Friday, April 27, 2007

Reviews:: Blitzen Trapper Wild Mountain Nation

When I first moved to Pittsburgh, I met a dude from Lynchburg, Virginia named Jeff Urquhart. Every year he invited his friends to Urqfest - a huge camping trip that involved copious amounts of BBQ, booze, drugs and music. Basically, it was a mix of good ole boy nonsense (one guy actually broke his hand punching a carp in the face), afternoon canoeing and beers, and late night mountain jam sessions chock full of guitars, banjos, drums and harmonicas.

The music usually ended up sounding like a blender filled with equal parts Grateful Dead, Beatles, bluegrass, punk, Floyd, and Stevie Wonder mixed amongst the sludge of the campsite and the psychedelics. Trying to describe that sound to anyone not there is close to impossible, but now I can hand someone the new Blitzen Trapper LP – Wild Mountain Nation – and let them experience the sounds themselves.

I really don’t know how to write something about this band that can actually represent the unique sound they deliver. How can you describe a band that is as likely to play the mouth harp on a hillbilly ditty as they are to dabble into melodic folk or crunchy 70’s rock? The record truly needs to be heard and enjoyed, not analyzed, but I’ll give it my best shot.

It starts with a scratchy garage rocker – Devil’s A-Go-Go - and never stops morphing. The frantic, fragmented riffs build but quickly evolve into a computer laced confusing outro. Before you can regain your senses, you are treated to a Deep South mountain jam (aptly titled Wild Mountain Nation) that doesn’t sound like it should come from a collection of Portland natives. Whenever you start to get comfortable, you are hit in the mouth with sonic explosions and feedback, leaving you happily on edge until the band plays you down with comforting country tinged anthems.

The whole CD plays like a disjointed campfire sing-along. Whoever starts the song dictates the mood, and everyone else just joins in. I mean, Murder Babe is a spastic slice of Who rock but it jumps headlong into Country Caravan (which sounds like it was unearthed from a lost BBQ session in the 70s) without any concern about flow.

To top it off the whole experience sounds like it was captured on an old, used four-track, so the songs never lose the lo-fi feel that makes the band so exciting. As the CD fades out, somehow, just like most mornings after Urqfest, you are left feeling hungover, exhausted, craving biscuits and remembering parts of a great night.

MP3:: Country Caravan
MP3:: Cool Love #1 - album outtake

Posted at 2:03 PM by ack :: 1 comments

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At 3:51 AM, Blogger Ryan did sayeth:

Comfy country beatles under the psychedelic Northwest Stars.


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