Sunday, December 30, 2007

USA tour day 2

In philadelphia, still ill with the Sickness. I'm waitin it out, man. I
have a remarkable cold sore under my left nostril and a magazine cover
shoot today. Time to bust out the fake hitler moustache and create
some controversy. Like rammstein.

Yesterday was a bruiser of a day, we had two shows back-to-back in DC
and baltimore, the first in an honest-to-god (no pun) synagogue and the
second in a club. The gigs were great, brian and I rejoiced in being
back on stage with each other and just played our asses off and enjoyed
being back in full dresden formation. Meow Meow blew the crowds away as
I knew she would and sat in with us on delilah. Her hot pianist lance
guested on mandy goes to med school. Our crew is back in full-force.

I'm not superstitious. But things have been happening. music,
especially certain songs, has been speaking from the beyond and indicating my
path like those emergency lights embedded in airplane aisles.

The point was.
I have a favorite Again cafe in philadelphia. I'm in it right now, its
called the chapterhouse; I stumbled across it the last time we played
here. I went out of my way to walk here for some thinking and writing
before soundcheck and as I entered I heard the sound of something I knew
coming from the speakers but I couldn't place it..... Sounded like low
air-raid sirens. Then the guitar started and it was "two-headed boy part
II" and I melted a bit.

When I was in scotland in august I went to my edinburgh Again cafe
(the forest) one afternoon and there was a girl (autumn ayers )from
philadelphia singing "oh comely" on a little stage with an acoustic

I'm starting to think that my life is just strung together moments
against the backdrop of this record album. If you don't know the record,
this is harder to explain. The record: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by
Neutral Milk Hotel and its music and songwriting: without equal. I had
been discussing with my favorite director-friend the possibility of
creating a stage production inspired by the record (it seems like getting
the rights might be impossible) but we agreed on one thing: the album
and songs have an internally magical power.

Wherever you go, you will meet people who know and love this record
with a passion that may seem unreasonable. The literally extra-ordinary
thing is that the album was never hyped in the mainstream, there was no
giant promotion. It was hyped for a while in the indie community (I
remember discovering the record, through brian, about a year after it came
out and mentioning it excitedly to one of my hip indie musician friends
who was like: yes amanda, that record is amazing but sooo last year),
but that means nothing to 99% of the american music-listening
population. So its ENTIRELY word of mouth outside of the indie-cult. And not
unlike the way the dolls grew in certain communities, the word-of-mouth on
this record has carried it year after year further and further. It
didn't hurt the magical momentum that jeff mangum, the creator of the
record, supposedly cracked immediately under the impending success and
disappeared, barely ever to be heard from again (rumors abound, I have no
idea what the actual deal is). But ask your average person and they'll
have no clue about this album. I'm still shocked when I talk with some
huge music fan or record industry heavyweight and they have never even
HEARD the bands name.

What makes this record so perfect? I heard someone say, or maybe I said
once, can't remember (I'm getting old): the record is like mainlining.
Its a direct transmission of soul through sound. That said, you might
listen to it and hate it. But watch the comments on this blog. That
will tell you everything.

Have to go to soundcheck.


Show was fantastic, we're in for a 6-hour van drive to boston. And
we're tirrrrred. These two angelic people, michael and shonda, brought us,
luminescnet and meow and the whole crew a gigantic vegan feast after
the show, complete with absinthe (which we're saving for new years). Food
Love. Bring it on. This tour is a perfect bill. Meow the anarchist
cabaret singer, luminscent the insane klezmer dance band and us. I wish
bills like this would last forever. Sxip played with us (I played drums!!
I love the drums.) And brian and I sat in with lumii. Meow and lance
both sang and played during our set. Its a full-on lovefest.

Festing more, Jenny owen youngs showed up and we snuck her on the bill
right before us to play "fuck was I" on brians acoustic. She's amazing.
I piggybacked her onto stage.

The photoshoot was fine. We ripped the long red curtains down from the
windows, got naked (poor brian has finally caught the Sickness too,
neither of us were feeling sexy so we figured we go for a weird naked art
photoshoot....) and wrapped ourselves up in them. I found a hat. The
shoot worked. Pictures are weird.

Autumn, the girl who I referred to in the above ramble - the one I stumbled upon singing neutral milk in edinburgh - she magically appeared at the end
of the show with her two sisters. When I told about my happy cafe
experience and the welcome song I got there this afternoon, her sister said:
that's so weird. I haven't listened to that album in years and I put
it on today.

You are starting to see what I mean.

Here's a link to some great photos of last night.

Here's a link to the neutral milk hotel CD.

Tomorrow: hometown throwdown in bosstown.

Goodnight, elephant.


lentower said...

ms a

best with getting over the flu-ickness

hope it poofs into history soonest

hometown hoedown beyond words

including the hometown brigade

best -len

Bobbing_For_Applesx said...

hold on...
you definetly werent in DC/Baltimore yesterday...

Sorry. Pet Peeve. I decided to be a pain in the ass and point that out.

And I must admit that whole Lance/Amanda/Mandy Goes to Med School incident was very kinky.

Hunger For The Great Light said...

It seriously sucks that I'm not going to be able to catch a show on this tour. It sounds like you guys are having a great time. But hey, if you're feeling masochistic you should play in Kentucky some time. Lexington's O.K., and Louisville is livable. Kinda.

Oh, fuck it. This state sucks. Stay as far away as possible.


damnedfoolish said...

hullo, aimee from minnesota! posting, long time lurker etcetc. there is definitely something about neutral milk hotel that can be defined as magical. i grew up, musically, because of that album. whenever anyone (aka the people i roll with, the loves of my life, my posse, me mates, the family) puts on a nmh song, every single one of us will get this look, and we'll smile, and it'll be one epic sing along. and it's not just Aeroplane, Avery Island is.. just as magical. i find myself singing it sometimes, and i haven't listened to it in a few months, just because it works and is there, you know? "Leave me alone, for you know this isn't the first time, in fact this is twice in a row that the angels have slid.." etc.

and now i have to call a girl i love and tell her, again, to read your blog because look, not only is she Amanda Palmer but she listens to Neutral Milk, she's a part of it, she has it like we do. yeah. sorry if i'm not making sense. but; you told The Reader to watch the comments, so i thought as a reader i would contribute. bleh, sorry if too long/nonsensical and all that.

in other news, hi, love your music and blog, friends and i are supposed to megabus to chicago next weekend to see the dolls for the first time but nothing is for sure when money and minors are involved. cheers, new year is in a few days! all the best,


Musings said...

wise Sri Lankan say:

whole coriander seeds + ginger in boiling hot water -- if you're up for it, put a towel over head and inhale the steam (I hated doing this as a child).

+ brown sugar if you can't down it without. (I use chunks of coconut palm sugar on the side, but I imagine that's not easily found 'round these parts)

Be well. I enjoyed seeing the show.

spanpris said...

Finally got to see you in Boston last night.Kept telling the mister we'd surely be the waspiest folks at the show. He figured we'd be the oldest. Boy were we surprised!

What a terrific show.We've missed the last 2 Boston events we had tix for but thank heaven this one stuck.I kept having "I was so meant to be at this show" moments. First there was the Pink Floyd opening, then the Cabaret song.I thought the topper would be the Beastie Boys cover(one of my first concerts ever!)but Brian did one better. I couldn't believe it when he started quoting Institutonalized!!! My senior quote was from that song long ago, in another life.

Thanks for the unforgettable night. Come back soon. Get well and hope you're mom wasn't too horrified. ;)

eleanor ruby said...

ohh. my closest friends and i threw a (excuse the offensive names; i wish i could call it something else, but then you wouldn't know what i was talking about. hell, you still might not) chinese christmas/yankee swap holiday party, and my gift contribution was in the aeroplane over the sea. when trying to pick a gift that one of my friends would surely end up with, i scoured newbury comics, but kept coming back to in the aeroplane over the sea, an album i fell for years ago. finally, i grabbed it. there was nothing better -- nothing more meaningful, nothing that could possibly show my friends how deeply i care about them, especially since most of them have never heard the album. my friend sammi ended up with it, and i have yet to find out what she thinks. chances are she's listened to it already and doesn't know what to say.

by the way, my husband and i brought a bundle of said group of friends to the show in boston last night, and i think your presence had a similar effect. during your set, i couldn't tell what my friends who haven't been exposed to you were thinking. their eyes were so glazed over and they seemed so far away, they were hard to read.

after the show, after we had made our way out of the venue and onto the street, and about halfway back to the car (which was parked at south station), my friend lora exclaimed, "that was one of the best concerts i've ever been to. you're right. you need to see them live to fully understand." and it was clear that she had fallen in love.
as for me, i fall in love again and again. thank you.


Well, the Boston show was amazing.

Amanda: you did sound sick. or just that you lost your voice. or both. but your energy and wit made up for it.

Brian: all i can say is this-someone in that crowd of 2300 wanted to have your babies.

i would make an ass out of myself and beg you guys to come to boston again, but that would be foolish. if you tour again, boston will of course be on the list. and if it's not, well i'll just have to pack my bags.

June Miller said...

I'm telling you, mate: Honey plus lemon in your tea? Good throat for singin'. That's what my choir teacher in high school told me.

Though, I'm pretty stubborn and usually just wait it out, too. But I like the tea treatment so, you know.

I've never had the chance to listen to Neutral Milk Hotel. I feel kind of lame admitting that. I've heard of the album from a few people and they all really seemed to adore it, I just wasn't certain what all the hype was about. I've thought about it since then, though, and will get to it sometime soon. That's very interesting about the lead singer; I never heard that much about it.

So my friend and I are keeping it low-key and classy tomorrow night, drinking champagne and most likely watching the Discovery Channel. breezies have Absinthe? What the fuck? My New Year's is fucking lame. I give up.

Fest on. (..Fester?)

flyingczechman said...

Dear Amanda,

your music was one of the best things that happened to me during this year! Really, really thank you and Brian for that.

Unfortunately I found out about you right after your last Prague concert. When are you coming Europe again? If not next year, I swear I buy a ticket and fly over the ocean just to see your gig.

All the best in 2008!!! We are impatiently waiting for the next CD.


P.S. You can still get good Absinth in Prague, if you know where to look ... :)

Michael said...

Have fun touring and good luck!
And thanks for mentioning Neutral Milk Hotel - that's just the right kind of music for now. Actually, I think, that the lyrics for "In the aeroplane over the sea" make for a perfect tagline for the new year (or any year):

And one day we will die and our ashes will fly
From an aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young, let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see

And by the way: your live version of "Two headed boy" on the Roundhouse-DVD is even _better_ than the original. I had shivers running up and down my spine when I first saw it. One of the most amazing covers I know.


andrea said...

oh, yes, i love that album.
if you hadn't covered "two headed boy" i probably never would have discovered the band. i always liked your cover of it and thought it was a good song but it took me awhile to actually get the album because i thought what if i just like the song because one of my favorite bands is performing it. well, i finally bought it a little over a year ago and was instantly sucked in. everything about that album is magical and captivating. it never sounds outdated and i find something new everytime i listen to it. thanks for the introduction to a great record.

all my love,


Thomas said...
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Thomas said...

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea is far and away my favorite album of all speaks to me in a way i cannot describe...

Case in point.
1.It is impossible for me to listen to one song from the album...I must listen to the whole thing from start to finish every time i want to experience it.
2. I cry and get the chills every time i listen to it and almost every time they are in different spots.
3. I too have thought about writing a play with this as the soundtrack...The feelings that the music generates piece together the complete arc of a story, even if the words do not. That may not make sense but it is the only way i can describe it.

Thanks to the dolls yet again for exposing me to great music.

Innuendo said...

aeroplane is my "security blanket" record. i listen to it when i feel panicky and it fixes me.

see you tomorrow.


rashbre said...

These recent gigs sound like they'd be amazing. Looking forward to your next visit to the United Kingdom.

Also a NMH fan and enjoyed your two headed boy which seems to be bootlegged with remarkable fidelity (oh and same with your various versions of Amsterdam!)

Jeff Mangum also allegedly did some 2006 bits with the Apples in Stereo 'New Magnetic Wonder' which is a 'poptastic' blaster of an album if you havn't heard it. One to wind the windows down to.

Best from Blighty and for great eight

Sarah said...

i feel the same way about aeroplane.its haunts me, haunts my life, never a phase. i won't go on and on, because i would get lost in words.
but its funny,you mentioned it,and there is a very distinct time in my life where i started listening to that album, and your first album. not a bad time, not a good time, but a time that i will always be nostalgic for.
so,i love your music and the way it makes me feel on its own-but whenever i hear half jack or girl anachronism, i feel all neutral milk hotel-y too.
thanks for keeping art alive.
(a fan from boston)

Ellaquent said...

Thanks for the insight into what's lurking in my throat. Now I'm a tad frightened, and I think I'll do a sponsored silence for five minutes or something.

I just got the sheet music for your first album, I can play Slide. This makes me happy.

I sent evidence of your grammar-nazi-ness to my mother, she was ecstatic. Like... I don't know... there'd be someone to make sure her baby watches her grammar when she leaves home. I like it personally cos now I get to go "I know it's weird that your apostrophe is offending me, but Amanda does it too, so deal with it".


You're gonna tour Europe with the new album aren't you? THIS time I will get off my ass and fight tooth-and-nail for a ticket. Or something. So you had better come really.

I could bring you a small plastic pony. Pink... mmmm.

Ellaquent said...

This site decided to post my comment about your surgery on a blog not about your surgery. This is strange... because I haven't read the blog it posted it on yet.


Caffeinated Cassadie said...
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sexy said...