Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Other Side of Neutral Milk Hotel

Most serious indie music fans know about Neutral Milk Hotel. But the album that gets the most play is In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, their second album released in '98. And don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on Aeroplane, in fact it's in my top five albums of all time (and a lot of days it's #1). But their debut album, On Avery Island, is oft neglected as less than good. Well, I am here to say that it is most certainly more than good, and at times has moments even Aeroplane isn't capable of. It's all fun and games, however, until someone pulls out the final track, "Pree Sisters Swallowing a Donkey's Eye." Considered unlistenable by most people, it is the insanely epicly bizarre closer, and the most obvious difference between Avery and Aeroplane. I can still remember clutching my ears in disgust my first listen. And yet, as time passed, Mangum and his band of ruffians managed to do the impossible, turning me into a believer, and swearing by the song. I remember eagerly telling my blogmates how good it was, only to have it rejected as trash. And I couldn't blame them, remembering that feeling myself. There's something about this song that you simply can't express in words. It's an instrumental symphony as violent and abrasive as music can possible come, and serves as a litmus test for those who calls themselves true fans of NMH. Nah, not really, you can still be a fan without liking it.

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