Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998) (1 Viewer)

pete

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So i listened to this twice today thanks to being stuck in traffic and not realising it was on repeat. It's grand. Adequate. Won't be rushing back to it, but wouldn't bother me if I had to listen to it again.
 

GO

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So i listened to this twice today thanks to being stuck in traffic and not realising it was on repeat. It's grand. Adequate. Won't be rushing back to it, but wouldn't bother me if I had to listen to it again.
Faith restored!
 

hugh

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Have had a good few listens over the last week. Realised after the first one that I had never heard the last track before because I had never made it to the end. Which is a shame because it's really good. Overall it's not for me. I think you have to really buy into this, have some sort of emotional connection to appreciate it. I don't have it so it doesn't do much for me. Though, there are parts of it that I love. These are mostly outweighed by the nits I hate though. I find myself dreading the bits in songs where he goes for the high notes. It's too earnest for me. Though I like the weirdness of the lyrics ("semen stains the mountaintops" - fantastic).

Speaking of which, is the whole thing really based on the Anne Frank story? Only Holland 1945 seems to have a direct connection. Though I know these connections can be indirect and subtle..
 

Bernie Lomax

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Have had a good few listens over the last week. Realised after the first one that I had never heard the last track before because I had never made it to the end. Which is a shame because it's really good. Overall it's not for me. I think you have to really buy into this, have some sort of emotional connection to appreciate it. I don't have it so it doesn't do much for me. Though, there are parts of it that I love. These are mostly outweighed by the nits I hate though. I find myself dreading the bits in songs where he goes for the high notes. It's too earnest for me. Though I like the weirdness of the lyrics ("semen stains the mountaintops" - fantastic).

Speaking of which, is the whole thing really based on the Anne Frank story? Only Holland 1945 seems to have a direct connection. Though I know these connections can be indirect and subtle..
The lyrics to Oh Comely seem to reference Anne Frank

I know they buried her body with others
Her sister and mother and 500 families
And will she remember me 50 years later
I wished i could save her in some sort of time machine
Know all your enemies
We know who our enemies are
Know all your enemies
We know who our enemies are
 

Lili Marlene

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I lost a big 2000 word post on this so I can't be bothered getting into it all again. Summary:

1. I got into this album super late, like 2010 or something
2. I never found it hard to listen to, possibly as a result of so many bands i'd heard being influenced by it before
3. I'm not sure how lo-fi this album actually is, it seems pretty well recorded to me.
4. The songs are very, very written, and re-written and re-written. There's lots of earlier versions of all the songs going back years. Don't think Jeff Mangum had it in him to ever write again after this.
5. It's a brilliant album, perfectly balanced . It's very much an album though, maybe only the title track and Holland, 1945 work outside of the album as part of your Indie Classics Gym Workout spotify playlist
6. A whole section about Americans coming to Europe and selling our own culture back to us but this album gets away with it by being so fucking weird
7. Their best song is Song Against Sex and that isn't even on this album!
 

jonah

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(part 2)

Fast-forward a year or so to what was arguably the 3 greatest days of consecutive gigs I've ever experienced. I can't remember the order of the shows, but 2 of the 3 gigs were, Sufjan Stevens in the Olympia (shortly after Illinoise), Midlake in the Village (shortly after Van Occupanther, which I was obsessed with at the time). The 3rd gig was Calexico in the Olympia, a band which I knew almost nothing about. But I didn't go to see Calexico. I went to see the support act, a little known band called Beiruit. I arrived very early for this show so got into the pit. What we didn't know about this gig was that there was a 3rd act on the bill. They were a little odd, to say the least. A girl with a violin, and a guy playing an assortment of instruments. At one point he was seated on a low stool. He had 2 mini-cybals taped to the inside of his knees. He wore a wooly had that had a drumstick attacked via gaffa tape. And he had an accordian. While playing an incredibly complex piece of traditional Eastern European music on the accordian, he provided percussion via his head and knees. It was bizarre, but it worked. By the end of their set I was completely won over and popped out to the merch stand to see if they had any albums for sale. I had no idea who they were or even what the band name was.

There is a point to this, I swear.

The rest of this show proceeded. Beiruit were grand. As was usual back in those days, a 17-year old Zach Condon was drunk as a lord, but kept it together. Calexico were dreadful and we left early. But that first act stayed with me. I spent the next few days listening to that album, and it has become one of my favourite albums ever. It was what I discovered afterwards that has relevance. The group were called A Hack and a Hacksaw, and the guy on accordian was Jeremy Barnes, one-time drummer of Neutral Milk Hotel.

I was simulataneously annoyed that I hadn't known this while at the gig, and intrigued that I'd seen someone who had played on In the Aeroplane Over the Sea in the flesh. This heightened my interest in the album even further.

I'll admit that I hadn't a notion what the album was about. The Anne Frank stuff. I didn't really care. I had just assumed it was some kind of off-the-wall concept album, which I was more than used to from liking Pink Floyd, I was never one to try and dissect lyrics and extract meaning from them. If a song sounds good, that plenty good enough for me.

I recall making a copy of the album and giving it to a buddy of mine who I'd go to a lot of gigs with at the time. He hadn't heard of the band at that point. He texted me a while later asking 'what the hell is this shite. 'I love you jesus christ'? some sort of religion bullshit?'. I laughed it off and thought, fair enough, he doesn't like it. A few years later Jeff Mangum came to play a solo show in Vicar St. I recall walking back towards christchurch after the gig and bumping into that same guy. I asked him what the hell he was doing going to the gig if he hated the album as much as he did. He told me that it had become his favourite album (but clearly had forgotten ever to mention it).

That gig in Vicar St. That was a big moment. I can't remember how it came about. I know Mangum had turned up at the 'Occupy Wall Street' protests and had played a few songs. I know he also released the odd solo song, such as this one from the Chris Knox tribute album;


but I never expected there'd ever be a chance to see him play live. When he came to Dublin he visited the Occupy Dame Street lads (remember them?) and played a couple of songs. I'm sure the Occupy Dame Street boyos hadn't a bog who he was.

But that gig. I think it had originally been booked for Whelans. Thats what my ticket said anyway. Though I loved the album, I figured that not that many other Irish people would have liked it, or had even heard of it. But I was wrong. The gig was quickly upgraded to Vicar St, and it was absolutely wedged. And it was just him and his guitar, banging out song after song, just like some busker at the top of Grafton St.

My opinion of that gig was similar to my opinion of NMH albums. I thought the performance was absolutely dreadful. But I loved every minute of it.

In the couple of years afterwards A Hawk and a Hacksaw would play several times, and I'd go and see them every time they played. I'd buy all their albums, and adored them all. For some reason I never looked into what the other members of NMH were up to. Until I saw a post on thumped one day advertising a 'Music Tapes' gig in the Workmans Club.

I went to the gig with @Lili Marlene, and though I'm not entirely sure about everything that happened in that couple of hours, I left thinking it was one of the most amazing, incredible things, I'd ever seen. There was a singing TV, an instrument where you turn a handle but don't do anything else, a saw, a game of chasing, and general good fun for all the family. In summary, Julian Koster is quite mad, but in a really good way.

Fast-forward another couple of years and the unthinkable happens. Neutral Milk Hotel announce they are reforming for a limited number of shows. And, unlike almost every other band, they are coming to Dublin. Amazing. Like, really Amazing. They had a number of shows played by the time they came here and the reviews coming from those shows (mainly from an incredibly excitable fan running a twitter account @NMHfans) were overwhelmingly positive. This was a truly once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a band that had become incredibly important to me.

The gig really brought home what a unique bunch of musicians these guys are. I recall standing outside before the gig waiting on @jonah (cos I had a ticket for her), and Julian Koster walking by. No one had a clue who he was. I recall thinking, fuck that guy looks 10 years younger than me. Talented prick. And the gig itself. Mangum stayed to one side of the stage hammering away on his guitar, croaking out every song. But the other 3 - Koster, Barnes and Spillane - to watch them interchanging instruments and playing each song masterfully, was something that will always stay with me. And Barne's drumming on The Fool. Amazing. Knowing Barnes and Mangum to be quite serious, intense people, I expected Koster to be the token crazy member of the band. Scott Spillane put him in the ha'penny place.

At some stage during the gig poor @jonah couldn't control her tears, so had to go out the back for a little cry to herself (she was crying tears of joy though, she later informed me).

Anyway, that gig will live long in the memory. Truly incredible. And in one way I hope they never play again.

I don't think I'm even going to try too hard to justify why I like In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, or why I like NMH. I'm not that gone on their first album (which I think was more of a Mangum solo effort anyway). I just like it. I like the bad songs. I like the excessive instrumentation. I like the nonsensical lyrics. I love the uileann pipes. I love the trombone. I love the passion in the songs, in Mangums voice, in the playing. And I love how the album is put together. Its almost like one really long song. And its great. The flow of the album is fantastic.

And I thank @Jill Hives for introducing me to this album.
Yes I did in fact get teary, but I didn't cry. I actually left the room cause I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO HAVE A SEIZURE STOP MAKING ME LOOK LIKE A WIMP YOU DOPE.

but yes. Good show.
 

pete

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The lyrics to Oh Comely seem to reference Anne Frank

I know they buried her body with others
Her sister and mother and 500 families
And will she remember me 50 years later
I wished i could save her in some sort of time machine
Know all your enemies
We know who our enemies are
Know all your enemies
We know who our enemies are
She also loved jeeeeeessussss chraaaaaiiiiissstttttt
 

Scientician 0.8

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I listened to this album a bit around about the time it came out or maybe a year or so after. It never really grabbed me other than the title track. I must give it a proper listen again tonight.
 

GO

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Jazes I'm starting to sound like this lad
 

prefuse

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Late review again, the editor will kill me.

Not one I voted for. It one of those album covers I would notice but never got around to listening to it. I was initially turned off by his voice, but it's actually fine. There are times he likes to hold notes a bit too long. I keep thinking Violent Femmes, even thought I don't know many of their songs. I can see why people like this album. It's definitely a grower.

1-The King of Carrot Flowers, Part One
I like this song. Nice feel to it. Lots of double tracking.

2 -The King of Carrot Flowers, Parts Two & Three
Low fi Mariachi alt rock. Fuzz out guitars. Actually the guitar sound is horrible.

3 -In the Aeroplane Over the Sea -3:22

4 -Two-Headed Boy -4:26

5 -The Fool
Excellent musical interlude. Love the drunken brass & the drums.

6 -Holland, 1945
I like this one, reminds me a bit of Dinosaur Jr. More brass.

7 -Communist Daughter
I love all the background noises during the intro. Nice low key melody.

8 -Oh Comely
Good song this.

9 -Ghost

10 -[untitled]
Another cool little interlude. I like the organ part & the bagpipes just come out of nowhere. Love the oscillation on the fade out.

11 -Two-Headed Boy, Part Two
I could hear Ezra Furman doing this.
 

GO

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The instances of 12 min acoustic 3 chord improvised singing jams in this house have gone up exponentially.

Has it anything to do with this me hearing this album?

Unlikely. I havent listened to it since either
 

Lili Marlene

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The instances of 12 min acoustic 3 chord improvised singing jams in this house have gone up exponentially.

Has it anything to do with this me hearing this album?

Unlikely. I havent listened to it since either
aww, you were mad for it during that week
 

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