In 2008, Portland freak-folk group Blitzen Trapper released Furr, a pastiche of psych, Americana, roots, and lo-fi tunes that garnered the band widespread critical acclaim. The highlight of that album, released on venerable indie label Sub Pop, was the title track, the best song ever written about turning into a werewolf (don’t even think about arguing with me, Warren Zevon fans.)
Furr proved to the high water mark for the group, as the succeeding years saw indie rock tastes pivot more toward pop and R&B-inflected sounds, leaving bands like Blitzen Trapper on the margins. The group’s last release for Sub Pop came in 2011.
Despite their low-key status, the band has gamely soldiered on, consistently releasing quality albums that feature their eclectic collection of alt-country-inspired tunes. On Wednesday, the band will look back at their considerable catalog with a special performance at The Independent. The show is being called “Songbook: A Night of Stories and Songs,” and will highlight the group’s evolution over the years.
It’s always a little unfortunate when talented, imminently-competent groups slip outside the realm of mass public consciousness due to shifting cultural predilections. Wednesday night will be a reminder that Blitzen Trapper wrote a bunch of unforgettable songs, and remain a potent group capable of great things.