Is Neutral Milk Hotel Giving Clues to a New Album?
Can 2017 be the year that we finally see a follow-up to Neutral Milk Hotel’s 1998 record In the Aeroplane Over the Sea? Some fans are suggesting that Jeff Mangum is dropping hints via some artwork that he’s recently made.
Stereogum reports that Mangum has created a series of drawings called “The Book Cipher Sings” that is available for sale at the band’s website. Upon receiving one piece, one person noticed a combination of letters and created a Reddit thread called “Jeff Mangum drawing says ‘DOUBLE ALBUM’ at top. It's happening, guys.” The purchaser also noted that another drawing for sale where the word “double” appears and, if you turn it upside down, you can see the letters “L” and “P.” In addition, that particular piece is described as being “steganography,”which is the act of sending a secret message encoded within a visible source.
In a third, the words “magicicada,” “cassini” and “huygens” are written at the bottom. A magicicada cassini is a class of bug that resurfaces every 17 years, and the Cassini-Huygens is an unmanned spaceship that was sent to Saturn in 1997 and is expected to end its mission in 2017.
Mangum broke up Neutral Milk Hotel in early 1999, a year after the release of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, the band’s second album, reportedly due to a nervous breakdown. However, a handful of rare live appearances over the next decade or so led to more regular solo performances by 2013, and Neutral Milk Hotel had a proper reunion tour in 2013-4. They went out on the road again in 2015 in what they said would be “our last tour for the foreseeable future.”
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