Not Just For The Lactose Tolerant

Over the years i have done everything from be a musician, concert promoter, freelance music journalist, review editor, industry marketing consultant, etc. Most of all i’m an audiophile, a self described music geek. Monday’s at lifeVertical will be devoted to music.


Neutral Milk Hotel, circa 1998. Jeff Mangum is holding the angel.

The other day my son and i watching the final season episodes of my favorite sitcoms and one of the characters mentions Neutral Milk Hotel. It’s been ages since i’ve listened to them. So i dug out my NMH discs, ripped them to MP3 so i can strap them to myPod (when will someone come out with a descent portable flac player?).

Listening to long forgotten songs like Holland, 1945; Song Against Sex; Ghost; and In The Aeroplane Over The Sea bring to mind the instrument variation of Sufjan Stevens, the enthusiasm of Arcade Fire, and The Decemberists’ general song craft. What?! You’ve never heard of NMH? If you’re even a casual fan of the a fore mentioned artists you should at least give a seek to NMH on Youtube to see where they glean influence.

Neutral Milk Hotel is truly a lost treasure: ahead of their time, and whose time should now surely come. The brainchild of Jeff Mangum, their first full –length On Avery Island was released in 1996 and consists of simply Jeff on vocals and instrumentation with the aid of his pal Robert Schneider (who went on to form and front the Beatles-esque pop band The Apples In Stereo… one of my favorites) on production and various instruments.

On Avery Island was followed up in 1998 by the Anne Frank inspired concept album In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. After which, Mangum crawled under a rock and has barely been heard from since.

Any other NMH admirers out there or am i a stranger in a strange land? Otherwise, go check them out and leave feedback on your thoughts.

~End neutrality~