Neutral Milk Hotel Tribute at The 5 Spot 

You could say Jeff Mangum is the J.D. Salinger of indie rock. Or perhaps he’s a bit more like Thomas Pynchon, barring Pynchon’s penchant for remaining eternally unphotographed. Point is, Mangum’s now-legendary ’90s outfit Neutral Milk Hotel produced a frustratingly minuscule amount of material — just two studio full-lengths, an EP and a handful of hard-to-come-by demo cassettes, really — all of which ranks among the most influential and critically acclaimed experimental rock of its time. Without overstating it, I can comfortably say that NMH’s ramshackle, Sonic Youth-goes-folk instrumentation, gut-wrenching vocals and powerfully intimate lyrics more adequately depict the human experience than any of Mangum’s Elephant 6 counterparts ever managed to (from The Apples in Stereo to Of Montreal and Olivia Tremor Control). Mangum’s notorious abhorrence for the spotlight has limited his output and public appearances in the past decade, making him the stuff of rock ’n’ roll legend. Replicating songs like “Two-Headed Boy,” “Oh Comely” and “Holland, 1945” is a tall, tall order, and one that true indie-rock audiophiles would never take lightly. James Wallace and the Naked Light, The Blue Steel Tacks, Fairmount Revival and Dusty Lightswitch perform.
Sat., March 20, 9:30 p.m., 2010

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