Neutral Milk Hotel and its reclusive frontman in Seattle

  • By Andy Rathbun Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, April 2, 2014 6:12pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Neutral Milk Hotel released just two albums in the mid-1990s and, at the time, had very little to show for it.

The group’s second album, “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” crept onto the relatively obscure Billboard Tastemaker chart at No. 92, barely making a ripple in the music world.

But critics took notice, and when lead singer Jeff Mangum threw in the towel on the music industry, a cultish fan base started to grow around the band. To fans, Mangum became indie rock’s very own J.D. Salinger, a reclusive genius.

Now, his album is regarded as a five-star masterpiece, a record that helped inspire chart- topping award winners such as Arcade Fire and Bon Iver. The disc slowly sold more than 300,000 copies since its release.

All that attention drew Mangum back out into the open. He started playing live again a few years ago, and now is touring again with Neutral Milk Hotel.

Against all odds, the group, which will play a sold-out show at the Neptune Theatre at 8:30 tonight has become legendary.

Tickets may be found at a mark-up at

Young the Giant also will play Seattle this weekend, with a pair of headlining shows at the Showbox at 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday night.

The California-based alt-rockers started their career in a big way, opening for groups including the Kings of Leon in 2009, before they even landed a record deal.

A deal followed, of course, and the band became mainstays on modern rock radio thanks to hits such as “Cough Syrup” and “My Body,” both off the band’s self-titled 2010 debut.

Young the Giant toured steadily before returning to the studio in 2013, when it recorded its sophomore effort, “Mind Over Matter.” That album hit No. 7 on the Billboard 200 this January. Now the group is on a tour that will keep it busy until at least July.

Tickets are $28 at or 877-784-4849.

Bastille, another alt-rock success story, will play a sold-out concert at the Showbox SoDo at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

The London-based band came out of the gate strong with its debut album, “Bad Blood.” The disc, featuring the No. 1 hit “Pompeii,” showcased the group’s meld of synthesizer-driven hooks and big, Bono-esque vocals.

The group has already made an appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” and now is on a globe-trotting tour that will find it playing everything from festivals in France to club shows, like the one it headlines in Seattle.

Tickets may be found at

Bryan Ferry, meanwhile, will headline McCaw Hall at 7:30 p.m. Monday, as the rock legend tours behind his latest album, “The Jazz Age.”

Ferry became an icon thanks to his stint as the frontman for Roxy Music, the 1970s glam rock group that won a large and loyal cult following.

Since that group disbanded in 1983, Ferry has gone on to have a fruitful solo career, dabbling in everything from fashion to albums made up of idiosyncratic cover songs.

Tickets are $45 to $65 at or 877-784-4849.

Finally, the Yonder Mountain String Band will play the Showbox at 8 p.m. Thursday.

The bluegrass group has won a faithful following thanks to its jam band mentality. The group, which has been recording together since 1999, released a new four-track EP in 2013, simply titled EP-13.

Tickets are $30 at or 888-929-7849.

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