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February 27, 2006 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Albums for All Occasions: Album to use as a Hipster Social Barometer

So it’s your first week in the hostel. You’ve settled in, put up your Velvet Underground and Ziggy posters, and arranged your second hand teapot invitingly on your desk. And now you must entice some new acquaintances to poke their heads round your door. But how will you ensure that only those who collect Belle and Sebastian commemorative tea towels come a-knocking? There’s a double purpose at work here, you see. Not only do you want to ensure that only those sporting Russell Bloc fringes respond to your subtle advances, you must simultaneously signal your credentials to all your rivals. That’s right, rivals. You are no longer the only indie kid in school. So what should you play? ‘In The Aeroplane Over the Sea’ by Neutral Milk Hotel. This heartbreakingly beautiful folk-punk psychobilly (yes, I did say that) classic is a sure fire way to sort the wheat from the chaff. When I was in Melbourne this summer, we went to a flatmate-of-a-friend’s place for Australia Day. Not surprisingly, it heavily featured men in stubbies setting fire to chunks of kangaroo and necking VB. Rarely had I felt so out of place, yet when the inevitable guitar emerged, and my boyfriend started to play ‘Holland ,1945,’ a mass singalong ensued. This was swiftly followed by cries of ‘You like Neutral Milk Hotel? I thought no one else had ever heard of them!’ ‘Really? Me too! God, I’m so happy there are other people who recognise Jeff Mangum’s godlike genius!’ The night dissolved into a happy blur of ego stroking and hand-holding as hipsters separated by vicious national spats and 42 degree heat which prevented the wearing of indie-recognition-enabling drainpipes reached out over the gulf and drank to each others’ inherent coolness. Oh yes. Put this one on, and when that hottie with the artfully worn Dunlops walks into your room exclaiming ‘Isn’t In the Aeroplane Over the Sea the most tragically uplifting tale of snatching love and life from death that you’ve ever heard?’ you will know you have found a mate for life. Or at least until Bloc Party tour.


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