Jeff Mangum; Andrew Rieger, Laura Carter, and Scott Spillane | Athenaeum Theatre | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Jeff Mangum; Andrew Rieger, Laura Carter, and Scott Spillane All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Mon., Feb. 6, 7 p.m. and Tue., Feb. 7, 7 p.m. 2012

Like the Velvet Underground before them, defunct Georgia indie-rock band Neutral Milk Hotel released a handful of albums that had a very small, localized impact upon their initial release but which have since gone on to provide a stylistic and vaguely philosophical blueprint for an untold number of groups around the world. The albums—especially 1998's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea—have influenced the masses threefold. Sonically they've inspired a kitchen-sink approach to instrumentation, no doubt including more than a few actual kitchen sinks; thematically, a slightly skewed, childlike optimism; and sartorially, any number of attempts at looking like an old-fashioned workman. Devotees taking these things to an annoying extreme have become a constant presence in the indie world, a testament to the power of the original music, which was unlike anything anyone else was doing at the time and remains as stirring and gorgeous as ever. Reclusive former NMH leader Jeff Mangum went off the grid following Aeroplane's release, and this is one of his first forays into public performance since then—in some corners the anticipation surrounding his reappearance is downright messianic. —Miles Raymer Andrew Rieger, Laura Carter, and Scott Spillane open.


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