Even with momentum growing for Blitzen Trapper's "Furr" in the wake of strong year-end poll mentions, the Portland group's fifth album is "well underway."
The band's Marty Marquis tells Billboard.com that Blitzen Trapper has been working in the studio with "Furr" engineer Mike Coykendall. Five songs "are pretty much done," he says, and "there's another 15 or so that are in various stages of completion.
"We've got a bunch of new material and have also gone back and looked at a bunch of unreleased stuff that we think are really strong tunes that would make a contribution with the new stuff," Marquis reports. Among the new tracks he's "really excited about" are "Evening Star" and "The Tailor," the latter of which he describes as "a really crazy, psychedelic tale along the lines of 'Furr,' but the arrangements are not so folky and simple. The tale itself and the poetry that expresses it is, I think, the next level above what we did with 'Furr.'"
Marquis says the group would like to finish the album for release this year but acknowledges that future developments with "Furr" will likely dictate what course that takes.
"Our (Sub Pop) A&R guy was like, 'Yeah, take your time making this new record,'" Marquis notes. "But I think there's no reason why bands shouldn't put out a record every year. One of my goals is to raise the bar for productivity and quality. I want to see a return back to the early Beatles days; they were putting out TWO records a year."
Blitzen Trapper is back on the road, meanwhile; it won't be previewing any of the new material, but Marquis says the group is honoring fan requests for songs from its self-released two albums. He's also eyeballing a solo album, which he says would be "not as sophisticated" as Blitzen Trapper's music and will likely be released on the band's own Lidkercow Ltd. label.
"We can't put out Blitzen Trapper albums on (Lidkercow) for a couple years," he says, "so we've been exploring some different ways to keep the label active and growing. We'll probably put out solo records by a couple of guys in the band who have their own project, and there's another artist we're talking to about the possibility of putting out those records, too."
Read Billboard's recent Breaking & Entering feature on Blitzen Trapper.