Blitzen Trapper's music went through various genres with each record, bouncing from indie folk to art rock to experimental folk before settling into a rich, dusty brand of Neil Young-inspired alt country. The band formed in 2000 in Portland, Oregon, with songwriter Eric Earley leading a lineup that also included Erik Menteer (guitar, keyboard), Brian Adrian Koch (drums, vocals), Michael Van Pelt (bass), Drew Laughery (keyboard), and Marty Marquis (keyboard, vocals). Before signing a record contract in 2007, the band released three albums on its own dime: an eponymous effort in 2003, Field Rexx in 2005, and the highly acclaimed Wild Mountain Nation in 2007. The latter album landed the group a record deal with Sub Pop.
With Sub Pop's help, the group hit a creative peak with 2008's Furr, a collection of 13 songs that found Blitzen Trapper boiling down its many influences into a cohesive, unique Americana sound. The Black River Killer EP followed in 2009, and the group spent part of that year working on a new full-length release, which arrived one year later in the form of Destroyer of the Void. When it came time to record the band's third Sub Pop release, American Goldwing, Blitzen Trapper opened the studio doors to outside collaborators for the first time, with Tchad Blake mixing the record and Gregg Williams co-producing. Musically, though, the guys kept things entirely within the family, reaching back to their '70s country and Southern rock influences without losing their contemporary appeal. ~ Kenyon Hopkin & Andrew Leahey, Rovi