For those of you unfamiliar with the music of Jeff Mangum, he was the musical force behind indie music heroes Neutral Milk Hotel in the 90’s. At the risk of overselling his brilliance, he is literally the closest thing I have ever had to a personal messiah.
After achieving cult icon status after the release of his band’s 1998 masterpiece “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea,” Mangum disappeared and hasn’t recorded a new studio album since. He did however return last fall, performing his song “Engine” on a tour dubbed “The Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour.” I was lucky enough to witness one of these performances and I can say the experience was more orgasmic than every orgasm I have ever had put together.
Well, for those of you seeking such a wondrous musical trip, or just looking to experience a great artist you have never heard before, the people at pitchfork.com, for one week only, are streaming “JeffMangum: Starlit Crypt,” which features a 1997 solo acoustic show Mangum played at “Jittery Joe’s,” a coffee shop in his hometown Athens, Georgia.
If, like me, you are a Mangum mega-fan, this won’t be anything new to you, as the same show could be streamed on the “Live At Jittery Joe’s” CD,” released in 2001. But if you know nothing of Mangum or his work with Neutral Milk Hotel, for the love of God, click here.
The film runs about 45 minutes, but can also be split into individual tracks to meet a more expanded viewing schedule. If you are a Neutral Milk Hotel fan unfamilar with this show, note that it is Mangum by himself, and not the ultra-layed NMH experience you may be accustomed to. It does however offer a more intimate feel to the bands old songs, and he throws in a few originals (including the previously mentioned “Engine,” which may be my favorite song of all time) to keep things fresh.
It will be running for one week on Pitchfork, and I truly cannot give a higher recommendation than I am to this show. Enjoy