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Blitzen Trapper’s new gooves

Music | October 3rd, 2013

By Diane Miller

One of Portland’s most popular bands, Blitzen Trapper, is heading to Fargo this Thursday, Oct. 10. It’s expected to be one of the bigger shows at The Aquarium this year.

Since the releases of their highly acclaimed albums “Wild Mountain Nation” and “Furr,” Blitzen Trapper have consistently become less indie-Americana rock only to become more country roots. The band’s new sound is at times quirky and slightly uninviting. Other times they sound cool, collected and catchy.

Whatever they are doing, it seems to be working toward their success. Perhaps it’s because Earley is such a strong leader. He is an intelligent lyricist and a character-driven singer-songwriter.

“I just write about what is going on in my life or whatever I think about,” Earley said. “It’s a pretty natural sort of thing I guess. I don’t have to try to write songs. I just do my thing.”

The band has been together since 2000. Earley said Blitzen Trapper’s first official release was 2007’s “Wild Mountain Nation” though there are two other records that came before it. So altogether the band has released eight records, including their latest, “VII,” which was just released last Monday, Sept. 30.

As far as what is new about this record according to Earley: “It has a lot more dance grooves and beats … Lyrically it’s evolved quite a bit. It’s got more storytelling.”

The new record also has more down-home instrumentation (banjo, harmonica and slide guitar) shrewdly mixed with subtle electronic elements and instrumentation.

“Shine On,” track two off the album, is especially significant with its mix of hip beats and gospel singing featuring a vocalist Earley met through his church, Liz Vice.

Other key tracks off “VII” include the gritty opening number “Feel The Chill” and the wishy-washy “Oregon Geography,” which at times doesn’t even feel or sound like an actual tune.

Earley’s voice especially seems to be an evolving element of Blitzen Trapper. He’s sounding a lot less like Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes and a little more like The Heartbreakers’ Tom Petty. He still sings with great character though he sounds more like a no nonsense rambler as compared to his earlier, more vulnerable singing style particularly heard on Blitzen Trapper’s 2008 song “Furr,” which is undoubtedly a fan favorite.

Blitzen Trapper fans who enjoy the band for their more raw and rambling country style will especially enjoy their latest album and their show here next Thursday.

Earley recalled the band’s last show in Fargo three years ago: “Last time there was a tornado that came through or something. Yeah it was crazy. They had sirens going off and on the TV it was like an emergency broadcast. We walked by to pack the van and listened to Black Sabbath and watched the trees bending over ... They were like stay inside everyone. (laughs) I guess it came within five or six miles of town.”

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Blitzen Trapper w/ Elliott Brood

WHERE: Aquarium, 226 Broadway, Fargo

WHEN: Thurs., Oct. 10, 9 p.m. (Doors @ 8 p.m.)

HOW MUCH: $16 advance, $18 door

INFO: Purchase @ Orange Records or ticketweb.com

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