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Saturday, January 24, 2009

From The Dork’s Soundtrack: Where Are You Jeff?

Neutral Milk Hotel
Song: "Ghost"

Album: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

There are many bands who seem to last forever, playing shows and venues all around the world for years and years leaving a lasting impact on the world of music. But every once in awhile, a band is dying star that shines brightly but then quickly dies out and leaves only a memory. This is especially true with Neutral Milk Hotel. The band’s chief songwriter, Jeff Mangum, originally formed NMH as a side project to his main band, Synthetic Flying Machine. In 1994, NMH released their first recorded work in an EP entitled Everything Is. A year later, Mangum decided to leave Synthetic Flying Machine to focus more on his own work with NMH. In 1996, NMH came out with their debut album entitled On Avery Island. With the release of this album, NMH became a full-fledged band featuring: Jeff Mangum (guitar, vocals), Julian Koster (saw, accordion, bass, and banjo) Scott Spillane (trumpet, euphonium, flugelhorn, and guitar); Jeremy Barnes (drummer). And yes, Julian Koster does play the saw and it fucking rocks. With their band solidified, NMH began to focus on their next album, which in 1998 came in the form of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. It is with this album that NMH gained incredible success and attention. It is also from this album that the song from episode #51, Ghost, is featured. Many songs on this album also paint vivid images of the fate of Anne Frank. With a variety of positive reviews from critics, NMH had been quickly thrust into the limelight. It was this quick rise to fame that ultimately became the band’s undoing.

The success of the album and their ascension to fame took a toll on Jeff Mangum, who in 1998, disbanded NMH and went on an indefinite hiatus, only playing a handful of shows at various locations. When asked in an interview if he intends to write another album, Mangum said, "I don't know. It would be nice, but sometimes I kind of doubt it." It’s been over a decade since NMH have played a live show and it seems the future holds no refuge for NMH fans. So for now, Neutral Milk Hotel has died out from the music scene only leaving its unique tone and inspirational message in its wake.

* Center picture - Neutral Milk Hotel. From left to right: Jeff Mangum, Scott Spillane, Julian Koster and Jeremy Barnes.

1 comment:

Roving Gambler said...

Enjoyed the history of NMH. Still learning about them. My son turned me on to them. Didn't realize they were "out of business". Anyway.

You showed up on Google's news alert dealy so that's cool.
I have a music news site at Lakin Report. Let me know if you come across anything you think I should know about.