Apr 12

Neutral Milk Hotel: “In the Aeroplane over the Sea”

Neutral Milk Hotel -- In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

The return of Ms. Drumhead.

I know, I know . . . it wasn’t very long ago that I posted about “The King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. One” by Neutral Milk Hotel. But you’ll just have to excuse me and enjoy another NMH song anyway: I saw Jeff Mangum play a rare performance last night at Seattle’s Moore Theater, and just couldn’t resist putting another one on here today. The performance was fantastic — it was mostly just Mangum sitting in a chair with one of his assorted acoustic guitars, singing and playing with such intensity that you never thought about it just being a guy in a chair the entire time. Unless you’re B.B. King on a stool, you can’t usually pull that off. For several songs, Mangum was joined onstage by other members of the Elephant 6 Collective (among them members of Elf Power), who added an assortment of horns to complete the sound of many of the songs as they appear on record. It was an excellent touch.

All in all, it was a great show, in which Mangum played nearly everything off of 1998’s In the Aeroplane over the Sea, his voice not sounding a day older than when he recorded the songs. He was also quite amiable and fairly chatty between songs, which I didn’t expect, figuring he would fit his reclusive reputation by being somewhat introverted. But such was not the case; he encouraged the audience to shout out comments, and they obliged quite readily.

Naturally, he played “In the Aeroplane over the Sea,” the title track to the second (and last) Neutral Milk Hotel album. And here it is again. With any luck, there will be new music coming from Mangum at some point in the not-too-distant future — you’ll be hearing that on a Reselect New Music Monday if that should ever happen, I assure you.

Have you seen Mangum on this tour (or at some earlier point)? Please share your comments about it…

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