Spotlight: Blitzen Trapper
1am, Bourbon Rocks
While contemporary indie music becomes an increasingly entropic force, few bands have wrangled their schizophrenic eccentricities as convincingly as Blitzen Trapper did on 2007 breakout third album, Wild Mountain Nation. From the opening, off-tuned riffs of "Devil's a-Go-Go," the Portland, Ore.-based sextet bruises through genres with a playfully chaotic force, launching psychedelic country jams and scratchy garage rockers to gentle folk ballads and explosive experimental freak-outs.
"It's all amalgamating in my head really," offers head Trapper Eric Early. "Then I just let the happy accidents run their course. A lot of it is just happy accidents in the studio.
"Recording for me is a lot more just playing things and then patching them together, having a song and then just chopping it up and changing it," he continues. "It's not so much like a fluid thing, but more that you start with this one thing and let it run its course. It was really produced more like a hip-hop record, where we had sections that we'd record, and some of those sections are even like samples that are just repeated or chopped and pushed other places. A lot of it would be just hitting record on the four-track and then playing and pulling out the good stuff and working it into songs."
Forming only three years ago, the band actually grew up together in Salem, Ore., playing and shifting through any number of musical incarnations. Frustrated in their attempts to garner label attention for Wild Mountain Nation, they self-released it with their own intensive media push, and the resulting critical acclaim caught the attention of Sub Pop, which releases the band's label debut later this year.
"The new record isn't really anything like Wild Mountain Nation," says Early. "The new record is a little more fluid, maybe a bit more like our live show. We recorded it ourselves again, but I used some different methods so it doesn't sound as rough. We had all the same gear, the four-track and all, but I just used some more trickery. It's all trickery and illusions."