Neutral Milk Hotel: The Collected Works of Neutral Milk Hotel (Merge) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Neutral Milk Hotel

The Collected Works of Neutral Milk Hotel


Apr 03, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Marking the 25th anniversary of the release of the acclaimed 1998 album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, the box set The Collected Works of Neutral Milk Hotel offers listeners a fully immersive Neutral Milk Hotel experience that would be rivaled only by having seen them live.

Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Jeff Mangum self-released a limited-edition box set in 2011 on Neutral Milk Hotel Records of the band’s recorded output, and The Collected Works expands on the out-of-print collection that was originally available only through the band’s online store. At the center of this all-vinyl set are the band’s sole two studio albums, 1996’s On Avery Island and ’98’s Aeroplane, and a fresh spin through both shows how largely intact the Neutral Milk Hotel musical vision remained throughout. Alongside the albums are two 10-inch EPs, “Ferris Wheel On Fire” and “Everything Is.” There are also three 7-inch records: “Little Birds,” with a previously unreleased live take on “Little Birds” as its A-side, “You’ve Passed,” and “Holland,” plus an exclusive 12-inch picture disc of Live at Jittery Joe’s, the live album recorded in 1997 that was first released in 2001, along with two posters and a postcard.

Considering the strength of Mangum’s songwriting and their performances in the progression from the engaging On Avery Island to Aeroplane, with the latter’s riveting tracks that include the two “King of Carrot Flowers” songs, “Two-Headed Boy,” and the mad ride of “Holland, 1945,” the treasures collected here offer a comprehensive source for Neutral Milk Hotel’s recordings in place of the void left after they disbanded in 1998, as well as a second opportunity for those who missed the original set. It’s a catalog of music that still sounds as fascinating, moving, sometimes surreal, and original as ever, decades after its release. (

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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