20 Watts

20 Watts Reviews Blitzen Trapper’s Black River Killer EP by Irina Dvalidze
Blitzen Trapper releases new album Black River Killer

Blitzen Trapper release new album Black River Killer

PREVIEW: Download Blitzen Trapper’s “Silver Moon” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 17/20 Watts

Whether you love them for their music, heard of them because you are addicted to Chuck re-runs, or just stumbled across them opening for Fleet Foxes or Wilco, Blitzen Trapper has a few new songs for you to hum along to. The Oregon-based sextet, after self-releasing albums for years before signing with Sub Pop, is going public with their second collection under the label.

Black River Killer is a seven song EP showcasing work from the band’s entire career. Combining songs, which used to be available only on CD-R, into a solid assembly, Blitzen Trapper produce a mini-album that will be hard to overlook. Ranging from melancholy folk influences to cosmic jailhouse rock, this album has it all. Each song emulates perfection, making it impossible to pick your favorite.

Opening track “Black River Killer” defines the album’s sound. Subtle guitar chords paired with understated, airy synth in the background serve as a perfect accompaniment to singer Eric Earley’s tranquil country vocals.  Blitzen Trapper offer a wide selection that displays both songs with commercial appeal as well as examinations of very personal emotions.

Tracks like “Silver Moon,” “Preacher’s Sister’s Boy” and “Big Black Bird” pair classic country twang with spacey, extraterrestrial chimes and low tone vocals. The sound is weirdly psychedelic, the lyrics are quirky and the tracks are fun without being obnoxious or overwhelming.

Balancing the eccentric resonance, the album has tracks like “Shoulder Full of You,” “Going Down” and “Black Rock.” They  retain the peculiarity of the previously-mentioned tracks, while channeling melancholy and profound sounds. Combining mournful lyrics like “I’ve got a shoulder full of you, pushing like a blacksmith’s sorrow / Lashes full of doom/I miss you,” with mysteriously ethereal melodies turns “Shoulder Full of You” into a poignant, captivating ballad.

This near-perfect release has just one shortcoming: it is too short. The EP is a 17-minute musical achievement and a definite pinnacle for the band’s sound, so hopefully it is just a taste of a future, more expansive production from Blitzen Trapper.

— Irina Dvalidze


With a logo like that, Blitzen Trapper should totally become a death metal band.

Comment by dankaplan1

Haha, good idea. These guys should either change the genre completely or just get a new Album Artist!!!

Comment by irinadvalidze

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