Neutral Milk Hotel | Merge to release ‘The Collected Works of Neutral Milk Hotel’ Box Set

Uncategorized January 12, 2023

Neutral Milk Hotel | Merge to release ‘The Collected Works of Neutral Milk Hotel’ Box Set

Neutral Milk Hotel recently announced ‘The Collected Works of Neutral Milk Hotel,’ a box set out February 24th on Merge Records, and present the first official release of ‘Little Birds’.

The work has always come together subconsciously for Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum, even this box set. For years, Mangum collected images for an art box of sorts — would it be a Joseph Cornell-style assemblage? An experimental board game? Only time would tell. 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.

The Merge edition of ‘The Collected Works of Neutral Milk Hotel’ marks the collection’s first digital release, and includes an expanded double LP edition of ‘On Avery Island,’ an exclusive 12” picture disc of ‘Live at Jittery Joe’s,’ a previously unreleased live recording of ‘Little Birds,’ plus the ‘Holland, 1945’ / ‘Engine’ 7-inch on black vinyl with brand new art.

‘Little Birds’ and its 7” present a prayer-like song Mangum wrote quickly in 1998 and played later that day at a friend’s party, shortly before he stopped doing Neutral Milk Hotel. He wouldn’t play the song again for 10 years, but that live recording floated around online.

The band, led by the enigmatic singer and guitarist Jeff Mangum, is best known for pioneering the indie rock genre with the release of ‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,’ an album that has been loved, celebrated, and covered by countless artists. In the mid-90’s, Neutral Milk Hotel was part of the influential Elephant Six collective which pioneered the sound of 90’s alternative lofi in tandem with The Olivia Tremor Control and The Apples in Stereo. After the release of ‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’ and their rise as a moderately popular group, Mangum suffered from health issues and an emotional breakdown. He vanished completely from the public eye in 1999, but 14 years later triumphantly returned with his band in tow for an expansive world tour.

The band’s career is odd — with an EP, two albums, and a handful of singles, the newest of which is the lyrically disturbing acoustic track ‘Little Birds’. Previously unreleased, Mangum wrote the track in late 1998 as a reflection on an encounter with a homophobic street pastor that he and his friends chased away. The song is dedicated in memoriam to Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming who was killed in a violent attack two months prior. The live version of the song was recorded the same day it was written.

“And here beneath the water
I can see how the light distorts so strange
And this is how I would like to leave my body and start again”

‘The Collected Works of Neutral Milk Hotel’ is now available to pre-order via Merge Records and includes the following on vinyl:

‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’ LP
‘On Avery Island’ 2-LP
Exclusive ‘Live at Jittery Joe’s’ picture disc
‘Ferris Wheel on Fire’ EP
‘Everything Is’ EP
‘Holland, 1945’ / ‘Engine’ Single
‘Little Birds’ Single
‘You’ve Passed’ / ‘Where You’ll Find Me Now’ Single
24” × 24” poster featuring outer box cover art
24” × 24” poster featuring flying gramophone art

Though the band is not expected to release any new studio albums or tour in the near future, fans can look forward to the next best thing:

According to, the band’s official website, fans should “check back in the spring of 2023 for more Jeff drawings, signed records, and more”…

Zach White

Neutral Milk Hotel Official Website / Facebook
Merge Official Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Bandcamp / YouTube

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