In news we can all celebrate, Spirit of '68 just announced Neutral Milk Hotel and Elephant Six Collective founder Jeff Mangum will perform in Bloomington on January 15 at the Buskirk-Chumley. And, as if you didn't feel good enough about this news, $1 from every ticket will benefit Mongolian charity Children of the Blue Sky. Tickets go on sale this Thursday at noon.
The famously private Mangum basically dropped off the face of the Earth after the explosion of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea in 1998. He popped up on releases with Julian Koster and released field recordings of Bulgarian folk music, hosted the odd radio show and contributed to other Elephant Six releases, but for Neutral Milk Hotel fans, he was effectively ... gone.
That all changed in the fall of 2008, when Mangum began joining the Elephant Six Holiday Surprise Tour for super secret surprise encores. Of course, much had changed since the 1998 Aeroplane tour, and Internet forums quickly spoiled the Holiday Surprise for many attendees. A fabulous spoiler, I've got to say.
I remember attending the Bloomington stop at Rhino's where the crowd was practically levitating off the floor in anticipation. After rumors of Mangum's encores emerged, the absolute screaming demand for more tickets caused the promoters to move from the Cinemat (now the Bishop Bar) to the all-ages youth club.
Mangum, clad in red plaid hovered mostly in the office/green room. The Elephant Six Collective - including members of Olivia Tremor Control, The Music Tapes, Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't, Apples in Stereo, Circulatory System, Elf Power, 63 Crayons, Nana Grizol and lingering members of Neutral Milk Hotel - ripped their way through a three-hour alternating sets, marred by audio issues but enjoyed nonetheless. Mangum emerged to sing "I Have Been Floated" with Olivia Tremor Control and "Forever" with The Circulatory System. Then, he grabbed an acoustic, wandered into the middle of the floor and sank into b-side "Engine."
I'm not kidding when I say that when he walked onto the floor there was mild pandemonium. A girl grabbed my arm, alternately mouthing words unspoken and crying softly. But, soon, all was calm. After the three-hour jamfest, the encore inspired one of the most quiet, respectful audiences I've ever witnessed then or since. I can't wait to repeat the experience, in an expanded, sit-down form.
Also, in Bloomington news: three-piece Floorboard, whose silky tracks soar above most basement shoegaze thanks to singer Elizabeth Strother's voice. I caught Floorboards this Wednesday in Bloomington along with KO, Todd Heaton's Street Spirits, Steven Elmlinger and Son Step. Listen to tracks from their album Goodbye Summer and pop over to their Bandcamp page to hear more.
Have you checked out the DO317 Lounge yet? We wrote about it in May when it was just getting itself together. Now, it's a full-fledged little slice of paradise at the Murphy Arts Center. JD McPherson stopped by in October and Laundromatinee caught "Northside Girls." Check it out below.
Seminal Indy punks Gizmos will perform in Indy on Dec. 29 at the White Rabbit Cabaret. Backing them: Vacation Club, Burnt Ones, Apache Dropout and The Yolks. Tickets for this one will go fast, so pick them up now.
New from Blake Allee is a Digital Rabbit production of track "Headlights." Filmed right here in Indy and featuring Tiarress Stokes, "Headlights" will appear on Allee's upcoming mixtape Televisionn. Allee, if you're not yet aware, won the J. Brookinz Heavy Gun Beat Battle at Casba during Broad Ripple Music Fest in October. His next release is highly anticipated.