Neutral Milk Hotel

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Neutral Milk Hotel
The band onstage
Neutral Milk Hotel performing in 2014
Background information
OriginRuston, Louisiana, U.S.
Genres
Years active
  • 1989–1998
  • 2013–2015
Labels
Past members
Websitewalkingwallofwords.com

Neutral Milk Hotel was an American band formed in Ruston, Louisiana, by musician Jeff Mangum. They were active from 1989 to 1998, and again from 2013 to 2015. The band's music featured a deliberately low-quality sound, influenced by indie rock and psychedelic folk. Mangum wrote surreal and opaque lyrics that covered a wide range of topics, including love, spirituality, nostalgia, sex, and loneliness. He and the other band members played a variety of instruments, including non-traditional rock instruments like the singing saw, uilleann pipes, and Digital Horn.

Neutral Milk Hotel began as one of Mangum's home recording projects. In 1994, he released the song "Everything Is" on Cher Doll Records. The song's exposure convinced him to record more music under this name. In 1996, he worked with childhood friend Robert Schneider to record the album On Avery Island, which received modest reviews and sold around 5,000 copies. Mangum recruited musicians Julian Koster, Jeremy Barnes, and Scott Spillane for the band's second album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. Its 1998 release received mostly positive but not laudatory reviews.

While on tour, the band's popularity grew through Internet exposure. This had a negative effect on Mangum, whose mental health began to deteriorate. He did not want to continue touring and Neutral Milk Hotel went on hiatus shortly after. During the hiatus, Neutral Milk Hotel gained a cult following and the critical standing of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea rose tremendously. Several music outlets such as Pitchfork and Blender called In the Aeroplane Over the Sea a landmark album for indie rock and one of the greatest albums of the 1990s. Many indie rock groups such as Arcade Fire and the Decemberists were influenced by Neutral Milk Hotel's eclectic music and earnest lyrics. Neutral Milk Hotel reunited in 2013 and undertook a reunion tour before another hiatus in 2015.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

Neutral Milk Hotel originated in Ruston, Louisiana, in the late 1980s, as one of the many home recording projects of musician Jeff Mangum.[1] The project was initially called Milk, and Mangum made the recordings in high school.[1] Early Milk recordings such as Invent Yourself a Shortcake and Beauty were circulated between Mangum and his friends Robert Schneider, Bill Doss, and Will Cullen Hart.[2] The constant stream of home recording cassette tapes the group made would eventually lead to the formation of a musical collective known as Elephant 6.[3] They were not interested in trying to promote their music to record labels, and instead made the recordings for each other and their classmates.[4] When Mangum learned of another band called Milk, he changed the name of the project to Neutral Milk Hotel, based on a name Hart had suggested.[5]

After graduating from high school, Mangum attended Louisiana Tech University, but dropped out.[6] He moved to Athens, Georgia, and played in a band called Synthetic Flying Machine with Doss and Hart, but left shortly after the band was formed.[7][a] He then became a vagabond, and lived in cities such as Denver, Los Angeles, and Seattle.[9] Mangum occasionally recorded music during this period, including a 1993 demo album titled Hype City Soundtrack.[9] Schneider says Hype City Soundtrack was a reaction to what Mangum believed was the rampant commercialization of music within large cities.[9] While living in Seattle, Mangum overcame his apprehensiveness about the music industry and released the song "Everything Is" on Cher Doll Records.[10] The song's exposure convinced Mangum to record more music under the name Neutral Milk Hotel.[11] According to Mangum: "The single was a godsend because I was pretty much at the end of my rope with just about everything in my life at that point ... I ended up sending a tape to [Nancy Ostrander] at Cher Doll Records and she saved me merely by saying she wanted to do a single."[11]

At the time, Mangum was also a bass guitarist for the Apples in Stereo, a band that Schneider formed while living in Denver.[10] The members of the Apples in Stereo wanted to sign with SpinART Records, and met with their legal representative, Brian McPherson, in Los Angeles.[12] McPherson was drawn to Mangum, who was wearing a Shrimper Records T-shirt.[13] After learning that Mangum wrote "Everything Is", a song that McPherson had previously listened to and enjoyed, the two worked out an agreement for McPherson to become Neutral Milk Hotel's representative.[13] McPherson sent copies of "Everything Is" and another song "Ruby-Bulbs" to Merge Records founders Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan.[13] The two liked the music, and added Neutral Milk Hotel to their roster.[13][b]

On Avery Island and expansion to a quartet[edit]

Photo of a man holding a guitar with a microphone nearby
Jeff Mangum performing with Neutral Milk Hotel in 1997

Mangum moved to Denver to record the first Neutral Milk Hotel album, On Avery Island.[16] Schneider served as the producer, and the recording sessions lasted from February to May 1995.[17] Although Schneider was interested in an expansive Beatlesque production, he aligned with Mangum's preference for a lo-fi sound, admitting that "at first it was frustrating, but I came to enjoy it. That's how I learned to produce, doing that record, because I totally had to let go of what I thought it should be like."[18] On Avery Island was released in the United States on March 26, 1996, by Merge Records, and in the United Kingdom on September 30, 1996, by Fire Records.[19] It sold around 5,000 copies, which Merge considered a success.[20] On Avery Island received positive reviews from critics, who characterized the music as lo-fi pop.[21] Kurt Wolff of the Houston Chronicle described listening to the music as "a trippy experience," and ultimately called the album "a fresh, exciting standout."[22] The British publication NME wrote: "Neutral Milk Hotel can convert miserable-as-sin introspection into folky mantras that bore into your skull like a well-aimed power drill."[23] On Avery Island was ranked at number thirty-five on The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop poll for 1996.[20]

After the release of On Avery Island, Mangum sought other musicians to tour with.[24] While living in Ruston, Mangum befriended New York musician Julian Koster. They exchanged demo tapes, and Koster joined Neutral Milk Hotel as the bassist.[25] Around this period, Koster received a letter from Chicago drummer Jeremy Barnes, who wrote how he was not meeting the expectations he had set for himself.[26] According to Koster: "Jeremy had written me this really wonderful letter, basically saying he was being led into a far different life than I think Jeremy Barnes was supposed to live ... I think he was sensing that his destiny lay elsewhere."[26] The letter resonated with Koster and Mangum, and they traveled to Chicago to meet him. After a short audition, the two persuaded Barnes to drop out of DePaul University and join the band.[26] The final band member came when Mangum was traveling to New York City to live with Koster. On a stop in Austin, Texas, Mangum met former Rustonian musician Scott Spillane, who was working at a pizza shop. Mangum helped make pizzas during the late-night "drunk rush", after which he convinced Spillane to join the band.[27]

The band members moved to New York City, and lived and rehearsed in a house owned by Koster's grandmother.[24] Koster encouraged the band members to play instruments outside their comfort zones.[28] For example, drummer Barnes learned to play the accordion, and Spillane learned how to play the horn parts from On Avery Island, practicing on a two-valve horn for hours every day.[29] On April 28, 1997, Neutral Milk Hotel began a national tour, during which the band members learned to play as a unit.[30] The On Avery Island tour generated enough money for the band members to afford to move to Athens, where a large group of Elephant 6 musicians were living.[31] By the spring of 1997, Mangum had written and demoed nearly every song for a second album. He shared the demos with his bandmates before they moved to Denver to record the album.[32]

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea[edit]

Neutral Milk Hotel's second album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, was produced by Schneider, and was recorded from July to September 1997.[33] Schneider used new recording techniques to capture Mangum's lo-fi preferences.[34] Mangum liked having a layer of distortion over the music, but Schneider did not use standard effects equipment such as Big Muffs or distortion pedals.[35] Instead, Schneider used heavy compression and placed a Bellari RP-220 tube mic pre-amp close to Mangum's guitar. Schneider then ran the sound through a mixing console, and maxed out the sound on a cassette tape.[36] This process was done for nearly every instrument used on In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. Schneider claimed that the nonlinearities of microphone distortion gave the album its unique "warm" quality.[37]

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea was released on February 10, 1998.[38] Merge pressed 5,500 CD and 1,600 vinyl copies, and expected sales to be similar to On Avery Island.[39] These initial projections were correct, as the album sold moderately well for the first few months.[40] Critical responses to In the Aeroplane Over the Sea were mostly positive, but not laudatory.[41] Rob Brunner of Entertainment Weekly praised the unique instrumentation and "bouncy pop melodies", but described some of the songs as "lifeless acoustic warblers."[42] Pitchfork's M. Christian McDermott also commended the music, which he called a blend of "Sgt. Pepper with early 90s lo-fi" that he found "as catchy as it is frightening."[43] A more negative review came from Ben Ratliff of Rolling Stone, who felt the heavy layer of distortion masked the absence of decent melodies.[44] CMJ New Music Monthly ranked In the Aeroplane Over the Sea as the number one album of 1998,[45] and it placed fifteenth in the Pazz & Jop poll for 1998.[46]

To promote the album, Neutral Milk Hotel embarked on a tour of North America and Europe.[47] Musicians John Fernandes and Will Westbrook were brought on as touring members, and were taught how to play the horn parts with Spillane.[48] While on tour, Neutral Milk Hotel gained a reputation for chaotic and physically demanding concerts. Great Lakes member Ben Crum recalled: "It was definitely dangerous. There often seemed to be a very real chance that someone, probably Julian, would get hurt. Jeff was always doing things like picking him up and throwing him into the drums."[49] The band members often could not afford lodgings, and sometimes asked people in the audience if they could spend the night at their house, not realizing the homeowner was in fact terrified of them.[50]

Hiatus and cult following[edit]

Some journalists have noted the release of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea coincided with the rise of the Internet.[51] The album, and by extension Neutral Milk Hotel, became common fixtures on online message boards, and early music websites like Pitchfork gave the band an increased level of promotion.[52] Their newfound high profile had a negative effect on Mangum, and his mental health began to deteriorate.[53] He constantly told his bandmates that he wanted to quit, but never explained why.[54] Some journalists have speculated he became tired of touring and constantly explaining his lyrics to fans; Elephant 6 biographer Adam Clair believes he may have been overwhelmed by the way fans viewed his music, and the high expectations placed upon any subsequent recordings.[55] Regardless of the reason, Mangum came to the conclusion that he could not continue performing, and instead wanted to disappear from the public eye.[53] Instead of telling the other band members of his decision, he simply avoided the topic of new music altogether. This led to the unofficial breakup of Neutral Milk Hotel shortly after the tour.[56] The final Neutral Milk Hotel live performance occurred on October 13, 1998, in London.[57]

During the hiatus, Mangum occasionally worked on some projects, but nothing was widely publicized.[58] When asked about a third Neutral Milk Hotel album in a 2002 interview, Mangum said: "I don't know. It would be nice, but sometimes I kind of doubt it."[59] Although Neutral Milk Hotel did not officially break up, the other band members worked on music with other Elephant 6 bands such as Bablicon, the Gerbils, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, and the Music Tapes.[60] Koster notes how he and the other band members initially thought the hiatus would be a short break to focus on their other musical projects. Koster recounted: "The fact that Neutral Milk wasn't doing something just felt natural, because so much else was happening, and we had just done so much. It didn’t feel unusual at all. I suspected nothing."[61]

Fans of Neutral Milk Hotel were not told why the band went on hiatus. Some were angry, and accused Mangum of being selfish, and others wrote hoax blog posts giving fake details of upcoming tours and other false information.[53] The speculation and online discussions raised the profile of the band, to the point that Neutral Milk Hotel and, in particular, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea gained a cult following and converted Mangum into a larger-than-life figure.[41] In 2003, Creative Loafing writer Kevin Griffis dedicated an entire cover story to trying to track down Mangum for personal closure. The search ended when Mangum sent him an email that read: "I'm not an idea. I am a person, who obviously wants to be left alone."[62] Journalist Mark Richardson attempted to explain In the Aeroplane Over the Sea's rise in popularity: "Because [Mangum] was inaccessible, there was no outlet for connection other than the record itself and other fans who shared a passion. By doing nothing, Neutral Milk Hotel developed a cult."[63]

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea's critical standing rose tremendously in the years after its release, which journalist Luke Winkie attributes to the cult following.[41] Domino Recording Company released a reissue in 2005, which was awarded a perfect 10/10 score by Mark Richardson of Pitchfork.[64] Richardson wrote: "It's a record of images, associations, and threads; no single word describes it so well as the beautiful and overused kaleidoscope."[64] Other music outlets such as AllMusic and the Encyclopedia of Popular Music also gave the album perfect scores.[65] In the Aeroplane Over the Sea's sales figures increased during the 2000s, with an estimated 140,000 copies sold by 2005.[58] Polygon writer Garrett Martin noted how fans of the album were "incredibly passionate", recording covers for YouTube, writing poetry, and forming tribute bands.[66] Martin said: "The fanbase might be relatively small, but it's fervent."[66]

Reunion[edit]

Photo of a man holding a guitar with a microphone nearby
Jeff Mangum performing on the Neutral Milk Hotel reunion tour in 2014

Mangum resurfaced in 2008 with a few solo shows, before embarking on full solo tours in 2011 and 2012.[67] During this time, Mangum curated a box set of Neutral Milk Hotel material, which included an extended play of unreleased songs titled Ferris Wheel on Fire.[68] As Mangum was active again within the music industry, rumors began spreading among fans and music outlets of a potential Neutral Milk Hotel reunion.[69]

On April 29, 2013, Neutral Milk Hotel officially announced a reunion tour with all four members of the band.[70] In an interview with Orlando Weekly, Schneider said: "[The hiatus] certainly wasn't purposeful, and I'm not sure [Mangum] even realized he was being a recluse until it was overwhelmingly the case that everyone was talking about it. I've known for seven years that he was going to start touring. I didn't know if he was going to actually start doing it, but I knew in my heart that he was working toward it."[71] Neutral Milk Hotel toured from 2013 to 2015.[72] In a 2014 post on the Neutral Milk Hotel website, the band members wrote how their 2015 tour would be their last tour for the "foreseeable future", and that they were going to take an extended hiatus.[72] The post stated: "Dear friends we love you but it's time to say goodbye for the never ending now."[72]

Artistry[edit]

Music[edit]

Neutral Milk Hotel is known for its experimental sound,[73] which has been described as a mixture of indie rock and psychedelic folk, with lo-fi production.[74] Critics have noted many other musical influences, including Eastern European choral music, Canterbury Sound, circus music, marching band music, musique concrète, drone music, free jazz, and Tropicália.[75] Neutral Milk Hotel songs typically involved simple chord progressions that Mangum would strum on an acoustic guitar.[76] Often as the song progressed, more instruments would be introduced.[77] The band members played a wide range of instruments; on In the Aeroplane Over the Sea for example, conventional instruments like drums and distorted guitars were paired with unique instruments like the singing saw, uilleann pipes, and Digital Horn.[78][c]

Neutral Milk Hotel's early recordings, before On Avery Island, featured much distortion and are considered rough.[80] Mark Richardson of Pitchfork believes Mangum's songwriting was undeveloped, and described the 1994 song "Ruby Bulbs" as "raw and noisy and shouty and reflects Mangum's interest in aggro punk, an influence that didn't otherwise surface on his records."[68] On Avery Island represented a move toward greater musical cohesion, and more experimentation.[81] Critic Sasha Geffen said: "The album veers wildly between the accessible and the inscrutable ... the abrupt transitions between perfect pop melodies and gaseous balls of noise lend the album a certain wildfire charm."[81] The most experimental song on the album is the final track "Pree-Sisters Swallowing a Donkey's Eye," a thirteen-minute drone track influenced by gamelan and noise music.[82]

Many critics believe In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is Neutral Milk Hotel's best and most fully developed release.[83] By this point, Neutral Milk Hotel had four members as opposed to just Mangum, which allowed for a more complex and organic sound.[84] Jason Ankeny of AllMusic notes In the Aeroplane Over the Sea emphasizes structure and texture, and that tracks seamlessly segue into one another.[85] The overall sound of the album sometimes abruptly shifts from track to track.[86] Rolling Stone notes the range of musical styles present on the album, such as funeral marches and punk rock.[84] Critic Chris DeVille offers similar commentary, writing: "On the musical axis, Neutral Milk Hotel veered from piercingly intimate psychedelic campfire sing-alongs to full-band segments that barreled ahead with haphazard grace."[38]

Lyrics[edit]

Mangum served as the lyricist for Neutral Milk Hotel.[87] Critic Jim DeRogatis describes Mangum's lyrics as surreal and opaque, and that they feature a stream of consciousness style of songwriting.[88] The lyrics would often include references to seemingly unrelated subject matter.[89] Biographer Kim Cooper cites the song "King of Carrot Flowers, Pt.1" as an example of this style of songwriting; although the lyrics are about childhood fantasies, there are references to sexual awakenings, domestic violence, religious fanaticism, and tarot card readings.[90] DeRogatis likened Mangum's lyricism to "Dr. Seuss illustrating William S. Burroughs, or perhaps Sigmund Freud collaborating on lyrics with Syd Barrett."[91]

According to Mangum, many of his lyrics stem from his subconscious, saying: "Some of it I don't understand, I don't know what it is, but it sounds real nice."[89] Another source of inspiration were the visions, lucid dreams, and night terrors Mangum would have.[92] Mangum would sometimes have full conversations between himself and Schneider while sleepwalking.[93] After coming up with an idea for a song, Mangum would start writing "word bridges," which are small connecting ideas that would bridge the seemingly unrelated lyrics.[87] Mangum cites the song "Two-Headed Boy" as an example, as each verse was written separately from each other over a long period of time, and he used the "word bridges" to connect the verses.[87]

Neutral Milk Hotel songs explore many lyrical themes, including love, spirituality, nostalgia, sex, and loneliness.[94] DeRogatis describes Mangum's lyrics as a depiction of id, a personality component related to intrinsic desires.[91] Mangum's lyrics can also be seen as a reaction to events that have happened in his life. For example, "Song Against Sex" was written as a reaction to the use of sex as a source of power in a relationship.[95] A central lyrical topic in In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is the life of Anne Frank, a teenage girl who died in a Nazi concentration camp.[38] Tracks such as "Holland, 1945" and "Ghost" incorporate elements of Frank's life into the lyrics. As a result, some listeners have described In the Aeroplane Over the Sea as a concept album.[96] Anwen Crawford of The Monthly disagrees with this assertion, writing: "It would be overly literal, though, to describe In the Aeroplane Over the Sea as an album about the Holocaust, for Frank is only one of many phantasms to populate a set of looping, interlinked narratives that proceed with the closed logic of a dream or a religious vision."[97]

Live performances[edit]

That band was never, in any way, what you would call tight or polished. They were like, if you took a carnival, and you played it on an AM radio, and then you stuck it in a bucket with a microphone and recorded it, and then took that recording and played it on a Victrola, and then rolled it down the stairs, and there's someone there to catch it – that's a Neutral Milk Hotel show.

Robert Schneider[24]

Neutral Milk Hotel's live performances often featured the four main band members and several other musicians.[98] For example, the reunion tour featured backing musicians Laura Carter, Jeremy Thal, and Mangum's wife Astra Taylor.[99] Almost every musician on stage would play multiple instruments, and switch instruments between songs.[99] Neutral Milk Hotel shows typically lasted between forty-five and ninety minutes.[48] The equipment used onstage was cheap and of poor quality, although for the reunion tour more expensive equipment was used.[100]

Early Neutral Milk Hotel shows were chaotic and disorganized. Butterglory toured with Neutral Milk Hotel in 1996, and member Matt Suggs recalled: "Mangum & Co were confused and disorganized and lovable."[24] In these early performances, band members would wrestle and tickle each other on stage.[24] During the In the Aeroplane Over the Sea tour, the audio technicians for most venues were confused and did not know what to expect. As a result, Carter took on the unusual role of "mix-board translator". According to Carter: "It was more like talking them through what was about to happen, because so much was happening onstage that without someone helping, it was a wail or squeal and the soundman would look at twenty instruments onstage and not know what to dive for."[101]

Legacy[edit]

When Neutral Milk Hotel disbanded in 1998, the subsequent cult following propelled the band into a new level of stardom, which led many fans and journalists to call Neutral Milk Hotel an important indie rock band.[102] Much of Neutral Milk Hotel's legacy is derived from In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,[103] which reached sales of roughly 400,000 by 2013.[104] Music outlets such as Pitchfork and Blender have ranked it as one of the greatest indie rock albums of all time, as well as one of the best albums of the 1990s.[105] Richardson noted that In the Aeroplane Over the Sea has become ingrained in the indie rock canon, and consistently attracts new listeners.[63] Chris Morgan of Uproxx wrote: "In short, people share a very deep passion for Neutral Milk Hotel's highly lauded sophomore album ... Lots of albums are loved, but few seem to impact people so much, and so singularly."[106] Some critics have discussed how other recordings of the band, such as On Avery Island, are often overlooked by fans due to the popularity of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.[107]

Part of Neutral Milk Hotel's legacy is also drawn from the general mystique surrounding Mangum.[108] Elephant 6 biographer Adam Clair notes that Mangum's unexplained absence made him more notable than when he was an active member of the music industry.[109] He actively avoided giving interviews, and as a result, music publications began to write clickbait-esque articles in which they would attempt to explain his disappearance with little to no substantive evidence.[110] Even after Mangum resurfaced in 2008, music publications continued publishing detailed reports on his life.[62] Neutral Milk Hotel's legal representative Brian McPherson said: "When the guy sneezes it's on the front page of Pitchfork."[62]

Neutral Milk Hotel has influenced many indie rock bands.[38] According to Miles Raymer of Esquire, the band's cacophonous sound and earnest lyrics were in direct contrast to the underground music scene in the 1990s.[111] While many groups focused on the theme of detached irony, Neutral Milk Hotel's abrasive and overtly emotional lyrics struck a chord with social outcasts.[112] Groups influenced by Neutral Milk Hotel include Arcade Fire and the Decemberists, both of whom create psychedelic-folk inspired music with non-traditional instruments.[112] Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler said that Neutral Milk Hotel's association with Merge Records was a contributing factor to their signing with Merge Records.[113] Neutral Milk Hotel also influenced bands like AJJ,[114] Beirut, Bright Eyes, The Lumineers,[115] Okkervil River,[38] and Pwr Bttm,[116] as well as artists like Melanie Martinez[117] and Amanda Palmer.[118]

Members[edit]

  • Jeff Mangum – guitars, lead vocals, keyboards, bass guitar (studio only), drums (early) (1989–1998, 2013–2015)[119]
  • Julian Koster – bass guitar, accordion, musical saw, bowed banjo, keyboards, organ (1996–1998, 2013–2015)[33]
  • Scott Spillane – trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone, euphonium, guitar, horn arrangements (1996–1998, 2013–2015)[33]
  • Jeremy Barnes – drums, piano, organ (1996–1998, 2013–2015)[33]

Timeline

Discography[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Doss and Hart would change the name of the band from Synthetic Flying Machine to the Olivia Tremor Control after Mangum left.[8]
  2. ^ Neutral Milk Hotel did not sign a recording contract with Merge, as the label operated on a "handshake basis."[14] When a band was added to Merge's roster, the two parties would split profits in exchange for promotion from the label.[15]
  3. ^ The album's liner notes refer to the Digital Horn as a "zanzithophone".[79]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Clair 2022, Chapter 3 (Search phrase "Jeff recorded in Ruston under the name Milk, etching the name into the plastic of the cassettes he made for friends").
  2. ^ Clair 2022, Chapter 3 (Search phrase "They started making twenty-minute tapes for their friends"); Cooper 2005, p. 9.
  3. ^ Cooper 2005, p. 8–9.
  4. ^ Ballance, Cook & McCaughan 2009, p. 94.
  5. ^ Clair 2022, Chapter 7 (Search phrase "And Will named Neutral Milk Hotel"); Cooper 2005, p. 9.
  6. ^ Clair 2022, Chapter 3 (Search phrase "Jeff dropped out of Louisiana Tech after a couple of years").
  7. ^ Clair 2022, Chapter 7 (Search phrase "As a trio, they performed as Synthetic Flying Machine").
  8. ^ Clair 2022, Chapter 7 (Search phrase "Even with Jeff off to Seattle again, Will and Bill wanted to stick with what they had started").
  9. ^ a b c Ballance, Cook & McCaughan 2009, p. 95.
  10. ^ a b Ballance, Cook & McCaughan 2009, p. 96.
  11. ^ a b McMullen 1996.
  12. ^ Ballance, Cook & McCaughan 2009, p. 97; Gage 2011.
  13. ^ a b c d Gage 2011.
  14. ^ Caney 2009.
  15. ^ Ballance, Cook & McCaughan 2009, p. 52.
  16. ^ Ballance, Cook & McCaughan 2009, p. 97.
  17. ^ Anon. 1996a.
  18. ^ Cooper 2005, p. 26.
  19. ^ Anon. 1996b, p. 56; Anon. n.d..
  20. ^ a b Cooper 2005, p. 37.
  21. ^ Cooper 2005, p. 37; Goldsmith n.d.; Wolff 1996.
  22. ^ Wolff 1996.
  23. ^ Goldsmith n.d.
  24. ^ a b c d e Ballance, Cook & McCaughan 2009, p. 98.
  25. ^ Cooper 2005, p. 28.
  26. ^ a b c Cooper 2005, p. 29.
  27. ^ Cooper 2005, p. 31.
  28. ^ Cooper 2005, p. 33.
  29. ^ Cooper 2005, pp. 33–34.
  30. ^ Clair 2022, Chapter 11 (Search phrase "The first Neutral Milk Hotel gig with this lineup took place at Brownies, a skinny, sweltering little bar in the East Village, on April 28, 1997").
  31. ^ Ballance, Cook & McCaughan 2009, p. 99.
  32. ^ Cooper 2005, p. 52.
  33. ^ a b c d Anon. 1998.
  34. ^ Cooper 2005, pp. 56–57.
  35. ^ Cooper 2005, pp. 57–58.
  36. ^ Cooper 2005, p. 58.
  37. ^ Cooper 2005, p. 57.
  38. ^ a b c d e DeVille 2018.
  39. ^ Ballance, Cook & McCaughan 2009, p. 100; McGoven 2013.
  40. ^ Ballance, Cook & McCaughan 2009, p. 100.
  41. ^ a b c Winkie 2016.
  42. ^ Brunner 1998.
  43. ^ McDermott n.d.
  44. ^ Ratliff 1998.
  45. ^ Anon. 1999a, p. 3.
  46. ^ Anon. 1999b.
  47. ^ Cooper 2005, p. 85–87.
  48. ^ a b Cooper 2005, p. 85.
  49. ^ Cooper 2005, p. 84.
  50. ^ Cooper 2005, pp. 84–85.
  51. ^ Milton 2016; Winkie 2016.
  52. ^ Milton 2016.
  53. ^ a b c Clark 2008.
  54. ^ Clair 2022, Chapter 17 (Search phrase "Jeff was constantly talking about dropping out").
  55. ^ Clair 2022, Chapters 19 (Search phrase "He rejects the idea that it had anything to do with pressure from the success of Aeroplane or the increased attention he was receiving") and 32 (Search phrase "He may have also been a victim of his own success").
  56. ^ Cooper 2005, p. 98.
  57. ^ Clair 2022, Chapter 1 (Search phrase "The last true Neutral Milk Hotel show of 1998 was on October 13, in London").
  58. ^ a b Cooper 2005, p. 100.
  59. ^ Fierman 2002.
  60. ^ Brady 2011; Clair 2022, Chapter 1 (Search phrase "His bandmates all pursued other projects they'd started before joining Neutral Milk Hotel").
  61. ^ Clair 2022, Chapter 17 (Search phrase "I was excited about everything because it seemed like a really exciting time)".
  62. ^ a b c Ballance, Cook & McCaughan 2009, p. 104.
  63. ^ a b Richardson 2018.
  64. ^ a b Richardson 2005.
  65. ^ Ankeny n.d.; Larkin 2009.
  66. ^ a b Martin 2013.
  67. ^ Clair 2022, Chapter 30 (Search phrase "Jeff made his return to the stage playing "Engine" at six of the Holiday Surprise shows in October 2008"); Minsker 2013.
  68. ^ a b Richardson 2012.
  69. ^ Brady 2011; Pelly 2012.
  70. ^ Minsker 2013.
  71. ^ Parker 2013.
  72. ^ a b c Goble 2014.
  73. ^ Soloski 2015.
  74. ^ Critics who describe Neutral Milk Hotel as indie rock include: Critics who describe Neutral Milk Hotel as psychedelic folk include: Critic's who have noted Neutral Milk Hotel's lo-fi production:
  75. ^ McGonigal 1998; McGonigal 2008.
  76. ^ Pareles 2014; Zaillian 2015.
  77. ^ Pareles 2014.
  78. ^ Anon. 1998; Sweet 2001, p. 149.
  79. ^ Cooper 2005, p. 66.
  80. ^ McMullen 1996; Richardson 2012.
  81. ^ a b Geffen 2019.
  82. ^ Cooper 2005, pp. 25–26; Richardson 2012.
  83. ^ Critics that have called In the Aeroplane Over the Sea the best and most fully developed Neutral Milk Hotel album include:
  84. ^ a b Sarig n.d.
  85. ^ Ankeny n.d.
  86. ^ Share 1998.
  87. ^ a b c McGonigal 1998.
  88. ^ Ankeny n.d.; DeRogatis 2003, p. 542.
  89. ^ a b Hellweg 1998.
  90. ^ Cooper 2005, pp. 69.
  91. ^ a b DeRogatis 2003, p. 542.
  92. ^ Anon. 2018; McGonigal 1998.
  93. ^ Anon. 2018; Cooper 2005, pp. 40, 55.
  94. ^ Pareles 2014; Richardson 2018.
  95. ^ DeRogatis 2003, p. 541.
  96. ^ Clark 2008; Crawford 2018; Thill 2010.
  97. ^ Crawford 2018.
  98. ^ Cooper 2005, p. 89; Jarnow 2013.
  99. ^ a b Jarnow 2013.
  100. ^ Cooper 2005, p. 88; Jarnow 2013.
  101. ^ Cooper 2005, p. 87–88.
  102. ^ Richardson 2012; Richardson 2018; Winkie 2016.
  103. ^ Cooper 2005, pp. 1–2.
  104. ^ Mass 2013.
  105. ^ Outlets that have ranked In the Aeroplane Over the Sea as one of the greatest indie rock albums of all time include: Outlets that have ranked In the Aeroplane Over the Sea as one of the best albums of the 1990s include:
  106. ^ Morgan 2016.
  107. ^ Morgan 2016; Tenreyro 2021.
  108. ^ DeVille 2018; Winkie 2016.
  109. ^ Clair 2022, Chapter 23 (Search phrase "Jeff's current absence was becoming more notable than his earlier presence").
  110. ^ Clair 2022, Chapter 23 (Search phrase "Generally, publications didn't run a whole lot of substantive pieces about Neutral Milk Hotel").
  111. ^ Raymer 2013.
  112. ^ a b Caldwell 2016; Raymer 2013.
  113. ^ Schreiber 2005, p. 3.
  114. ^ Murphy 2014.
  115. ^ Caldwell 2016.
  116. ^ Lindner 2017.
  117. ^ Connolly 2012, p. 2.
  118. ^ Evans 2012, p. 1, 12.
  119. ^ Anon. 1996a; Anon. 1998.

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