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On Avery Island


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Music

Image of album by Neutral Milk Hotel

Photos

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Biography

Like many of its Elephant 6 counterparts (Olivia Tremor Control, Apples In Stereo), Neutral Milk Hotel has its origins in the small town of Ruston, LA. The Elephant 6 Collective was formed there by a group of childhood friends who shared a love for music that no one else in Ruston seemed to know (much less care) about. The intervening years have seen the members of that core group spread ... Read more in Amazon's Neutral Milk Hotel Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (13 April 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Fire Records
  • ASIN: B000WGY346
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 213,998 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Song Against Sex
2. You've Passed
3. Someone Is Waiting
4. A Baby for Pree
5. Marching Theme
6. Where You'll Find Me Now
7. Avery Island/April 1st
8. GardenHead (Leave Me Alone)
9. Three Peaches
10. Naomi
11. April 8th
12. Pree-Sisters Swallowing A Donkey's Eye
13. Everything Is
14. Snow Song Pt.1

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Dec 2004
Format: Audio CD
I'm not the type to spend my time writing reviews, but seeing the paucity of reviews on this album, I was compelled to rave for a minute. Neutral Milk Hotel is an amazing phenomenon. Many bands do a fine job of walking the line between sounding accidentally incredible and getting lost in a sea of sound. But NMH stands alone in the ability to seamlessly integrate the full spectrum of SOUND with subtle, desperate lyrics. This album and The Aeroplane Over The Sea are both excellent. Avery Island is a bit more accessible, with more distortion and a fuller sound. Aeroplane has more acoustic guitar and a starkly real sound. If you're turned off by off-key singing, you will likely be a bit jarred at first, but don't be fooled: every slight crack in Jeff's voice is carefully placed. You owe it to yourself to give this a very serious listen: it is rare in music these days to find something so innovative but still so beautiful. Buy it if you like other Elephant6 bands (Apples In Stereo, Elf Power, Beulah, Olivia Tremor Control, etc), Modest Mouse, Pavement/Malkmus, etc. Buy it!!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By NMH Convert on 19 Dec 2003
Format: Audio CD
I was drawn to NMH after accidentally stumbling across files on the Internet from their 2nd album, In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. Having listened and loved the aforementioned, they fast became my favoutite band. I began to seek the back-catalogue, which is basically this CD and the 'Everything Is' single, although Jeff Mangum has done some solo recording too. Anyway, THIS ALBUM IS FANTASTIC. BUY IT. It took me a good few listens to really appreciate its simultaeneous intricacy and rawness of feeling, but once you get over the odd sounds and death-rant suicide lyrics, you'll find what's possibly the best album, ever recorded, ever. EVEN better than 'In An Aeroplane Over The Sea'. And that's Saying Something. Buy!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Aug 2000
Format: Audio CD
I don't know how or why I bought this record by a band which in England at least remains more obscure than aether, but it truly is a magical experience. The opening track 'Song Against Sex' steals the show with oblique suicide lyrics sung to a rockabilly beat unlike anything you've heard before. The CD is worth it just for that - similar to Holland, 1945 on their following LP or Summer Babe by Pavement as music that saves. The album overall is patchy but shows flashes of genuis that marks Neutral Milk Hotel out as the possible saviours of Lo-Fi rock.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan James Romley on 8 Mar 2006
Format: Audio CD
As a result of the expansive greatness of the second Neutral Milk Hotel album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, which recounts the life of Anne Frank against a kaleidoscopic backdrop of bizarre characters and heartfelt (yet childlike) imagery in a way that is both interesting (in a conceptual sense) and emotionally effecting, On Avery Island will always be somewhat disregarded as the clumsier, less expansive footnote, that simply worked as a necessary building block to Mangum's grand opus. Although some of these factors are true, On Avery Island remains a fascinating album in it's own right, once again blurring a fragmented and fractured narrative against a musical backdrop of fuzzy bass lines, clamouring drums, electronic noise, acoustic guitars (run through amplifies and shot with distortion), and the early use of horns that would become more pronounced after the arrival of Scott Spilane and the rest of the core Neutral Milk Hotel line-up during this album's subsequent tour.
On Avery Island, like In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, was recorded over a long period of time by Jeff Mangum and Elephant 6 guru Robert Schneider on a four track recorder, with the duo playing most of the instruments themselves, with a few friends from fellow Elephant 6 bands the Apples in Stereo and The Olivia Tremor Control offering further assistance. As a result, the album is more singular and intimate in sound than the aforementioned masterpiece to follow, with the continuing use of fuzzy guitars, drums, bass and various electronic touches developing a completely different sound to Aeroplane's more acoustic fuzz-folk doodlings. For those familiar with the second album, the sound of On Avery Island is most similar to tracks like The King of Carrot Flowers pt.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mike J. Wheeler on 6 Feb 2007
Format: Audio CD
Last year I discovered Neutral Milk Hotel, although sadly they are now defunct due to Jeff Mangum's sad, self-imposed exile from music making. I was utterly taken aback from the first play of "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea". Here was an album that defied description, defied genre and was without doubt one of the greatest pieces of work I've ever heard. I didn't dare listen out for anything else by Jeff Mangum - surely nothing could live up to the staggering brilliance of "In The Aeroplane" or could it? Eventually I took the plunge to find out whether or not he was a one album man. I ordered "On Avery Island" from Amazon at full list price. I waited.....I waited....I waited some more. Finally, I got an e-mail from Amazon saying they were unable to supply this album. So....I went for the Amazon marketplace option (Caiman if you want to know - and cheaper). In the end this has been flown to me across the Atlantic. Does it travel? You bet it does!

This is outstanding, absolutely outstanding! Its about as close as could be to matching "In The Aeroplane" without actually doing it. As a first album this shows the genius that was to come in his better known release (sad he really isn't more widely known).

The tone is Lo-Fi as was "In The Aeroplane". If anything "On Avery Island" has even more of the home made style that makes "In The Aeroplane" so staggeringly good. It's got the same slightly out of tune singing that Mangum is noted for, the same brass accompaniment that never gets in the way of a great rock record, the same variation in pace betwen tracks, and the same obscure but intriguing lyrics.

The opener "Song Against Sex" is a stomping fast-paced rocker that never lets up. The pace slows for "You've Passed" (which sounds like it might have been recorded in a garage!
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