NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL – 2 live sets (1997-98)
Another no-brainer, cheap although I’m at a loss to explain why I haven’t posted these ages ago. They’ve been sitting in my files for at least a few years — although, physiotherapy when I first heard them, I reacted kinda negatively to them, gotta admit.
Neutral Milk Hotel’s “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” and “On Avery Island” LPs were so essential to me when I first started college, that I get a little misty-eyed just thinking about them to this day. Unless you flat out don’t care for Jeff Mangum’s voice or aren’t into the turn-of-the-20th-century bent of the subject matter, then it’s near-impossible not to get caught up in Mangum’s brand of aural spectacle.
I missed what I believe was my one chance in 1998 to see Neutral Milk Hotel live in Los Angeles, because I wasn’t yet 21 when they played the now-famous 21+ venue Spaceland, in Silver Lake. These recordings are the only thing I have to approximate what that would’ve been like — and if these recordings are any indication, I may have been disappointed. Mangum’s vocals occasionally wander waaaay off-key here, in contrast to the pure tones he was able to nail on the album versions. But, these are still relevant to have as historical documents.