Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Tube Amp: May

Once again, in just under the gun! In case you haven't noticed, I generally get my posts a rollin' towards the end of the month. So plan accordingly. Anyway, on to the video!



:01 -- Here we have famously reclusive Jeff Mangum, brains behind Neutral Milk Hotel, who's actually come out of hiding a few times over the past year or two. This clip seems to be from the late 90s, although there's no date attached.

:20 -- Any of you gearheads know what kind of guitar he's got there? My first thought is an old Guild. This video goes to show, you don't need anything more than simple chords on a lone guitar when you have a voice and songwriting chops like that.

:44 -- Was that a grin? I don't think I've ever seen Mangum smile before...

1:12 -- I love this extended note he sings here, showing his ability to utilize his voice as a complementary instrument, not just a vehicle for his lyrics.

1:21 -- And that is only underscored by his humming the brass section's part over this small interlude. I was worried it'd come off as a little corny, but Mangum came through. The way he sings "Dee-dee-dee" with a tremble in his voice is so foreboding...

1:56 -- That little paper star in the upper right corner reminds me of the school dance in Napoleon Dynamite...

2:15 -- "And now how I remember you, how I would push my fingers through your mouth to make those muscles move" is one of the creepier lyrical images I've heard.

2:48 -- I love how he holds notes like this, creating that creepy drone. Many of the instruments we hear on NMH songs play long, stretched notes like this (saw, horns)--it's a notable musical theme. He does this sort of vocal suspension in "Oh Comely" as well.

2:59 -- More "Dee"s for good measure.

3:28 -- Mangum always seems a unsteadily calm, just on the edge of cracking. Perhaps that has something to do with his seclusion.

3:49 -- How cool would it have been to be at that performance? Sounds like about thirty people in the house. If only.

For further HSW-penned reading on the band and its Mangum Opus (get it?), click here for a write-up of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea from a few years back.

Have a nice Memorial Day!

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