When a narrow subculture gets noticed and transcended into the mainstream, things always get lost. Much like a move between apartments, one cannot always keep track of their most important and influential pieces. When the subculture becomes a dominant culture, it’s progenitors are sometimes forgotten, much to the risk of the unknowing audience.
Neutral Milk Hotel, lead by Jeff Mangum, has gone on to influence important bands and artists such as the acclaimed New Jersey punks Titus Andronicus, Scottish heartbroken folkies Frightened Rabbit, Atlanta's Manchester Orchestra, Long Island’s Brand New and NMH’s arguable contemporary of 90s indie music, The Mountain Goats. Neutral Milk Hotel's music has influenced other bands across genres, unintentionally creating loose blueprints for music in the new millennium.
After drumming for Synthetic Flying Machine, Jeff Mangum left for an intensive year of songwriting. Mangum, and consequently Mangum’s first album, On Avery Island was released in 1996. The band later gained near-universal acclaim for their important and enigmatic sophomore album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. The music industry and cultures have undergone countless important moves, shifts and changes since the height of Neutral Milk Hotel.
After the success of Neutral Milk Hotel, Mangum, almost as if in Morrissey fashion, has largely stayed out of the public eye. In the following of Aeroplane, Mangum contributed to indie supergroup Major Organ and the Adding Machine, along with other members of Neutral Milk Hotel, Olivia Tremor Control, and indie torch-takers Of Montreal.
More recently, Mangum played several songs for Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York City’s Zuccotti Park. Late last year, Mangum announced his 2013 tour dates, including his upcoming stop in Orlando’s The Social. As an alternative rock artist that gained initial popularity and support of the music scene in Athens, Georgia, Mangum’s Neutral Milk Hotel were one of many important and ephemeral flag-bearers for the case of modern college music, and for furthering the craft of indie music in general. Sometimes the best part of a move can be unpacking old favorites, or re-discovering new ones.