Neutral Milk Hotel Leader Makes Rare Appearance
Neutral Milk Hotel mastermind Jeff Mangum made his first live appearance in years last night (Aug. 2) in New York, guesting with Olivia Tremor Control during the first of two performances at New York'Neutral Milk Hotel mastermind Jeff Mangum made his first live appearance in years last night (Aug. 2) in New York, guesting with Olivia Tremor Control during the first of two performances at New York's Bowery Ballroom. The artist bounded on stage about an hour into the show to sing "I Have Been Floated," from OTC's 1999 album "Black Foliage: Animation Music." Mangum appeared to be wiping back tears and hugged OTC members at the song's end, which was met with stunned, thunderous applause.
Decked out in a blue button down shirt and green ball cap, Mangum came on stage again during a jubilant encore to handle lead vocals on "Shaving Spiders." At its conclusion, he pulled OTC member Julian Koster to the floor and was then jumped upon by other members.
In the late '90s, members of Olivia Tremor Control and Neutral Milk Hotel were frequent collaborators with each other under the umbrella of the Athens, Ga.-based Elephant 6 collective.
But Mangum has rarely been heard from since the tour in support of Neutral Milk Hotel's 1998 album "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea," a cult classic that has come to be thought of as a touchstone of late '90s indie rock. The set has sold more than 141,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"Aeroplane" is due to be reissued by Domino Records in the U.K., although no specific date has been confirmed. In addition, Fire Records is planning an expanded reissue of Neutral Milk Hotel's 1996 debut, "On Avery Island," with the band's approval.
As for Olivia Tremor Control, its ongoing tour is an outgrowth of a reunion inspired by an appearance earlier this year at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in England. Co-frontman Bill Doss split from the group in 1999; he then released two albums with the group the Sunshine Fix, while remaining OTC members issued a project as Circulatory System.