Chattanooga native (and now Atlanta resident) Chris Rutledge makes a special kind of noise under the moniker Attic Fowler, a psychedelic-influenced pop wash that takes on a number of different personalities. Rutledge describes the sound as “terrestrial river soul,” and it certainly feels drawn from the many bodies of water and earthen expanses that litter his Southern upbringing. Filled with dalliances in folk rock, dream pop and a bit of jangling commotion, his work is irresistibly unique and covers a broad range of aesthetics.
With a handful of records under his belt, Rutledge is no stranger to the ins and outs of his musical evolution. And when he decided it was time to head back to the studio and reveal more of his inspired rhythmic creations, he went back to his roots, returning to Signal Mountain to record the bulk of his latest album, “Addict Flower,” in a secluded cabin. And though some of the music was also produced in Ohio, the album as a whole feels tied to that rural Tennessee geography.
A split cassette release with Fall Break Records in Atlanta and Katuktu Collective Records in California, “Addict Flower” is a continuation of the genre blending that has become such a staple of his music. The opening track, “Intro (Bormes),” is a great instrumental track that focuses on what Rutledge does best, which is incorporating many melodic perspectives into a single coherent burst of creativity. This segues into “Obvious, Cool,” a raucous pop track that works with echoing vocals, jangling rock rhythms and a definite Big Star fixation (which isn’t a bad thing).
He ventures into dream pop territory on “Reminded” while sparking a more folksy rush on “Soon Enough.” The record closes with the one-two punch of “Over Into,” a shimmering ’80s rock tribute that owes a debt to bands like R.E.M. and The Pastels; and “TV Show,” a track that brings to mind the more recent work of Real Estate and Beach Fossils. “Addict Flower” is a generous and welcoming album, one that doesn’t keep you at an arm’s length but embraces its audience and all the emotional baggage we bring with us.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.