On Avery Island
Every vaguely alternative kid worth their salt knows a well-placed Neutral Milk Hotel reference can get them into the pants of impressionable sixth formers everywhere. This band, and more specifically main songwriter Jeff Mangum, has a much more enduring legacy than awkward teenage sex. Mostly recorded in 1995, ‘On Avery Island’ sums up just why, in a perfect world, they would have been the band of the ’90s. Just what does this record sound like? For once, bollocks to that: they sound like Neutral Milk Hotel and everyone else since wishes they did. Yeah, we’re looking at you Weezer. Post-psychedelic, post-folk, post-grunge, post pretty much everything, think Butthole Surfers if they’d grown up listening to nothing but Four Volts. More fuzz than a teddy bear and 10 times cooler to leave lying about when Sarah from philosophy is coming round.