Neutral Milk Hotel announced a career-spanning vinyl box set. The Collected Works of Neutral Milk Hotel includes two of the group’s LPs—1996’s On Avery Island and 1998 On the Plane Above the Sea—as well as live recordings, alternate takes, unreleased material, and more. The collection arrives on February 24 via UNITY. Among the often unreleased tracks included in the box set are “Little Bird,” which is being released digitally today for the first time. Listen to it below and scroll down for pictures of the box set.
“Little Birds,” according to a press release, is a song written by Neutral Milk Hotel mastermind Jeff Mangum in 1998 and played at a friend’s party that day. He wrote the track after a confrontation with a street preacher in Athens, Georgia, who spewed hate directed at LGBTQ+ people. A small group of people, including Mangum, gathered and shouted back at him, and the preacher finally left the scene. Mangum did not play the song again for 10 years, but it was eventually recorded live at the Prospect Park Bandshell in Brooklyn during the The 2014 reunion tour at Neutral Milk Hotel. The later version is the one included in the Merge box set.
In 2011, Mangum collected almost all of the band’s recorded output a limited edition box set, which he self-released through Neutral Milk Hotel Records—a small operation run by Mangum and his mother. The Merge edition marks the first digital release of the collection and includes an expanded 2xLP edition of On Avery Islandan exclusive 12” picture disc of Lives at Jittery Joe’s (recorded in 1997), the “Holland, 1945” b/w “Engine” 7″ on black vinyl with new artwork, and more.
The set also includes a remastered 1994 version Everything 7″, which was pressed on 10″ vinyl as an extended EP. Mangum also added a few songs from that episode: “Unborn,” “You’ve Been Through It,” and “Where You Find Me Now.” the The Ferris Wheel is on fire The 10″ EP includes the addition of “My Dream Girl Don’t Exist.”
Repeat the “What is Neutral Milk Hotel On the Plane Above the Sea Became a Polarizing Cult Classic” and check out Pitchfork’s list of “The 150 Best Albums of the 1990s.”
All products featured on Pitchfork are independently selected by our editors. However, if you purchase an item through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
The Collected Works of Neutral Milk Hotel:
On the Plane Above the Sea:
01 King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1
02 King of Carrot Flowers Pts. 2 and 3
03 On the Plane Above the Sea
04 Two Headed Boy
06 Holland, 1945
07 Communist Daughter
08 Oh Beautiful
11 Two Headed Boy Pt. 2
On Avery Island: