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Editorial Reviews

With its multi-layered low-fi sensibility, Neutral Milk Hotel's 1994 album rolls from meek melancholy melodies to joyous triumphant swells, creating an enigmatic indie classic whose fans hold it close to their hearts. Music writer Kim Cooper, herself a fan, puts some context to the mystery, describing the collaborative environment from which the album emerged and the reasons for bandleader Jeff Magnum's sudden decision to take a hiatus from music following the albums successes. Donna Coney Island's emphatic performance of the audiobook engages the listener, painting a living picture of the friends and musicians who created the album while treating it seriously, as a significant moment in time. Fans of the album and the newly initiated will delight in this loving aural portrait.
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Publisher's Summary

One of the most beloved cult albums of the 1990s, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is one of those records that sells almost purely through word-of-mouth. In this book, Kim Cooper provides a lovingly researched oral history of Neutral Milk Hotel and the Elephant 6 Collective - from their childhood roots in Ruston, Louisiana through to the moment when Jeff Mangum, NMH's mercurial leader, decided to retreat back into anonymity. Kim Cooper is the editrix of Scram - a journal of unpopular culture. She is also the co-editor of the acclaimed books Lost in the Grooves and Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth. She lives in Los Angeles.33 1/3 is a new series of short books about critically acclaimed and much-loved albums of the last 40 years. Focusing on one album rather than an artist's entire output, the books dispense with the standard biographical background that fans know already, and cut to the heart of the music on each album. The authors provide fresh, original perspectives - often through their access to and relationships with the key figures involved in the recording of these albums. By turns obsessive, passionate, creative, and informed, the books in this series demonstrate many different ways of writing about music. (A task which can be, as Elvis Costello famously observed, as tricky as dancing about architecture.) What binds this series together, and what brings it to life, is that all of the authors - musicians, scholars, and writers - are deeply in love with the album they have chosen.
Rock on: listen to more of the 33 1/3 series.
©2005 Kim Cooper (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Exhaustively researched and warmly narrated, Kim Cooper's Cinderella story of the 1997 Neutral Milk Hotel album that has sold upward of 150,000 copies primarily through word of mouth and caused its primary creator to withdraw from the public-eye functions as an indie-rock doctrine. Tracing the evolution of the band's main participants back to their childhoods and following their paths through the culmination of their final tour, she debunks myths and humanizes developments along the way" ( The Chicago Tribune)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By John on 12-22-08

Great book, terrible narration.

How exactly does a 4-star book become a 2-star audiobook?

Kim Cooper's fascinating and insightful look into Neutral Milk Hotel's magnum opus, "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea," paints a thrilling portrait of the creation of one of indie rock's crowning masterpieces. Unfortunately, Donna Coney Island's soulless narration drones on with the delivery of a grab-bag pick from the pool of corporate "on-hold" recording talent. I halfway expected an AT&T customer service rep to interrupt, and rescue me from the tedium of her "always smiling" presentation.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Chris on 08-19-11


Great stuff. Their story is so interesting. Author/Narrator calls Keith RIchards Keith Richard, and Arcade Fire The Arcade Fire. Ohhhh wellllll. Fun listen!

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