The Music Tapes

Thursday, February 19

The dissolution of Neutral Milk Hotel and the disappearance of lead singer Jeff Mangum a decade ago was — let's face it — a great tragedy in the world of indie rock. Since then, members of NMH and the associated Elephant 6 collective have attempted to make the same impact as 1998's "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea." That is to say, they have made mostly experimental and extremely odd music. There's Jeremy Barnes' solo project, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, a percussion- and horn-heavy adventure borne of Barnes' expat days in Europe. Now, there's last year's Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes from NMH bass and banjo player Julian Koster. Koster has been releasing music under the moniker The Music Tapes since 1999, but took several years off before last year's release. And it's worth questioning what warped experiences Koster has during those years to inspire the songs he's writing now. He makes liberal use of the singing saw and his warbly vocals, adding background static and reverb to create slightly harmonic noise. It's like Bjork's Medulla, where there's plenty of experimentation to appreciate but only a few songs that are actually listenable. It could almost drive an NMH fan to start a nationwide manhunt for Jeff Mangum, hoping he could add some beauty to Koster's music. All ages.

Thu., Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m., 2009

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