For a certain slice of indie-rock fandom, Neutral Milk Hotel’s landmark 1998 album In The Aeroplane Over The Sea remains a musical and emotional Holy Grail. It was certainly a high-water mark for singer-songwriter Jeff Mangum, who crafted a dense, complex album (inspired by the life of Anne Frank, no less) that both defined and surpassed the twee psychadelia of the much-lauded Elephant Six musical collective. That Mangum dropped out of the public eye just as Aeroplane was being embraced further cemented the album’s iconic standing, and established Mangum as indie’s great, untouchable recluse.
But around 2011, Mangum decided to put his “indie-rock Salinger” bit to rest, come out of the woodwork, and start playing old Neutral Milk Hotel music again. He even stopped by the Pabst Theater in early 2012 for a show that left diehards and casual fans alike in a state of rapture. Now, three years later, the since-reunited band—Mangum, Scott Spillane, Julian Koster, and Jeremy Barnes—will come to town for its first Milwaukee show ever. (According to the band’s management, it will also be “the last NMH tour for the foreseeable future.”)
Neutral Milk Hotel will play the Riverside Theater Friday, April 24. General admission tickets are $35.50, and go on sale Friday, December 12 at noon. There will be a strict four-ticket limit per person, and $1 from each ticket sold will be donated to Children of the Blue Sky. Similar to the 2012 Mangum solo show, no photography or video recording (including cell phones) will be allowed, so expect an elaborate wood-carved picture of some seagulls or whatever instead of a band photo when it comes time for our review.