Blitzen Trapper 

When Blitzen Trapper set the stage for Stephen Malkmus at Liberty Hall last August, it felt like a passing of the torch. Like Pavement, Malkmus' deceased indie-rock fraternity, Blitzen Trapper splits the difference between absurd wankery and knockout songcraft. The Portland, Oregon, group's fourth album, Furr, revised its mission statement inasmuch as it presented a more polished and coherent set of songs that respectfully evoked Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dread. The six-piece band simply kills it every time it takes the stage, though the occasional detour into feedback-soaked jamming isn't out of the question. Be sure to arrive early for fellow Portland songstress Alela Diane, whose new album To Be Still is a gentle beauty that recalls Fairport Convention and Dusty Springfield.

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