Still No Neutral Milk Hotel Reunion, But The Music Tapes Are Back With New Album, Video, Live Show

We were big fans of First Imaginary Symphony For Nomad back in the day, as well as the Music Tapes’ prop-heavy, metronome-toting live show. If you can believe it, that debut came out nine years ago. Around that time, Neutral Milk Hotel was still active, so it was seen as Julian Koster’s singing-saw and wire-recorder side project. Since then, NMH went the way of legends, and Koster’s kept a lower profile. Well, he and his Tapes are back. Via Merge:

[Koster is] working on a story album entitled 2nd Imaginary Symphony for Cloudmaking, narrated by Brian Dewan and accompanied by bowed banjos, singing saws and sound effects. Portions of the story were aired in early 2003 on WNYC in New York, and were met with great enthusiasm by Music Tapes fans longing for new material.

Music Tapes For Clouds And Tornadoes spotlights Julian’s songcraft and distinctive vocals, his almost religious devotion to the singing saw, and numerous contributions from other musicians in the Elephant 6 orbit. As on previous efforts, recording was done using an array of antique hardware, giving Music Tapes For Clouds And Tornadoes a timeless, texturally rich sonic palette. It is the sound of Julian’s world poking through the curtain surrounding objective reality. In his words, “I just find the imaginary more real than the physical. Magic, the way we find things beautiful, the light behind eyes, kindness, and how we want to serve and protect the things we care about – these things seem like the real foundation of the world to me. I hope that the songs on this record can be more than just postcards from a world, but an invitation to it, to anyone at all who may find such a place comforting and nice.”

Quite the build-up, eh? Now it’s time to look and listen.

That’s “Minister of Longitude.” Here’s the awesome “Majesty,” also from the new record.

The Music Tapes – “Majesty” (MP3)

You can catch the band and their metronome live at the Athens Popfest 8/15 at the 40 Watt Club. Trust us, don’t miss it.