Sunday, November 05, 2006

Neutral Milk Hotel

In honor of the fantastic folk/psychedelic/acid folk blog Time Has Told Me, I will depart a bit from my normal roots music theme, and do a neo-psych post.

It is incredibly difficult to describe something like Neutral Milk Hotel. "Stereophonic Lo-Fi Fuzz Folk" is probably the most interesting I have seen, typically reviewers don't even try to peg them and will say something like "A marching band on an acid trip". However, these guys made something truly magical, and those who have yet to be introduced to the wonderful (and frustratingly short) world of NMH are really missing out.

It is hard to talk about NMH without first introducing their label, Elephant6. E6 is more family then recording label, and the bands on it are so intertwined, that the borders between them are next to non-existent. Each band is an idea, made up of members of the family who are interested in it. Everyone produces for each other, plays, or does backup vocals on each others albums. Together, the e6 artists have put out the best psychedelia since the movement originally collapsed.

Jeff Mangums (singer/songwriter/acoustic guitar) vocals will probably be what makes it or breaks it for you with this band. Dylan is generally heralded as the greatest musical genius of all time, but people never fail to mention how he should never sing. If you think that is a load of bull, and that dylans voice has more raw emotion, character, and uniqueness then anyone else of comparable fame and success, then you will love Jeff. If, however, you believe the tight harmonies of the Byrds brought dylans songs to life in a way he never could, then you will hate him with a passion, and should probably stop reading now.

This is one of those albums I have listened to over and over again for years. As with most other albums like that, It took me quite awhile to get into it. If you don't like em first shot, give it another listen in a month or so. It will grow on you, and before you know it you will be collecting every little piece of bootleg material that you can find.