"Furr" by Blitzen Trapper
The Oregonians of Blitzen Trapper often sounded like a ray-gun-wielding Grateful Dead cover band on 2007's Wild Mountain Nation, so it's no surprise that frontman Eric Earley calls himself a "moonwalking cowboy" and implores listeners to "leave this world somehow" on the band's fourth full-length. More surprising is the fact that it isn't all meaningless science-fiction babble: On its most focused album yet, Blitzen Trapper seems concerned with the ways a person can escape the terrestrial while staying on earth. Furr is a celebration of passion and abandon, featuring teens gone feral, God-fearing psycho killers, and other characters engulfed by the dangerous, antisocial forces of love, dance, God, and suicide. Throughout, Earley stresses how primal instinct magnifies rather than destroys identity, so it makes a kind of unexpected sense that these 12 roots-rocking songs come with less blippy weirdness and fewer noisy sideshows than before. Blitzen Trapper is just acting natural: The Neil Young and Beatles influences are laid bare, the quirkiness is now more tuneful than cerebral, and the band has surrendered to the basic human craving for candied country melodies.