On the road with Blitzen Trapper

Blitzen Trapper WHEN: Saturday Nov. 8 WHERE: The Turf Club Oregon-based sextet Blitzen Trapper has been anything but inactive since their birth at the dawn of the new millennium. The band self-released three albums in four years before being scooped up in what was a flurry of signings by Sub Pop last year. The critically acclaimed âÄúWild Mountain Nation âÄù (2007) blazed an Oregon Trail for their fall 2008 studio effort âÄúFurr .âÄù In this present age of stylized genre regurgitation, we tend to let bands get away with quite a bit, like overshadowing sometimes hackneyed or redundant lyrics with musicianship and a solid delivery. Blitzen Trapper succeeds in pulling off this stunt, winning our hearts with their moments of brilliance in spite of the shakier ones that undoubtedly accompany them. With an obvious nod to Gram Parsons and a sound reminiscent of their neo-country Sub Pop brethren Beachwood Sparks , as well as the almighty Beck , Blitzen TrapperâÄôs talent is unquestionable, but can it translate to the always tenuous world of live shows? Yes, yes, double yes. The sold out Trapper show at the Turf Club on Saturday night had that uncanny power to inspire attendees. Backed by solid opening performances from both Horse Feathers and These United States , Trapper blasted out an energetic and powerful 90-odd-minute set, which proved the old wisdom that a bandâÄôs real integrity lies in their ability to put on a kickass live show. A&E got on the phone with rather distracted frontman Eric Early to ask him some questions about âÄúFurrâÄù and their current tour. Where are you guys right now? WeâÄôre in Colorado somewhere, coming from Denver. So you signed to Sub Pop last year and âÄúFurrâÄù is the first album that you guys have not self produced. How was making it different from your experience with the first three albums? Um, well thereâÄôs just a lot less we have to do now as far as mechanics go and weâÄôre touring a lot, so we donâÄôt have time to do all of that distribution stuff and all the stuff that labels do. So yeah, itâÄôs been nice having Sub Pop do all of that. And then of course they are hooked in as far as press goes and all that. ItâÄôs a positive thing, definitely. Have you experienced any trouble in regard to freedom as far as what you want to do on the album? When you are self producing you can pretty much do anything you want âĦ Nah, theyâÄôre totally hands off. Cool. Yeah. [10 seconds of awkward phone silence] How did the experience of making âÄúFurrâÄù differ from making âÄúWild Mountain NationâÄù last year? I think the main difference is that we were touring a lot last year. We were kind of writing and recording in between tours, ya know, here and there âĦ [Starts discussing car issues with another person] What? That totally smells like radiator. Yeah you should check that out [laughter]. Weird. [Resumes talking to A&E] Sorry about that. What were we talking about? I canâÄôt remember. The difference between recording âÄúWild Mountain Nation,âÄù and recording âÄúFurr.âÄù Oh yeah, well with âÄúWild Mountain NationâÄù we hadnâÄôt really toured at all, we just made the record in a couple months, but with âÄúFurrâÄù we definitely took some time. You guys actually cite Gram Parsons, The Beach Boys and Beck as influences, but can you name some of the bands that are on tour right now that you guys are big fans of? Yeah. I like Beach House a lot, I like Midway and Fleet Foxes . Um, who else âĦ I like the new Dungen record a lotâĦ IâÄôm sorry who was that? Oh Dungen … HeâÄôs Swedish. ThatâÄôs a great record, the new one. Those are some really good bands that are going on right now.