Blitzen Trapper Announces New LP '100’S of 1000’S, Millions of Billions' Out 5/17

Article Contributed by Chromatic Publicity | Published on Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Blitzen Trapper has announced their new album 100’s of 1000’s, Millions of Billions will be released on May 17, 2024 via Yep Roc. The enthralling 12-track collection arrives nearly four years after 2020’s Holy Smokes Future Jokes, and sees the Portland, OR-based band leaning into their psych rock-washed, classic songwriting roots to create one of the finest works of their career–nearly 20 years in. Produced by singer/songwriter Eric Earley, 100’s of 1000’s, Millions of Billions was recorded by guitarist Nathan Vanderpool at his studio in rural Washington. The album also includes backing vocals by Eric D. Johnson (Fruit Bats/Bonny Light Horseman) and Anna Tivel on song “Planetarium” (Tivel also plays violin and sings throughout), while the cover artwork is an abstract collage by Robert Pollard (2020’s Father Collected Fish). 100’s of 1000’s, Millions of Billions is now available for pre-order.

Blitzen Trapper has also shared the ruminative yet urgent lead single “Cosmic Backseat Education” alongside a puppet-starring video, directed by Mychal Sargent. “I remember lying in the backseat of my parents’ car as a kid and just listening to the radio, which I think is where I got most of the education that I’ve used in my life and my career. We’re so brainwashed to have these goals and milestones that we all chase, but music is inherently purposeless outside of joy. If you can learn to see that same purposelessness in life, it frees you up to enjoy every moment,” explains Earley of the song, adding about the contrastingly playful video, “Everybody says the puppeteer is in control, but everybody knows the puppet is actually calling the shots. Mr. Rogers meets Kill Bill, vigilante justice but only cotton stuffing gets spilled in these streets!"

Blitzen Trapper will hit the road in support of the album, beginning with shows at Portland’s Aladdin Theatre and Seattle’s Tractor Tavern on May 17th and 18th, respectively, before performing at the Meadowgrass Music Festival on the 25th.  A current itinerary is below and tickets for the Portland and Seattle dates go on sale this Friday.

Inspired by Earley’s fascination with Buddhist texts and meditation (the title comes from a phrase that appears over and over in the Mahayana sutras), 100’s of 1000’s, Millions of Billions offers a captivating take on rebirth and transcendence, and the circularity of existence, navigating its way through the space beyond dreams and reality, beyond gods and mortals, beyond life and death. The songs are as sincere as they are surreal, rooted in rich character studies and deep reflection, and unfolding like a riddle-filled journey that asks many questions and offers no answers. The production is intoxicating to match, blending lo-fi intimacy and trippy psychedelia into a mesmerizing swirl of analog and electronic sounds. Add it all together and the result is a gorgeous, sprawling collection wrapped in lush layers of synthesizers and washed out electric guitars–a poignant, expansive exploration of perception and purpose that manages to look both forwards and backwards all at once.

“This whole project grew out of a box of old four-track tapes from the ’90s that I found recently,” Earley explains. “The tapes were full of songs I’d written and recorded back when I was 19 or 20 years old, and the sound and the spirit of those recordings got me excited to start writing music again, to go back to working the way I did when I was first starting out.”

Drawn to Buddhism around Holy Smokes Future Jokes, Earley found himself particularly fascinated with the religion’s teachings on the self and the freedom that comes with learning to let go of the artificial constructions that surround it. “Buddhism tells us that suffering comes from clinging to illusions, to rigid ideologies, to the idea of an individuated self,” he explains. “The doorway to ridding yourself of all that is meditation, and I found that a lot of these new songs started flowing very naturally from the state of consciousness I was getting myself into during those meditation sessions.”

At the same time Earley was learning to be present through meditation, he was also reconnecting with his past through those old four-track cassette tapes; in a mirroring microcosm of circularity, he found that the songs fit in with the newer ones he’d written, and he reworked, updated, and finished them with a clarity of perspective that comes with experience gained over time. The performances were loose and freewheeling, fully arranged and fleshed out but never overworked, and the carefree sense of spontaneity called to him. “What struck me the most was just how casual and off the cuff it all was,” Earley reflects. “I was working without any thoughts of the music industry, without any expectation of releasing or touring, so I was just capturing anything that popped into my head and moving on. There was a raw, time capsule quality to it, and it reminded me of why I fell in love with making music in the first place.”