There comes a point in every artist’s career where your catalog is so vast, and you’re so beloved by fans that a Greatest Hits album seems like a good idea. Almost like a requirement for surviving in the profession for so long. Neutral Milk Hotel is definitely one of those artists who is beloved for their vast discography, and this February they’re releasing their own beautiful spin on the Greatest Hits album.
In collaboration with Merge, Neutral Milk Hotel will release their Collected Works on Friday February 24th. Once released as a physical box set by Neutral Milk Hotel, a small operation by Jeff Magnum and his mother, this is the first digital release of the band’s collected discography. Over the years Jeff Magnum’s been stowing away remnants of the group’s journey for years, now culminating in this box set. Featuring an expanded double LP edition of “On Avery Island” an exclusive 12” picture disk of “Live at Jittery Joes”, a previously unreleased recording of “Little Birds”, and “Holland, 1945/ Engine 7” on black vinyl including brand new art the box set is truly a time capsule of the band’s journey over the years.
Perhaps one of the most exciting features of the Collected Works is the release of Neutral Milk Hotel’s 1998 performance of “Little Birds”. Though it was never released, recordings of the performance have long since been favored on the internet. The song was written in Athens, yet went unrecorded for years. They would preform the song only a few times, and yet it still became one of the band’s most beloved songs. The box set includes other unreleased music, including the 1994 track “Unborn” which was made for Bill Doss when Magnum lived in Athens and traded tapes with other local artists.
Neutral Milk Hotel has always been adored for their lo-fi indie rock style, and this collected work offers something for both the die hard Neutral Milk Hotel fan and newcomers to the band. Containing all seven projects the band has produced this box set is the perfect vessel to fully melt into Neutral Milk Hotel’s world.