Harmonic announced today that Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum will play Whelans on November 30th. Tickets go on sale this Friday.
Like many of its Elephant 6 counterparts (Olivia Tremor Control, Apples In Stereo), Neutral Milk Hotel has its origins in the small town of Ruston, LA. The Elephant 6 Collective was formed there by a group of childhood friends who shared a love for music that no one else in Ruston seemed to know (much less care) about. The intervening years have seen the members of that core group spread across the country, each following his own musical calling. While Olivia Tremor Control cultivate their (seemingly endless) creative impulses to sublime effect, and Apples In Stereo have restored pop song-craft to the art form it was always meant to be, Neutral Milk Hotel are to many the heart and soul of Elephant 6.
Jeff Mangum has always been Neutral Milk Hotel’s central figure, and he’s used that moniker for everything from his own solo excursions to marching band-like musical happenings. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea marked a new phase for Mangum and his namesake. The group’s debut album, On Avery Island, was a wonderfully dense hodgepodge of song and sound, an ambitious, eclectic work that reflected the nomadic lifestyle that Mangum and his friends shared at the time. But the two years leading up to In The Aeroplane Over The Sea brought a stability that the band never had (nor wanted) before.
In The Aeroplane Over The Sea may contain even more solo acoustic compositions than its predecessor, but in a nice turn of irony, it’s also the most collaborative NMH offering. Gone were the days of hop-scotching across the country, living in closets and sleeping on floors. The four principal members of NMH lived together in Athens, GA, and though you could hardly call it domesticated, In The Aeroplane Over The Sea possesses an intimacy, and a sense of purpose, that could only come from shared experience. It’s even more conceptual than its multi-layered predecessor, taking on history, faith and spirituality as some of its central themes. But the group’s aim was not as much to reinterpret these themes as to rediscover them. The result is very personal and isn’t always a pretty, stream-of-consciousness account of what was gained from the experience.
Listen carefully. Repeat.
There are currently plans to release a two-volume set of early Neutral Milk Hotel, featuring music from the early, self-released cassettes, live performances, and unreleased recordings. The band wants to do this as a result of the excessive prices at which bootlegs are currently selling online and elsewhere. They will be available from Orange Twin. No date has been decided upon for release. It could be awhile in the future.
Jeff has been working on a collection of short stories. He also just joined the circus and wants to make a movie about snails.
Harmonic Presents Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel) Whelan’s November 30th, 8pm
Tickets on sale Friday June 3rd at 9am priced €20 (including booking fee) from www.tickets.ie & Ticketmaster.
Note: No photography or recording of any description will be permitted at this gig.