Against All Odds, Neutral Milk Hotel Are Grammy Nominees

Their new collection's packaging got the nod

Neutral Milk Hotel
Neutral Milk Hotel performs in concert during Day 3 of Fun Fun Fun Fest at Auditorium Shores on November 9, 2014.
Merrick Ales/FilmMagic

This week brought with it news of the Grammy nominations, which abounded with a number of names you might expect to see on such a list, including SZA, Taylor Swift and boygenius. There are also a few surprises, including the presence of both Ryan Gosling and Bernie Sanders on the list of nominees. And there’s also the inclusion of a band whose most recent album was released 25 years ago on the list; yes, defying space and time, Neutral Milk Hotel are in the running for a 2024 Grammy Award.

As dedicated Jeff Mangum fans may have surmised, the nominee is in the category of Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package, for their massive The Collected Works of Neutral Milk Hotel collection. Other nominees in the category are Bo Burnham’s Inside: Deluxe Box Set, Lou Reed’s Words & Music, May 1965 – Deluxe Edition, Ngot’s Gieo and the compilation For The Birds: The Birdsong Project.

Art directors Daniel Murphy, Mark Ohe and Jeff Mangum were specifically nominated for their work on The Collected Works of Neutral Milk Hotel.

Between this news and the acclaimed release of a documentary on the Elephant 6 scene, this feels like yet another reminder of the staying power of Neutral Milk Hotel and the bands in their orbit. In other recent Neutral Milk Hotel-related news, Ba Da Bing! Records recently announced the release of the soundtrack for the film Flux Gourmet, which features several contributions from Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeremy Barnes.

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While Neutral Milk Hotel’s nomination is a breakthrough in some ways — label Merge Records noted in their announcement that this is Mangum’s first Grammy nomination — other developments with relation to this news will sound familiar to longtime Neutral Milk Hotel fans. To wit, this line from the announcement: “Jeff could not be reached for comment on the occasion.”

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