When they rode a wave of online hype out of the Pacific Northwest last year, Blitzen Trapper's mountain-man spin on Pavement's slapdash genius seemed like a sorry imitation of the real thing. But if Wild Mountain Nation felt a little forced, the new Furr is as warm and natural as a full-grown winter beard.
Though they still crib from Pavement (and now take a great deal from The Band, too), the Seattle group seems to have crossed the great divide from too-cute mimicry to a legend-inspired sound of their own.
Blitzen Trapper continues to spin out in many directions -- the screaming psychedelia of "Love U," the country-fried indie rock of "War on Machines" and the quiet ruminations of "Furr" among them. Tunes like this would have grated before, but the dudes now strike a much more satisfying balance between goofball fun and genuine vulnerability.
Basically, Furr sounds like the Blitzen Trapper of old turned older, wiser and more focused. Maturity has sapped the life from some bands, but it's a good look for these guys.
They'll be joined at Skully's by Horse Feathers, whose new House With No Home sounds ideal for curling up in a blanket during the bleakest days of winter. The Oregon band's blend of whispery melodies, rugged acoustics and somber strings adds up to a less precocious take on Sufjan Stevens.
and Horse Feathers
Tuesday, Nov. 11
Skully's Music Diner, Short North