2002 – present (16 years)
The Robot Ate Me has been the project of Ryland Bouchard since 2002 which has gone through many distinct phases incorporating aspects of folk, jazz, psychedelia, electronica, and avant-garde rock. He has been labeled by Daytrotter as “One of the most creative and potentially scary minds of our generation” and by Spin Magazine as "purely artistic, baffling, and almost completely uncommercial".
In 2002 he released, They Ate Themselves, his first record as The Robot Ate Me and played his first shows in San Diego opening for notable touring acts such as Daniel Johnson, Tegan and Sara, Metric, Stars and The Blackheart Procession. Skyscraper Magazine described his first release as "Quite possibly the year's most arresting experimental pop record, They Ate Themselves is a dizzyingly vibrant trip through death and multi-layered dissonance."
The controversial and highly experimental "On Vacation" was released in 2004 in which Adam Gnade declared "It's not even music outside the margins. Here the margins were never there, and if they were to encroach, The Robot Ate Me would probably up and croak. " Punk Planet followed suit describing the album as "A hypnotic two-disc record that will score your twisted nightmares and fanciful dreams." Splendid summarized "It is impossible to understand a Robot Ate Me album from a written description."
After the release of On Vacation in 2004 he signed with Kill Rock Stars and toured the US heavily the next few years playing close to 600 shows in the following three years. His shows relied heavily on audience participation and were known for being fairly unpredictable. As part of his shows he would sometimes be dragged across the floor by attendees, wear masks, scream loudly, have the audience play the supporting instruments for his songs without rehearsal, or abruptly leave after playing one song.
The 2005 release of Carousel Waltz brought a set of minimal American folk songs. The album was lauded by Babysue as a "strangely compelling and uplifting vision of how love affects a person. Soft and focused, these unusual tunes are simultaneously accessible and peculiar. The Robot Ate Me remains one of the most unique acts on the planet. Brimming with credible substance, Carousel Waltz is yet another killer album from an artist who just keeps getting better and better with time…"
2006 brought the avant-garde "Good World" which comprised mostly of sparse clarinet lines mixed with minimal percussion and falsetto vocals by Bouchard. Pitchforkmedia asked "Has someone bludgeoned frontman Ryland Bouchard?". And Tinymixtapes declared: "Not since the glory days of punk has an album come and gone so fast and left one with more questions than answers."
In 2008 Ryland Bouchard released Seeds a hand-crafted limited edition box set with close to two hours of music (divided between an A-Sides cd/vinyl and a B-Sides cd), a DVD of super 8 videos, four 7" vinyl records, letter-pressed lyrics, a hand silk-screened shirt, bag, poster, and a set of illustrations by his longtime collaborator Daniel Gibson. Only 500 copies of the set were made.
In 2009, Bouchard completed a Take-Away Show video session for La Blogothèque where he performed songs from Seeds.
The 2009 double vinyl release "Cowbirds and Cuckoos" was released on November 15, 2009 by Swim Slowly Records.
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