Blitzen Trapper are gearing up to release their first album with Yep Roc Records later this summer.
On Holy Smokes Future Jokes, singer Eric Earley looked beyond mere existence (or even the end of it) to contend with grander cosmic explorations — namely, the intermediate period between a person’s separate lives on Earth “and what it means to escape the cycle of birth and rebirth.”
The record therefore takes listeners on a trip through bardo (the Buddhist transitional state between death and rebirth), and it’s that sense of cosmic humility that has served as the impetus for the album’s message.
Thus, it should come as no surprise that the first song from the album is titled “Magical Thinking” and features the delicate alt-folk that has become synonymous with the group. The lyrics are the first part of what seems to be a larger journey about life and death that Earley has meticulously explored.
“Three separate mortality encounters wherein the individual is faced with the most potent of their Wrathful Deities in the Intermediate States,” Earley says in regards to the track. “The first is a martial encounter in a night time driveway, the second a long fall from a radio tower, [and] the third a small meteor strikes a woman stopped at a stoplight.” For it (and the album as well), he drew inspiration from George Saunders’ 2017 book, Lincoln in the Bardo, which led him to Bardo Thodol, more commonly known as the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
Holy Smokes Future Jokes was produced and engineered by Raymond Richards, who also contributes upright bass/keys/pedal steel.
Blitzen Trapper’s Holy Smokes Future Jokes is out on Sept. 11 via Yep Roc.
Listen to “Magical Thinking” below.