LOST & FOUND: Return Of The King Of Carrot Flowers


INTERNATIONAL TAPES: I felt fortunate to be one of the 100-or-so people to see Jeff Mangum play his intimate set last night, but it was also unfortunate that I got there after the opening band, Forma, who I’ll definitely catch at Tandem this Saturday December 11. Hair a little longer and dressed in signature red flannel, Mangum played a 10 song set of Neutral Milk Hotel songs. The audience sat on the Schoolhouse’s hardwood floor cross-legged, quietly mouthing the words of Mangum’s lecture. Perched beside a music stand with a revolving cast of three acoustic guitars, he constantly traded instruments, sometimes in mid-song while sounding an entrancing, malismatic bleat. It was endearing to see Mangum go from having this powerful, raw, emotional presence while performing, and then between songs, change his composure and become meek and incredibly gracious for the opportunity to perform. It felt like this event was just as special to him as it was to his admirers. MORE

https://i0.wp.com/www.phawker.com/wp-content/uploads/listen.gif?w=790 Jeff Mangum – King of Carrot Flowers, Pts. 1-3

PREVIOUSLY: Of all the bands to come out of the Elephant 6 collective — that loose-knit cross-country cabal of weedy bus-station transcendentalists and grass-stained pranksters — Neutral Milk Hotel was the least beholden to classic psych-rock neutralmilkalbumcover.thumbnail.jpgtemplates, yet somehow managed to evoke and advance them all at once. On 1998’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, Jeff Mangum’s mewling sunshine Superman melodies are colored by bare, ruined choirs of singing saw, fuzz bass, mariachi horns, bowed banjo, accordion, home organ and Salvation Army marching band brass. Produced by the Apples in Stereo’s Robert Schneider, these harrowing, heart-tugging tunes follow Mangum’s fractured yelp, soaring on wax wings toward the sun only to land softly on a surrealistic pillow of sound fashioned out of enough obscure instrumentation to give your average ethnomusicologist a Viagra woody–zanzithophone, euphonium, uilleann pipes and a shortwave radio. Like Jack with his magic beans, Neutral Milk Hotel proved that with little more than a pocketful of seeds and stems, you could grow a beanstalk to heaven. – JONATHAN VALANIA

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