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Eyesinweasel reviews

Tobin Sprout What is eyesinweasel? Why not put it out as a Tobin Sprout record?

EYESINWEASEL is my band, with John Peterson on drums, Dan Toohey on bass, and Nick Kizirnis on guitar. I wanted to do a band album and tour. If you're playing with a band I think it should have a band name. Plan to do a solo album next after I finish the soundtrack for the independent film FORTUNES.

What motivated you to get back out on the road for this record as opposed to your previous solo efforts?

When I got together with John, Dan, and Nick to record the album it just worked so well that we had to play live. I had always wanted to tour.

Does inspiration come faster for a painting or a song? Has one thing ever inspired both at the same time?

I go from one to the other depending on what needs to be finished first. Otherwise it mostly has to do with what i'm in the mood for that day.

Are you aware of the irony that you practice a style of painting known for it's painstaking attention to detail while you also helped launch the recent "low-fi" school of musicianship? Discuss.

I just do what I love to do, I don't give alot of thought as to why, it would just confuse me.

List your 10 favorite album covers - 5 as an artist & 5 as a musician.

ABBEY ROAD, just a photo, simple, no need for words. TURN TURN TURN, the Byrds, cool haircuts. RUBBER SOUL, cool haircuts and cool wide angle lens use. THE MADCAP LAUGHS Sid Barrett, weird haircut but cool. WHO SELL OUT, I always wondered what it would feel like to get into a bathtub full of beans, great haircuts too. HEY JUDE, another with just a photo. and the best of all ELTON JOHN, Capt. Fantastic, just kidding, I am still a little disturbed by that one, I had to have someone come and remove it from my collection.

Wrinkled Thoughts
RECORDHEAD/Wigwam Records

by Brodie Schwendiman

Whenever something connected to the Guided By Voices camp is released, it's a must-snag for me.  Whether it's Guided By Voices itself, Robert Pollard solo, or the new incarnation of Tobin Sprout solo music like EYESINWEASEL - the new music outfit for the eccentric pop guru.  Along with a backing band that includes Ohio lords of overstock, Dan Toohey, John Peterson, Nick Kizirnis and John Shough, I have become once again a member of the 'must-snag' Dayton music fan collective.

However, I'm not content on being a simple member this time around, but nominate myseld the freakin' campaign manager.  EYESINWEASEL is that good.

As a fan of Sprout's soft and sweets amongst the Guided By Voices catalogue, and then again with his solo work - particularly on 'Moonflower Plastic' and 'Carnival Boy' - I have to say that Wrinkled Thoughts is the best material he's released.

The irony here is that everything that makes Tobin Sprout what he is, unique vocals layered upon creamy pop gems; aren't exactly what make Wrinkled Thoughts the tops for me.

The beauty is because this record simply rocks.  It's Tobin rocking out in a Tobin Sprout sort of way.  The strong-silent-type-rocker is what he is.  Songs like 'Seven and Nine' and 'Hint #9' apply plenty of seventies guitar riffage, and if the rocking-ness of the record isn't enough, let's add in the use of some instruments not common to Dayton musicianship, but indeed a seventies record trait, like the theremin.

One thing this Sprout fan truly yearns for is to see what kind of artwork Tobin had been doing during the making of 'Wrinkled Thoughts' and also to find out why the heck there's a receipt for an old Auto Wreckers' company from Aylmer, Ontario on the CD sleeve.

from swizzle stick:

Live Weasel

Tobin Sprout memorializes first solo tour

Before last year, Tobin Sprout had never toured as a solo artist. Now, those fans who werenít lucky enough to make it out to one of the handful of gigs he did play, can at least try to re-create the scene in their own homes with a live eyesinweasel disc which will be released April 13. Recorded on the last date of the tour in Boston, the show includes 27 tracks (boy it seemed like he played about 45 when we saw him, but itís hard to keep count when they are all so short and sweet). There are plenty of cuts from the eyesinweasel disc, but he also goes back into his Guided By Voices days with "Awful Bliss," and "Esterís Day" as well as ones like "The Last Man Well Known To Kingpin" from his excellent solo debut, Carnival Boy.

from Brandeis University's Independent Student Newspaper:

Former GBV guitarist, Tobin Sprout, performs

As unevolved as ever, Tobin Sprout, former guitarist from the underground legends is back. Guided by Voices (GBV) absolutely rocked the Middle East Club in Cambridge on Saturday, Oct. 28. It was a tour supporting his new album, "Wrinkled Thoughts."

Fittingly for the final show on the tour, Sprout and backup band "Eyesinweasel" churned out a fast, loud and hard set late into the night. As Richard Davies, the one-man acoustic opening act, put it, "I am the calm before the storm." This statement was an accurate portrayal of what was to come when Tobin Sprout took the stage.

The band hopped up onto the small platform in front of the sardine-packed crowd, beers in hand, and said, "We've got 45 songs on this set list, and we need to get through them." Unfortunately, the band did not make it through the whole planned set but what was played turned out phenomenal and sufficient. Tobin kicked off the show with a couple of songs from his most recent album, "Let's Welcome the Circus People," the LP which the tour was promoting. Songs like "7 & 9," followed by, "And Then the Crowd Showed Up," whipped the cult fans into a frenzy for what was still to follow.

Tobin played one of his most famous songs, "E's Navy Blue," next. This alluring song's captivating opening guitar rift drew in even the viewer farthest from the stage. As most do, Tobin quickly jumped into the crowd favorites, namely GBV material. He began the classics with "Atom Eyes," an underground anthem off the Guided by Voices' 1996 album, "Under the Bushes, Under the Stars." He also played the soft yet unrefined melodies of "Awful Bliss," from "Bee Thousand," flanked by the short "You're Not an Airplane," on the same album.

Sprout proclaimed his amazing legacy by only playing the GBV tunes that he had written. After those opening songs, Sprout weaved material, old favorites and beer-inflicted chatter. Over the next few hours, the band continued to pump out faster and louder versions of every song as the crowd was mesmorized by his ever-peering eyes, which pierced the smoke-filled haze and made contact with the souls of every person in the Middle East's back room.

Eventually, every song was an old one. "King Shit and the Golden Boys," (part of the five-album boxed set) was drawn upon several times as the night progressed. "Scissors" and "2nd Moves to Twin" were included, both somewhat lesser known recordings that go to prove the cult-like following of GBV. Every person in the place knew every word.

Toward the end of the show, and into the encore, Tobin played several more songs off of "Bee Thousand." "Ester's Day" and "Mincer Ray" were particularly incredible because as I closed my eyes, I could have sworn that I was at a GBV show. The likeness was amazing and uncanny.

Perhaps the greatest song of the night was, "A Good Flying Bird." This song is on "Alien Lanes" and epitomizes the spirit and tone of Tobin Sprout's writing. Its poppy and quick overtones make it a signature of the material that he contributed to the music of GBV.

Tobin Sprout has always been an unusual performer. He takes on the stage persona of a poetic Jim Morrison -very still and quiet, with little or no movement. His extreme body language and enthusiasm , however, demonstrate both his devotion to the material and his never-ending quest to fulfill the desires of the fans, without whom, GBV and Tobin Sprout would not be able to exist.
- Zak Starer, Justice Staff

fromColumbus Alive-Wired:

Guided By Voices revisited

On Wednesday, October 11, Little Brother's will host former Guided By Voices guitarist Tobin Sprout's new band, Eyesinweasel. Tobin is touring for the first time since Robert Pollard broke up the quintessential GBV line-up some five years ago.

Eyesinweasel will be playing songs from its forthcoming full-length, Wrinkled Thoughts (Luna), due out October 17. While GBV fanatics may find minor qualms with it, the album no doubt surpasses last year's Let's Welcome the Circus People, not to mention anything Sprout's former band has done in his absence. Wrinkled Thoughts leads off with Seven and Nine, which was released as a single earlier this year. The propulsive track echoes GBV's heyday and showcases electric playing from guitarist Nick Kizirnis, bassist Dan Toohey and drummer John Peterson. Elsewhere, on cuts like Slow Fanges and Hint #9, Sprout shows that Pollard wasn't the only member of GBV capable of the masterfully oblique line. On the former he sings, "A hundred monkey theory, an internet to the weary." Yeah, well, what can you say?

Anyway, it's great to hear Sprout back with a full band. The record rocks unassumingly, churning up many a great hook along the way, while Sprout's voice liltingly flies over top. While GBV seems on a path of fulfilling Pollard's every drunken whim, Eyesinweasel has crafted a great record.


Eyesinweasel: Wrinkled Thoughts

Tobin Sprout was the songwriting second-banana in most of Guided By Voices' enduringly prolific career, a role he maintained through 1997's Mag Earwig. Though frontman Bob Pollard has always personified the band with his drunk-uncle joviality, wet Beatle kisses, and nifty Midwestern schoolteacher back story, Sprout was his most frequent partner in writing the verbose bursts of lightly toasted pop enigma that define the band's near-bottomless catalogue.

Nearly identical in basic style to Pollard's own distinctive songs, classic Sprout co-writing credits like Bee Thousand's "Hot Freaks" and Alien Lanes' "A Salty Salute" mingled seamlessly in with the albums' blink-and-you'll-miss-'em nuggets. Obscure to all but the band's notoriously dedicated core fans, Sprout struck out on his own around the time that the group's popularity started to extend significantly beyond its cult of lo-fi fetishists, indie-pop connoisseurs, and residents of Dayton, Ohio.

Sprout's subsequent solo work has found him gently straying from the GBV formula in terms of the stuffed mouthfuls of cryptic lyrics and attention-deficit song lengths. Starting with 1996's apprehensive Carnival Boy, and through the increasingly memorable Moonflower Plastic (1997) and comparatively somber Lets Welcome the Circus People (1999), Sprout's confidence has grown audibly.

His new project, Eyesinweasel, reunites Sprout with early 80's Dayton collaborators fig.4 and marks his most accomplished collection of songs to date. Like most of his solo work, much here indirectly recalls GBV but is far less indebted to the British Invasion principals than Pollard. Though the ghosts of classic pop are never entirely far, missing are his former collaborator's taste for kernels of Who-like pomp and grandeur, resulting in material that is sonically more modest but no less compelling.

Signing in with squealing guitar feedback, Wrinkled Thoughts bursts into the tight, pogo-worthy power-pop burner "Seven and Nine," among the most musically muscular tracks in Sprout's career (along with this album's scorching "Hint #9") and certainly among the best. From there, the tempos decrease but the songs are unfailingly smart, direct, and evocative. On the vocally subdued yet lyrically loaded "Marriage Incorporated," he can't resist putting twenty pounds of syllables in a ten-pound sack GBV-style with lines like "like a viable fetus in a union like uterus/miscarry or under go?" But like most of the emotions conveyed across the album, the undaunted sweetness of "There She Goes Again," among others, reveals a songwriter mining for real sentiment and hitting pay dirt.

Wrinkled Thoughts may not radically expand Sprout's own cult of fans, but if a recent (rare) NYC show is any indication, its songs have struck a nerve and have rightly assumed a prime spot in the hearts of the faithful.
-Jason Roth

from Yale Herald:

Eyesinweasel: Wrinkled Thoughts

Underground pop is the genre that keeps on giving. Ever since the Byrds and Beatles, there's been no shortage of earnest lads offering their own spin on the three-minute slice of guitar chime. The '70s had Big Star, the '80s had pre-sup-erstardom R.E.M.; the '90s had Guided by Voices (GbV), who put meticulously-crafted pop through a lo-fi blender of sloppy recording, choppy edits, and incomprehensible lyrics.

It worked. GbV didn't destroy their songs; they brought them into focus, burning away the extraneous detritus of production to clarify the stunning beauty of their melodies. Guitarist Tobin Sprout, meanwhile, who left the band in 1996, has been experimenting with clean production, most- recently as lead songwriter for Eyesinweasel.

These aren't GbV songs. They've got clearly defined verses and choruses, logical lyrics, and they lack telltale cassette hiss. GbV's blink-and-you'll-miss-it aesthetic is gone; with 14 tracks spread over 36 minutes, Wrinkled Thoughts has no problems with conventional rock structure.

There are some awkward moments. A little more alt-rock whine would turn a few tracks into Foo Fighters songs, and for a moment your heart sinks as you imagine Carson Daly waiting to snatch Sprout away, but these are the exceptions. Most of Wrinkled Thoughts stands squarely outside the fleeting banality of the TRL mainstream because Eyesinweasel has tapped into a sound so archetypal it might as well be timeless. GbV's guitar roar can be heard in some of these songs, but so can a chiming 12-string that could be channeling the spirit of the Byrds' Roger McGuinn; elsewhere, a shimmering faux harpsichord could have come from an early-80s R.E.M. session. Eyesinweasel isn't derivative, but it is aware of its history, which in today's new-new rock world is an accomplishment in itself.

Eyesinweasel may never break the sort of ground GbV did, but that's all right. It's done something even rarer: it's become traditionalist without becoming "retro." As long as there's guitar, bass, and drums, music like this will be around; as long as songwriters like Sprout keep coming up with melodies as powerful as the wistful, swelling chorus to "Marriage Incorporated," there'll be a reason to listen. (Luna)
óNicholas Webb



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