It's no surprise to learn that both Wilco and Fleet Foxes have chosen Blitzen Trapper as the support act for their late summer UK tours, as the Portland, Oregon-based sextet share many of those bands' musical traits.
On this seven-track mini-album, the Wilco similarities are most pronounced on the country-rock raunch of "Big Black Bird" and the more introspective "Shoulder Full Of You", where acoustic guitar and piano support Eric Earley as he sketches Tweedy-esque melancholy in cryptic images: "I've got a shoulder full of you, pushing like a blacksmith's sorrow/Lashes full of doom/I miss you". "Silver Moon" is rollicking folk-rock laced with piano and harmonica, and a twist of the absurd, as befits a moon-touched mystery, while "Going Down" explores enigmatic territory with light, nu-psychedelic touches of organ and a serpentine melody akin to The Shins. But it's the title track that is their most distinctive, a folksy exercise in Gothic Americana whose murderer waits for divine intervention: the deaths are dismissed in passing, but his regretful compulsion torments him ever more strongly: "Oh when will the spirit come calling for my spirit to ascend?". It has the authentic haunted quality of an old murder ballad, routed through modern nonchalance and post-modern sensibility.
Download this: Black River Killer, Going Down, Shoulder Full Of You, Big Black Bird