DEAR STUMPTOWN, I'm stumped. Every comparison one can make with Blitzen Trapper falls short. The Grateful Dead? Yeah, but the Dead were a joke. Neil Young? Close, very close, but a quieter, happier, less maid-needing Neil. Wilco? Maybe if Wilco still had brains and a heart. Beck? Totally, but Scientology owns the part of Beck's deep, dark soul that once made music like this. (They keep it in a red shoebox at central headquarters located somewhere on Universal Studios' back lot. It's labeled "Junkyard Aesthetic" in black Sharpie.)
I think the reason the six local guys in Blitzen Trapper are so tough to pin down is they jump genres like tiny green frogs on lily pads: light, effortless, too natural and quick to seem like anything but What You're Supposed to Do. Blues, rock, electronics, country--it all becomes one big happy famire (family/genre). The first song on Field Rexx, Blitzen's new record, opens with a rustic, hwwowah awwah onking harmonica and acoustic guitar porch jam, an old dusty dust bowl sit-down, but suddenly the tape rewinds with a sceerrrreeatch and they're shambling through a nice, even-paced indie pop song that Malkmuses around with starts and stops, and Jicks itself to pieces with bongos, electronics, lo-fi, hi-fi, etc.
Next one starts off as a funky, poplocking electronic dance party song. By the middle of the record we've got (totally sincere) bluegrass, psych-folk, brassy plucked acoustic guitars, a sunny stoned space pop song that starts off sounding like Kelly Clarkson's great "Since U Been Gone" and then joins E.T. up on planet What The Fuck #7.
It's all over the place, loose but never sloppy, and moves with a nice, strange flow in the midst of anti-flow, bonded conjunction in the swirl and sprawl of chaos. So, I guess, with songs like these--to turn a phrase--who needs comparisons? That makes no sense, BUT NEITHER DOES THIS BAND!