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POPSCREEN: Blitzen Trapper

"Wild Mountain Nation" - Dir. Orie Weeks

By Alexa D West, Contributing Writer

Portland, Oregon must have a West Coast inferiority complex. It pales in comparison to gargantuan Los Angeles, it’s not a hub of debauchery like Las Vegas, and it never experienced the height of Grunge like Seattle. But now indie-folk group Blitzen Trapper is here to help define Portland with something else it’s never been able to boast: a country twang.

Officially formed in 2000, Blitzen Trapper is led by Eric Earley (vocals/guitar) and five other scruffy, music-making characters. Blitzen Trapper gives off a mellow, earnest vibe, even if they’re making country rock in a northern city. They don’t appear to take themselves too seriously: think less prep-schooled Strokes and more a down-home Modest Mouse.

Their video for the song “Wild Mountain Nation” is a mash-up between a Best Week Ever skit and Warhol kitsch. Much like a disjointed nightmare, a Godzilla-sized lead singer dwarfs the skyscrapers around him, a cut-out plane flies overhead, and a man parachutes into a giant flower pot. Sound like a trip? At the very least, it was probably inspired by one at some point along the creative process. And then the band plays on top of the globe, as well as in outer space, straddling the rings of Saturn. The song itself is indie college pop in its most unadulterated form.

Politically conscious and goofy, country yet polished, Blitzen Trapper’s video collage is nothing if not pure fun. With an ongoing European tour through December, might these guys spread farm boy rock to France? Oui. Another geographical wonder courtesy of Blitzen Trapper.

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