The Boston Calling music festival is this weekend, and, as is usually the case with things like this, it’s a pretty stacked lineup of bands on the rise, and throwback acts you never got a chance to check out back in the day. The National, Nas with the Roots, Lorde, and The Replacements headlining. For indie rock fans of a certain vintage like myself, Neutral Milk Hotel looks to be a highlight. If you’d told college age me that I’d finally get to see the cult-indie favorites at long last in 2014, in a giant outdoor festival at Government Center in Boston with tens of thousands of other people, I’d have said “Wow! That, uh, sounds good. They playing any smaller dates around then?”
Still though. Neutral Milk Hotel.
It got me thinking about all the other bands from back around that time I used to listen to, many of which released music on Elephant Six, the record label whose 60’s psych-pop-leaning focus also pulled other similar bands into its collective aesthetic orbit back in the 90s, some of whom were releasing music on Kindercore, Merge and other like-minded labels. And because humans are now incapable of processing information in any manner other than ranked list form, I thought I’d spend like twenty minutes throwing one together and publishing it under the veneer of authoritative music writing. Here’s 10 (or however many it ends up being I haven’t started it yet) of the definitive songs you need to know.
The Essex Green “The Late Great Cassiopia”
The Ladybug Transistor “Like a Summer Rain”
Dressy Bessy “Just Like Henry”
Of Montreal “A Celebreation of H. Hare”
Elf Power “Needles in the Camel’s Eye”
Apples in Stereo “Strawberryfire”
Olivia Tremor Control “Hideaway”
Beulah “If We Can Land a Man on the Moon”
Neutral Milk Hotel “The King of Carrot Flowers Pt 1”