There will not be a halo above Jeff Mangum’s head when he performs on the Lincoln Theatre stage on Friday and Saturday, but you might not know that if you’re judging solely by the enraptured looks on the faces of audience members in the sold-out venue.
The Neutral Milk Hotel frontman fell completely off the map over the last decade and during his self-imposed exile he become an indie-rock legend. Neutral Milk Hotel’s second album, 1998’s “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” sits near the top of many Best Albums of the ’90s lists.
It’s hard to imagine now, but during NMH’s brief existence in the ’90s the band was arguably not even the most popular band in the Elephant 6 collective — the Athens, Ga.-based group of loosely-affiliated, sometimes-collaborative acts that clogged college radio shows with their Brian Wilson-loving psychedelic-pop.
After the jump, listen to five Elephant 6 songs that can hold their own next to Mangum on any playlist.
Olivia Tremor Control - “The Opera House”
My pick for song that most defines the E6 aesthetic — gleeful, fuzzy, a bit bizarre, weird noises shooting in from every direction, supremely catchy.
Beulah - “Emma Blowgun’s Last Stand”
This band from the San Francisco wing of the collective made a classic with 1999’s “When Your Heartstrings Break,” highlighted by this trumpet-blasting mini-epic.
Apples in Stereo - “Tidal Wave”
Apples frontman Robert Schneider was E6’s head honcho. And while the band dabbled in swirling psychedelia and over-caffeinated power-pop, it was at its best when balancing between those two sounds.
The Minders- “Hooray for Tuesday”
More horns, more harmonies, more hooks. Elliott Smith liked this one enough to cover it.
The Gerbils - “Grin”
One of the largely-forgotten E6 bands had its best moment with this funhouse of a song.