91. Neutral Milk Hotel - ‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’ + The Long Hello

Neutral Milk Hotel - ‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’ + The Long Hello

Ingredients: 3/4 ounce apple brandy, 3/4 ounce St. Germain, 1 dash Angostura bitters, champagne to top, ground nutmeg.

Mixing Instructions: Stir brandy, St. Germain and bitters in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a coupe glass.  Top with champagne and grate nutmeg on top.  

Notes:  It’s hard to know where to start when describing an album like this.  There’s the obvious, the fact that it is considered by many to be one of the greatest indie rock albums of all-time with all the requisite fanfare from critics, cult following and top ten list honors.  There’s the somewhat hazy connection to Anne Frank who’s diaries are said to have served as an emotional catalyst for band leader Jeff Mangum (see “Holland, 1945”).  And then there’s the music itself.  

Like the dreamy, turn-of-the-century album cover inspired by an old European postcard, the band produces a sound that is both fantastical and strangely comforting.  The instrumentals border on circus-like, complete with organ, accordion, brass instruments, pipes, white noise…memories and images called forth through Mangum’s songwriting fly fearlessly through the air like trapeze artists.  It takes the listener to a place they feel like they’ve been one time, maybe as a child.  And yet when the album cuts there’s the eerie realization that no place like that on earth exists.  

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