death and thrash, whilst the (relatively speaking) more melodic ‘Forever’ presented an ambitious hybrid of post-hardcore, thrash and black metal which pretty much sounded like no-one else. It seemed to be the kind of album where – assuming you could brace yourself for its onslaught and manage to absorb more than two songs at a time – it was possible to actually pick out different musical flourishes with each listen. Impressive, considering that on first hearing the whole thing seemed like a relentless outpouring of anger. One thing was for certain: their arrival had challenged Allfather and Kurokuma for the crown of “Britain’s Heaviest Band”.

Barely nine months on, the band began to hint at a follow up. It was to be a timely return; the UK had started to make their way out of a pandemic hell and the live music scene had started to gain some tentative traction. Massive riffs were certainly needed, and although their new EP would arrive too late to soundtrack the summer for a Bloodstock Festival crowd, Cult Burial were in time to hammer a new season into the advertised ‘Oblivion’.

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Salad return with new single and video ‘Things In Heaven’

Salad were one of the most underrated indie bands of the nineties. With one foot in the noisy indie camp – leading to more than one support slot with Carter USM – and the other within the Britpop family, their quirky lyrical concerns and melodic vocal phrases gave them the potential to be huge. Although the band never really rose above cult status, those who liked them absolutely adored them.

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TURN COLD – Break Your Faith EP

Turn Cold’s blend of thrash and hardcore draws a heavy influence from the both styles’ late eighties and early nineties glory years, creating a sound that has a timeless appeal. Their debut EP ‘Break Your Faith’ is by no means an easy nostalgia trip, though: its core sound also carries more of a contemporary edge through even heavier breakdowns and a socially conscious set of lyrics. During three intense numbers, the Atlanta based band share themes of inner strength and dealing with mental health issues, spurred on by the ongoing pandemic lockdown in which the demo material was recorded. The end result is an uncompromising musical statement.

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