It's scary to go it alone. Of course, no one told that to the local fringe popsters in Blitzen Trapper. Their brand-new album, Wild Mountain Nation, hits stores this Tuesday, June 12, and it's them against the world. In addition to recording all but two tracks on the album, the band self-released the record, despite the few suitors who lingered about.
According to singer/keyboardist Marty Marquis, "We've done three or four loose 'records' or collections of songs, which were sent around to lots of different labels, and which generated some interest, but not the same excitement that we ourselves felt about the music. For various reasons, no deals were ever struck, and we kept on writing and recording."
Wild Mountain Nation is the result of these recording sessions, and while the band is label-less, it doesn't matter one bit. The record label is the dinosaur of the music world, a slow-moving creature with an inability to keep up with the flow of things. While labels do offer deep pockets, contacts, and a support network for the band, a surrogate system can easily render it obsolete. In addition to handling the label duties, the band kept it local by manufacturing the CD with local company CD Forge, in addition to choosing local distro NAIL to help stock the store shelves. As Marquis puts it, "We were tired of waiting for somebody to back us up, and felt that we could get a great team together ourselves, and hopefully really do justice to the record and get it heard."
Of course, Wild Mountain Nation deserves to be heard. It's a boisterous and disjointed take on modern indie music that flips about like a gasping fish out of water, never content with any given genre or direction. The bubblegum psychedelic-pop of "Sci-Fi Kid" is book-ended by the sloppy near-instrumental (the only words are a chanted, "Yeah, yeah, yeah") epic "Woof and Warp of the Quiet Giant's Hem," and the porch-stomping country moonshine jamboree, "Wild Mtn. Jam." In just that three-song stretch alone, Blitzen Trapper cover more ground than their peers ever will. Their confident lack of direction is endlessly charming, as they fill their dance card with playful waltzes, shuffling country, harmony-filled indiepop, and the occasional burst of party-punk and recklessness.
Wild Mountain Nation is a record that meanders about without any particular direction, but that is the intention of Blitzen Trapper. You can't classify a band if they won't give you the opportunity to do so, and as they pogo about from one sound to another, Blitzen Trapper prove that they can do it all by themselves.