With a name that conjures up images of speedy present-bringing reindeer, Portland sextet Blitzen Trapper have made an album that sounds like Santa's twinkly sleigh falling apart, dropping gifts as it goes. They summon up the shambolic madness of Pavement, roughly half their songs being clumsy and joyous affairs full of daft, ungainly basslines that yank along glam guitars, sharp shrieks and lyrics about giant's hems and sci-fi kids. When they pause for breath, they excel at a scuffed country jangle and sweet stories about sleeping by the river. Thirteen songs of to-ing and fro-ing should leave anyone exhausted, but somehow this band's wide-eyed, sweaty-browed energy - the sound of indie rock with a heart full of adrenalin and affection - keeps on pumping the blood.
CD: Blitzen Trapper, Wild Mountain Nation