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Tag: Neutral Milk Hotel (1-7 of 7)

Neutral Milk Hotel announce first reunion dates in 15 years

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Hold on to your flannels, kids: revered indie-rock band Neutral Milk Hotel is reuniting for the first time in fifteen years.

The Athens, GA, group behind 1998’s seminal In the Aeroplane Over the Sea just announced a small string of tour dates this fall on their official web site. And while the band’s elusive leader Jeff Mangum has been trotting out NMH songs during his handful of shows in recent years, this new outing will bring together the full NMH crew, including Jeremy Barnes, Scott Spillane, and Julian Koster, playing together for the first time since the year  Aeroplane was released.

Only a few dates have been set so far, but the band’s site teases that more will be announced soon — hopefully including one in Pawnee, for April Ludgate’s sake. As of now, though, you’ll be able to catch them at the following few dates:

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Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): The story behind Green Day's '¡Uno!' album art

Graphic designer Chris Bilheimer has an impressive track record. In addition to working as REM’s full-time artistic director, he created the cover art for Neutral Milk Hotel’s indie classic, In The Aeroplane Over the Sea. He’s also designed every Green Day album cover since 1997’s Nimrod. This year, he produced the grungy neon artwork for the punk rockers’ latest trilogy, ¡Uno! ¡Dos! and ¡Tré!. From his new home in the music-obsessed Austin, Texas, Bilheimer talked about the inspiration for the aesthetic, and revealed the lo-fi, yet surprisingly contemporary process involved in its creation.

For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for EW.com’s Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes) coverageREAD FULL STORY

Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum performs for Occupy Wall Street

Yes, lots of celebrities showed up to support Occupy Wall Street (though not Radiohead, as once rumored). But the shaggiest famous person (and maybe the one with the most heart) showed up last night.

Around 10:00 pm, Jeff Mangum stepped up to the protesters, gave himself a very humble introduction (“I’m Jeff from the band Neutral Milk Hotel”) and proclaimed, “I’m here to serve you. What do you want to hear?”

Leading a giddy sing-along, Mangum played eight songs, beginning with a cover of the Minutemen’s “Themselves” and leading into a bunch of favorites from his own catalog, including “Two-Headed Boy Pt. 2″ and “In an Aeroplane Over the Sea.”

At one point, when a protester yelled, “Play some Dylan!” he quipped, “I only know three chords. Haven’t you noticed?”

By the end of his grand finale “Oh Comely!” the crowd were shouting along with the words, and Mangum was in great spirits. “You guys have done a beautiful f—ing thing,” he told the protesters, who called back, “You have done a beautiful f—ing thing!”

You can watch video footage of the performance after the jump.

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Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum returns with a beautiful acoustic set at Chris Knox benefit show

neutral-milk-hotelImage Credit: Will WestbrookNone of the 500 or so people who bought $75 tickets for the Chris Knox benefit show held at N.Y.C.’s Le Poisson Rouge last night were quite sure what we were getting into. We knew that a motley group of musicians and comedians would take the stage to raise money for Knox, the New Zealand indie-pop hero who suffered a stroke last summer. One of them, stunningly, would be Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel — a man as private as he is brilliant, who has performed very, very rarely since 2001. (He’s pictured above, second from the left with the rest of Neutral Milk Hotel in 1998.) Beyond that? Zip. The event’s organizers refused to provide the performers’ order or start times beforehand. Mangum’s “very short acoustic set” could be coming at any time between 6:30 P.M. and 1 A.M.

Standing in line outside Le Poisson Rouge before the show, I wondered if Mangum wouldn’t turn up at the very end of the night, play “Sign the Dotted Line,” the stirring Knox cover he contributed to last year’s Stroke tribute CD, and disappear again. I found myself thinking of an old Jewish folk song, “Dayenu“: Seeing Mangum sing even just that one tune would have been enough for me. So I went downstairs and settled in for the first few performers. Some of them, like TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone and singer-songwriter Sharon van Etten, were quite good. Out of nowhere around 8:35 P.M., comic Rachel Feinstein ended her raunchy stand-up routine with a casual, “Okay, Jeff Mangum is next!” Suddenly the room got very loud. READ FULL STORY

Friends respond to Vic Chesnutt's death: Michael Stipe, Jeff Mangum, Patti Smith

Michael Stipe has issued a brief statement on the death of his friend Vic Chesnutt yesterday. “We have lost one of our great ones,” writes the R.E.M. frontman on the band’s official site. Stipe produced Chesnutt’s first two albums in the early 1990s and was instrumental in bringing his music to a wider audience.

For more of the statements posted on R.E.M.’s website, including tributes from Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, Patti Smith, and others, click through to the jump.

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Jeff Mangum returns with a cover of Chris Knox's 'Sign the Dotted Line'

When Jeff Mangum’s name showed up in connection with a planned Chris Knox tribute album this summer, you could almost hear the collective gasp issuing from the indie-rock world. New music from the genius who more or less retired after recording two all-time classic albums with Neutral Milk Hotel in the ’90s? (That’s them in 1998, pictured. Mangum is second from the left.) Could we really be this lucky?

Believe it. Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox, which went on sale today as a digital download at Merge Records’ website, comes with an unfortunate backstory: Knox, a great and underrecognized singer-songwriter from New Zealand, suffered a stroke in June, and an impressive list of friends and fans put together this covers album to raise funds for his recovery. But Mangum’s take on “Sign the Dotted Line,” originally recorded by Knox’s band Tall Dwarfs for 1990’s Weeville, is reason to rejoice.

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Jeff Mangum, Guided By Voices, Will Oldham join Chris Knox tribute

I’ve just learned via Pitchfork that Chris Knox, of lo-fi New Zealand oddballs Tall Dwarfs, suffered a stroke last month and is currently recuperating at home. “It looks like it could be a long recovery process, but Chris is still Chris,” writes a friend in a statement posted online. On the bright side, that same statement says that a tribute album titled Stroke is already in the works, with covers of Knox’s tunes by artists including Jeff Mangum, Will Oldham, Guided By Voices, Yo La Tengo, Lou Barlow, the Mountain Goats, Bill Callahan, and Jay Reatard.

That’s a pretty awesome list. But the name that’s really jumping out for me is that of Jeff Mangum, the intensely private genius behind Neutral Milk Hotel. It’s no secret that Mangum is a friend of Knox’s: One of his rare public performances since NMH went on hiatus ten years ago was a 2001 gig with Knox in Auckland under the name World of Wild Beards Incorporated. You can hear a great live recording of Knox and Mangum covering John Lennon’s “Mother” at that show below. (Side note: I saw these two share a bill four years later when Tall Dwarfs opened for the reunited Olivia Tremor Control, who featured guest vocals from Mangum. During the Dwarfs’ set, Knox raced through the audience and inadvertently shouldered me in the ribs. This did not hinder my enjoyment of the show in the slightest.)

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