Blitzen Trapper will release their 10th studio album (and Yep Roc Records debut) Holy Smokes Future Jokes on September 11. Today, SPIN premiered the first single from the album – “Magical Thinking” – calling it “…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.”
Led by existential questions about life and death, Holy Smokes Future Jokes finds frontman Eric Earley ruminating on the intermediate period between a person’s separate lives on earth, “and what it means to escape the cycle of birth and rebirth,” he explains.
Recorded at Long Play Recording in Portland, OR, Holy Smokes Future Jokes takes the listener on a wild and dramatic journey through the Bardo, that transitional state between death and rebirth. With an inherent otherworldliness in the lyrics and imagery, the album’s ten songs take inspiration from several works, notably George Saunders’ 2017 Lincoln in the Bardo, which led to Bardo Thodol, more commonly known as the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
“I became obsessed with it, “Earley notes. “All the ideas contained in that book were speaking to me in a lot of different ways. The main theme that kept drawing me in when I was writing was what I call ‘cosmic humility,’ he adds. “It’s the idea that humanity is not the center of the universe or even the center of our own universe here on earth. We’re not the most important thing.”