Thursday, November 20, 2008

Neutral Milk Hotel

Neutral Milk Hotel released In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, one of the most highly regarded albums of the 1990's, 10 years ago. The album was a concept album based around the Holocaust. The band quickly dropped out of the spotlight following their most highly acclaimed release, never recording another album since.

After years of seclusion, playing his last known show in 2002, Jeff Magnum, the creative mind behind the band showed up and played at numerous shows this fall including the Elephant Six Collective Holiday Surprise Tour. Magnum is a member of the original Elephant Six Collective which also consists of members from The Apples in Stereo, Of Montreal and Olivia Tremor Control. The label seems to have an affinity with psychedelic pop rock music as well as psych folk and indie influenced work.

You'll have to excuse me for not plowing over a bunch of kids whose hearts had stopped just to snag a few photos of Jeff playing "Engine" in the near total darkness. It was an experience best not encroached on by our culture of rampant documentation technology anyway, and yet who could blame the folks haphazardly setting off flashes in the hopes of capturing something they might take home with them. Still, you've got to hand it to Mangum for finding a way to play out in the sort of intimate spaces that befit Neutral Milk Hotel, even as the project's stature has grown well beyond them.

I would have killed to see Magnum live.

Here's a live video of "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea", my favorite song of theirs, at a 1998 show during their heyday. It sounds pretty good considering it's a homemade recording.


brian said...

it's a really good recording, and a beautiful song.


Andrea Murray said...

right? it kills me.

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