Austin City Limits

Live from ACL: Blitzen Trapper, Hopelessly (and Happily) Stuck In the '70s

ACL was barely three hours old, and we already have a winner in the "New(ish) Band That Totally Sounds Like 1972" contest. It's our new Portland friends Blitzen Trapper, whose heavy folk-rock harmonies, atmospheric Led Zep slow blues (we half expected John Paul Jones to join them, but apparently he was busy with Sarah Watkins) and ELO electric piano was like a musical walking tour of the decade of shag carpeting and avocado countertops.

Blitzen gave its choppy country-rock enough juice that Rocks Off scrawled in our notebook "if this isn't a Buffalo Springfield cover, it could be," and proceeded into a Dylanesque suite of 

three or four songs (including the brand-new "Silver Moon") that stirred us up in that Desire/Blood on the Tracks sort of way - harmonica and everything else. We're just surprised it took until the third song after we sat down to smell weed.

Either Indie Nation is too young to realize how much of their parents' record collection they're hearing when bands such as BT take the stage at modern-day festivals, or they're just loath to admit it. Either way, good songwriting proves out, and one of the first things Rocks Off is going to do when we get back to H-town - after a nice long shower, of course - is pull our copy of last year's Fur (Sub Pop) out of mothballs.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray