Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. This week’s selections are chosen by all three of our daytime DJ’s. On most Fridays, we feature a Northwest band, and today we present the title song by Portland band Blitzen Trapper’s 2008 album Furr on Sub Pop Records.
Known mostly for their rowdy experimental folk, Blitzen Trapper self-released their first three albums including last year’s breakout release Wild Mountain Nation before being scooped up by the venerable Seattle-based Sup Pop Records last summer. In contrast to their genre-bending (or as some might say schizophrenic) efforts of late, their 4th full-length Furr is more cohesive and reserved than previous albums. Overall, it’s more tinged toward alt-country from what I’ve heard so far, but they still retain their garage rock sensibilities. The album was recorded in gaps at the band’s home away from home-an old telegraph building at the northern edge of Portland. A warped piano found outside their studio played a large role in the instrumentation on this record as does a greater reliance on vocal harmonies. Fans of previous albums can still appreciate songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Eric Earley’s stream-of-consciousness lyrics, which on this album focus on re-evaluating America as seen through the eyes of someone who has toured her lands extensively and seen first-hand how it is changing. The title track “Furr” tells the tale of a young man who goes to live among the wolves only to return to a world he doesn’t recognize. Obvious parallels can be drawn, but what is obvious is that Earley and co. are putting more attention on crafting their songs and it will be interesting to see where they go next. Blitzen Trapper is currently on tour with Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks but also have dates scheduled with label mates Iron & Wine and a spot on Late Night w/ Conan O’Brien (November 17th) before their triumphant return to the Pacific NW in December. For a complete look at their exhaustive tour schedule, check out their MySpace page or website.
Here they are performing “Furr” live at the Bowery Ballroom earlier this year: