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Neutral Milk Hotel give us the greatest Indie LP of all time


Mercy, I’ve been waiting so long to unleash In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel upon Tobin. Also you, our dear listeners. If you’re not familiar with Neutral Milk Hotel then we hope that you will go away from the show and give the whole album a listen. It really is a masterpiece. More on Jeff Mangum and Neutral Milk Hotel later…


Track Listing

  1. The King of Carrot Flowers Parts I, II & III from the vinyl Neutral Milk Hotel
  2. Paris MXMS
  3. Blue Skies in Your Eyes Lemongrass
  4. Cuddly Toy from the vinyl Roachford
  5. Ballerina from the vinyl Van Morrison
  6. My Love Until The Ribbon Breaks
  7. Ghost / Untitled from the vinylNeutral Milk Hotel

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Neutral Milk Hotel born out of The Elephant 6 Recording Company

Jeff Mangum formed The Elephant 6 Recording Company with his childhood friends Robert Schneider, Bill Doss and Will Cullen Hart. They all shared music cassettes in their younger days and made music together. Jim McIntyre and Hilarie Sydney of Apples in Stereo made up the final tally. They all started several pet projects which ended up under the umbrella of Elephant 6. Doss and Hart with The Olivia Tremor Control, Mangum with Neutral Milk Hotel and Schneider with Apples in Stereo. Collectively they held admiration for music from the 1960s. In particular The Beach Boys, often stating the then unfinished Smile as “The Holy Grail”.


Mangum disbanded Neutral Milk Hotel after an extensive European tour in 1998 cited ill health as one of the reasons. His bandmates were keen to capitalise on the albums success. However, Mangum was tired of performing and explaining his lyrics. Because of this Mangum turned down an opportunity to open for R.E.M. Mangum suffered a nervous breakdown at the time. Interviewed in 2002 he stated that it was unlikely that he would record as Neutral Milk Hotel in the future.

I just feel like these windows open up for something to be honest, and they don’t stay open for very long. I guess my path feels sort of different now

Jeff Mangum speaking to Pitchfork in February 2002

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea – sophomore album from Neutral Milk Hotel

Whilst working on the album Avery Island he read The Diary of a Young Girl. The diary written by Anne Frank whilst in hiding from the Nazi occupation. The diary was famously and posthumously published to great acclaim. Mangum was deeply affected by the diary, he spent “about three days crying” after reading it. He also dreamed of travelling back in time to save her. The track Ghost played here was a reference to Frank and to a ghost Mangum believed lived in his house. He believed the ghost kept waking him in the night. Oh Comely (8+ minutes) was recorded in one take. At the end of the track you can hear an astonished bandmate cry “Holy shit” in amazement. On the final track, Two Headed Boy Part II, Mangum can be heard setting down his guitar and walking away.

At the end of Aeroplane‘s final song, you can hear Jeff Mangum […] set down his guitar and walk off, and […] that’s exactly what Mangum did in real life

Slate
Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel at Coachella 2012 (7260343156)

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