Monday, April 26, 2010

Old School Album of the Day: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

Now, I call this old school because the album was released in 1998. The truth is, however, I only heard it for the first time about 3 weeks ago. This band is called Neutral Milk Hotel and this album is called In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. I just want to say fuck you to everyone on Earth for not telling me about this album for the last 12 years. (This is especially true for Open Bar if he has heard of them before just now. I can't expect Side or LJT to keep me appraised of indie music happenings.) It's a little bit like how no one watched The Wire until the show had actually ended its run, but now that you've seen it you know how the world actually works (incidentally, that post about how The Wire is the greatest show in the history of television is noticeably missing from this blog. Although at this point the entirety of the post might just consist of the sentence "The Wire is the greatest show in the history of television." To be honest, I would write the post, but something inside me really wants to hear what Open Bar has to say about it.)

Anyway, this Neutral Milk Hotel album is genuinely one of the most beautiful records ever released. The lyrics are so strange and interesting and really stand out while at the same time blending in really well to the music. They also make really great use of the trumpet throughout the whole album. I don't know that I've ever really heard the trumpet used in such an interesting way. Especially in rock type music. Relatedly, you can definitely hear how this band would go on to influence Arcade Fire in the following years. Arcade Fire also has some strange instrumentation and ear filling sounds and awkward lyrics that somehow weave into the songs.

But this isn't really like Arcade Fire. Kathy says it reminds her of Bob Dylan. I can see that, although I don't know if I neccessarily agree. It definitely reminds me of Arcade Fire, as mentioned. It's a bit like Radiohead's quieter stuff, but at the same time not really. But it also really kindof stands out on its own. I would suggest that everyone go and download this on iTunes right now. It's that good. (YP, MP, I don't know all this industry jargon. What movie? Open Bar don't ruin it for everyone.)

There are lots of Open Bar shout outs in this post.


Side Bar said...

I'll listen, though I am not sure I trust your taste in music after you tried to keep me from listening to Arcade Fire for all of those years.

The movie is Boogie Nights.

Open Bar said...

I can certainly hear hints of Bob Dylan at the beginning, when it's just those few guitar chords and the guy's kind of nasally vocals. The middle part was Arcade Fire-esque, especially with all very varied instrumentation and seemingly clashing sounds. But then when that creaky-sounding stuff came in, I didn't hear Radiohead so much as an imitation of Radiohead. That sounds bad, but I don't mean it that way. The idea of adding that sound to the mix is Radiohead-esque, but the overall effect is different. Where Radiohead tends to create a more paranoid, creepy feel tinged with longing, this song was sweeter, almost wistful -- but tinged with a bit of creepiness. The trumpets add to this.

Anyway, that review started to feel pretty pretentious partway through. Didn't mean to go all Pitchfork on everyone. Neutral Milk Hotel sounds good. I will now further explore them.

Chuck, did you find these guys via Pandora?

ChuckJerry said...

"Chuck, did you find these guys via Pandora?"

(Possibly) Interesting story: Someone on Facebook (actually, it was Beth Schwartzapfel) referred to some other band as an "inferior version of Neutral Milk Hotel" in a status update. Then I put them into Pandora and then downloaded the album.

ChuckJerry said...

Pretentious towards the middle? The first sentence has the phrase "hints of Bob Dylan".

Open Bar said...

Blow me.