NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL share ‘Everything Is’ from The Collected Works boxset – out Feb 24 on Merge

Neutral Milk Hotel
Photo Courtesy of Neutral Milk Hotel

Neutral Milk Hotel will release The Collected Works of Neutral Milk Hotel, the first widespread, comprehensive release of their storied discography, on February 24th via Merge.

Today, they present the newly remastered and expanded “Everything Is” which will appear in the box set on 10” vinyl as the extended EP that Jeff Mangum always envisioned, complete with a few extra songs from the period. “Here We Are (For W. Cullen Hart),” “Unborn,” and “Interlude” are newly added, with “Unborn” coming from a tape that Mangum made for Bill Doss (Olivia Tremor Control) while living in Athens as they traded cassettes like audio letters, filled with songs, field recordings, and conversation. Also released today are early versions of the On Avery Island songs “You’ve Passed” and “Where You’ll Find Me Now,” recorded on four-track by Mangum on his own in 1994 and one of three 7” singles that appear in the box set.

Neutral Milk Hotel

The work has always come together subconsciously for Mangum, even this box. For years, he was collecting images for an art box of sorts – would it be a Joseph Cornell-style assemblage? An experimental board game?

In the end, it became a discography-spanning compendium of his musical universe that still left a few treasures floating around in the musical ether. Next Friday, February 10th, marks the 25th anniversary of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, the breakout that gave voice to the perennial spirit of youthful epiphany, of beginning to see the world clearly, to process and express it — no matter when you encounter them.

If the live recordings, alternate takes, and time stamps of this box set illustrate the process of Neutral Milk Hotel’s world coming into focus, it’s fitting. In a recent conversation, Mangum reflected on a question he’s gotten often: Why didn’t Neutral Milk ever make a video? But, he clarified, the band made millions of videos—all in people’s minds. Everybody has their own Neutral Milk Hotel film in their head. For an artist who took root in the liberating aesthetic of underground tape-trading and DIY punk—whose sense of what music can be was permanently altered by the Minutemen’s non-formulaic structures, by their mix of the political and the impressionistic; who announced, at the start of his catalog, “I’m finally breaking free from fear”—it’s an invitation to hear the music, and then become a part of it.

Listen to ‘Everything Is’ – BELOW:

Xsnoize Author
Mark Millar is the founder of XS Noize and looks after the daily running of the website as well as conducting interviews for the XS Noize Podcast. Mark's favourite album is Achtung Baby by U2.

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