Indie-rock band Neutral Milk Hotel, which often makes ‘best of the ’90s’ lists, is on its last tour. The band plays a sold-out show at the Paramount Thursday, June 4.
It’s hard to be neutral about Neutral Milk Hotel, the Athens, Ga., indie troupe playing the Paramount Thursday (June 4). The band’s left-field, late-’90s hit “In The Airplane Over The Sea” is often ranked near Pavement and Radiohead records on ’90s best-of lists. Along with Arcade Fire’s seminal “Funeral,” it has helped set up the Merge label — the Sub Pop of the South — for life. Since its 1998 release, it’s moved 300,000 units and counting — no small feat for an album without any radio singles or music videos.
But does it hold up? The same things some people love about it, others can’t stand — singer/guitarist Jeff Mangum’s bizarre, braying vocals, whimsical World War II-referencing lyrics and chord progressions so basic pretty much anyone could play them. And for all the reunion touring the band has done, no new output has come of it.
Not that Mangum’s fans mind. This is his third Seattle go-round in as many years, counting a 2012 solo show. Even those not going to this sold-out show will be able to hear them from blocks away, belting out ragged folk-rock anthems like “King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1.”
Thursday is your last chance to draw your own conclusions. The band announced in May that this will be its final tour before retiring the Neutral Milk name forever.
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8 p.m. Thursday, June 4, Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine. St., Seattle; sold out (877-784-4849 or www.stgpresents.org).