There is no clear genre for the music of Portland, Ore.’s Blitzen Trapper. Experimental folk? Pop? Indie rock? Post-emo-meets-alt-country with a twist of Malkmus and a dash of Sub Pop’s New Americana sound? We could go on but, lucky for us, we recently had the opportunity to ask the man himself, Blitzen frontman Eric Earley.
“I don’t know,” Earley responded from a van somewhere in America, as if not to be bothered. “It’s just American music. Back to when people weren’t so concerned with genre. Like how The Kinks were.” Right on, brother; way to not show your cards. All Music Guide calls the buzz band — Earley, guitarist Erik Menteer, drummer Brian Adrian Koch, bassist Michael Van Pelt, keymen Drew Laughery and Marty Marquis — “raucous, lo-fi country rock.” If you must know, Blitzen Trapper make art-damaged indie-pop that keeps its foot in the alt-country door. Or that’s what we’re sticking with, at least when talking about the band’s just released fourth album, Furr (Sub Pop).
“We toured Europe and now we’re touring the States, you know,” Earley continued when asked about Blitzen Trapper’s upcoming show on Nov. 10 at Locals Only, set to take place following dates with Stephen Malkmus and prior to a tour with Iron & Wine. “When you put out a new record you have to start that whole cycle up. Travel.”
How did this still-modest Portland band go from Wild Mountain Nation buzz band in 2007 to Sup Pop giants in 2008? Again, we asked the source.
“They got a hold of Wild Mountain and liked it a lot,” Earley, a man of few words, said. “And they liked our songs. The [new] songs stretch out a long way, but the majority of them were recorded after we signed with Sub Pop.
“It’s a different kind of lifestyle,” Earley said in closing when asked about his band’s big year. “Everything kind of gets compressed.”