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Old 06-18-2009, 02:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Neutral Milk Hotel- Hype City Soundtrack


Artist: Neutral Milk Hotel
Album: Hype City Soundtrack
Label: Elephant 6
Tracks: 11
Length: 28 minutes
Release Date: 1992

Download

Tracks:
1. "Up and Over We Go" - 2:34
2. "Wood Guitar" - 2:36
3. "Tuesday Moon" - 4:01
4. "April 1st" - 1:42
5. "Tea Time" - 0:07
6. "Bomb Drop" (AKA "Ruby Bulbs")[2]- 4:33
7. "Gardenhead/Leave Me Alone" - 3:32
8. "Biscuit" - 2:47
9. "Los Angeles" - 0:57
10. "Piggy" - 4:47
11. "Engine" - 3:37

Ok...Here goes my rant....

As Neutral Milk Hotel fan-boys (like me) would know, Jeff Mangum started recording under the moniker Neutral Milk Hotel way back in the early nineties with their first demo, Invent Yourself a Shortcake "released" in 1991. Of course by "released" I mean recorded D.I.Y. style, copied onto some cassette tapes and passed between the founding fathers of the Elephant 6 collective. It was only after the take-off of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea and the indefinite hiatus of the band that these albums were dug up and leaked onto the internet. Three of these demos were recorded between '91 and '93 and the latest being Hype City Soundtrack.

Hype City Soundtrack is easily the most professionally made of the three demo's and obviously a collaborative effort between mainly Jeff Mangum, Robert Schneider and various other musicians (similar to the line-ups of the Everything Is EP and On Avery Island LP). I know this will cause a-lot of faces crashing helplessly into palms but I will be as bold as to say that this album is "as-good" as In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. I KNOW! These reviews SHOULD be objective and non-comparative. I KNOW! I should be basing my critic of the album on its own merits, not the merits of later and more highly regarded albums. BUT! I say that it is as good as ITAOTS only to emphasize how great an effort I feel that it was. And, c'mon, any self-respecting NMH fan-boy will admit that they judge not only everything else done by NMH (On Avery Island, Everything Is, and bootlegs included) but most other music on a "as-good-as ITAOTS?" basis. I will admit that MAYBE I am the only one who does this and that MAYBE the original statement is a bit of an exaggeration but if this album is not as good, it comes pretty damn close. However, don't let me hype this album up that much, it is definitely NOT for everyone.

The album begins with "Up and Over We Go," a very interesting listen right-off-the-bat as this song would eventually grow into "King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 3" on ITAOTS. Of course this version is far different, a much slower tempo, a different instrumentation, and an overall different feel. Either way, it is a damn-good track and a great song to start with as not only are a fans novelty nuts tickled ever-so-slightly but this song sets much of the tone for the whole album. To continue on the novelty stand-point, just looking over the tracks, one might notice a few familiar tracks. "Tuesday Moon" would go on to be released on the Everything Is EP, April 1st is reminiscent of "Avery Island/ April 1st" on On Avery Island (although the songs share very little in common), "Gardenhead/ Leave Me Alone" would go on to be recorded for On Avery Island, and "Engine" was recorded as a "Holland, 1945" b-side. Just by that standard, this album has a lot of appeal in showing how Jeff Mangum grew as a songwriter but... BAD LIEASLEEP! STOP COMPARING!

Let me talk about the album as objectively as possible. The whole album has a very muddy feel that fits very well but while being the most professional of the original demos, the unprofessionality of the recordings is sometimes distracting. The first half of the album shines as interesting and stimulating song writing while the second half gets more into "psychedelic" and by "psychedelic" I mean more random sound edits, random noises, and (more or less) complete lack of coherence "Los Angeles" is basically an entire 58 seconds of this. Certain songs, like "April 1st," "Piggy," and "Bomb Drop" can be very off-putting and even grating to the unprepared ear. But, overall, I'd say most of these tracks are original, challenging, and interesting even if some of the tracks give off a bit of an "I'm trying to be artsy" feeling. "Engine" is, also, a fantastic song both on its own and to end with. It leaves the listener with a bit of a melancholy feel to add to most of the emotions that are already piled onto this album.

As far as recommending this album, if you are an NMH fan and want to give it a try, go right ahead. But if you don't like On Avery Island, than I would say it probably won't be for you. If you are looking for something very different, interesting, and (like I said) challenging, then I say go for it as this album is all of those things and much more...

End Rant.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

This is my first review! Hope you guys like it...
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Old 06-18-2009, 02:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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hmm doesn't really seem worth buying
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Old 06-18-2009, 02:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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nah, thats why i have a download link :]
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Old 06-18-2009, 03:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for this... I lost all of my harder to find NMH stuff a while back and never fully recovered. I wouldn't call this better than Aeroplane, or Avery Island even, but it is a very interesting listen and a very good demo.
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Old 06-18-2009, 03:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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the quality of this album sucks, i understand these are demos but c'mon
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Old 06-18-2009, 04:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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self recorded man, and the quality is not terrible compared to most of the other NMH bootleg **** out there

Quote:
Originally Posted by dac View Post
Thanks for this... I lost all of my harder to find NMH stuff a while back and never fully recovered. I wouldn't call this better than Aeroplane, or Avery Island even, but it is a very interesting listen and a very good demo.
and you're welcome :] glad to see you listened to it

and to each his own, these are also words coming from someone who has played the two LPs to death, the "new" (for me lol) sound was refreshing, different, and interesting
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Old 06-19-2009, 10:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Woody Guthrie's self-recorded stuff has better quality than this
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Old 06-19-2009, 04:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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ok... i never said the quality was good
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Old 06-19-2009, 05:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lieasleep View Post
self recorded man, and the quality is not terrible compared to most of the other NMH bootleg **** out there



and you're welcome :] glad to see you listened to it

and to each his own, these are also words coming from someone who has played the two LPs to death, the "new" (for me lol) sound was refreshing, different, and interesting
You're talking to the guy with a Jeff Mangum avatar...

But yeah my favorite unreleased thing I've come across would definitely be Bucket. Such a great song.

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Woody Guthrie's self-recorded stuff has better quality than this
If you're going to complain about the quality of DEMOS then you should probably just go sit in a corner somewhere.
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Old 06-19-2009, 05:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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So if I didn't like (understatement) ITAOTS, could I like this or Avery Island?
I need to like atleast one NMH album soon, because if I don't my friends may stone me.
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