Jeff Mangum returns to the stage!


The brains/heart/hands/voice behind one of indie rock’s most enduring/baffling/influential albums — Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea — Jeff Mangum has been a virtual non-entity in the music world since Aeroplane‘s release and supporting tour in 1998. Longtime friend/Aeroplane producer/Apples in Stereo frontman Robert Schneider insists that despite his failure to record a timely follow-up, Mangum is still, uh, in possession of his mental faculties. Meanwhile, the legend of Jeff Mangum (and those bizarre Diary of Anne Frank-inspired lyrics) only grows with each passing year.

So how about this news item? Last Thursday in New York, Mangum emerges from the shadows to play a short solo set at a benefit concert! No new songs from Mangum, but I doubt anyone could have possibly cared. Video of the event is scarce (there was a strict ‘no cameras’ rule in effect), but we at least have the below clip of set opener (!) Oh Comely”:

Note to the uninitiated: Due to its length and awkward E-C chord structure, “Oh Comely” is certainly one of the more difficult tracks from In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (though it does contain some of the most concrete lyrical insights into Jeff Mangum’s obsession with Anne Frank: “I know they buried her body with others / her sister and mother and five hundred families…”). If you’re interested in getting into the rest of this album (and all the unfortunate hipster baggage that seems to come with it, even though I find, as you will too, that as soon as you acknowledge to yourself that you’ve become obsessed with Aeroplane, you’ll instantly realize that the sum total of other people you know who are into Neutral Milk Hotel is no more than four), then there’s really only one place to start: the breezy, two-minute opening track, “King of Carrot Flowers Part 1“. Listen to this song once (OK, maybe twice). If the vocals, guitar, and lyrics sound like something you think you’d like, then you’re ready for the rest of the album.


1 Response to “Jeff Mangum returns to the stage!”

  1. 1 amy wan
    June 7, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    i LOVE neutral milk hotel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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