Black River Killer (Sub Pop)
If Portland’s Blitzen Trapper haven’t already cemented their status as Wilco’s heir apparent, this thoroughly impressive EP should do the trick. The woodsy West Coast six-piece exhibits all the best qualities of Chicago’s alt-country kings before Jeff Tweedy took his band down Jam Band Lane.
Blitzen’s main songwriter, Eric Earley, keeps the tracks taut and the hooks precise, as on folk-pop nugget Silver Moon and Preacher’s Sister’s Boy (Black River’s centrepiece). Even the more experimental Going Down, with its flourishes of anti-folk keyboard blips, perfectly complements Earley’s melody and doesn’t derail the tune. Seven songs and zero duds – this is the must-hear of 09.
Top track: Preacher’s Sister’s Boy