Neutral Milk Hotel's Label Greatly Underestimated 'In the Aeroplane Over the Sea'

Read Merge Records' modest 1997 Master Release Form for the would-be indie-rock classic

neutral milk hotel, in the aeroplane over the sea, merge records
Courtesy of Merge Records' Facebook page
Kyle McGovern WRITTEN BY
Kyle McGovern

In the spirit of Neutral Milk Hotel's current reunion tour, Merge Records has dug up an old relic from the psych-folk project's early days. The North Carolina indie label has shared a photo of a document containing the original master release information for NMH's second album, 1998's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. The Facebook post is captioned as follows: "The original master release info for Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, circa July 1997. It has sold more than we initially expected." 

According to the form, Merge expected the follow-up to 1996's On Avery Island to move 5,500 units on CD and sell 1,600 copies on vinyl. (For context, Aeroplane ranked as the sixth highest selling vinyl of 2008, 10 years after its initial release.) The document also lists the record as being a self-titled effort, lays out plans for a tour of 30 or so dates, and credits NMH mastermind Jeff Mangum as the "decision-making band member." Also not-at-all surprising: Mangum's phone number is listed as "Disconnected at the moment."

Check out the Master Release Form below, then scroll further for a long list of Neutral Milk Hotel's 2014 tour dates. And for an in-depth look at the legacy and influence of Merge Records, read SPIN's feature Merge Country: How Superchunk's Label Turned Durham Into a Thriving Indie-Rock Company Town

Neutral Milk Hotel tour dates: 

January 13 - Ithaca, NY @ The State Theatre *
January 14 - Jersey City, NJ @ Loew's Theatre *
January 16 - Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre *
January 17 - Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre *
January 18 - Montreal, QC @ Olympia *
January 19 - Toronto, ON @ Kool Haus *
January 20 - Toronto, ON @ Kool Haus *
January 22 - Port Chester, NY @ The Capitol Theatre *
January 23 - Brooklyn, NY @ BAM Howard Gilman Opera House *
January 24 - Brooklyn, NY @ BAM Howard Gilman Opera House *
January 25 - Brooklyn, NY @ BAM Howard Gilman Opera House *
January 27 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall *
January 28 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall *
January 29 - Upper Darby, PA @ Tower Theatre *
January 30 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer *
January 31 - Washington, D.C. @ DAR Constitution Hall *
February 1 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle *
February 2 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle *
February 4 - Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium *
February 5 - St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant *
February 6 - Chicago, IL @ The Riviera Theatre *
February 7 - Chicago, IL @ The Riviera Theatre *
February 8 - Madison, WI @ Orpheum Theater *
February 10 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue *
February 11 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue *
February 13 - Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theatre *
February 14 - Tulsa, OK @ Cain's Ballroom *
February 15 - Dallas, TX @ Majestic Theatre *
February 17 - Austin, TX @ ACL Live at the Moody Theater *
February 18 - Austin, TX - ACL Live at the Moody Theater *
February 19 - Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live *
February 20 - New Orleans, LA @ Civic Theatre *
February 21 - New Orleans, LA @ Civic Theatre *
March 26 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Carnegie Theatre *
March 27 - Indianapolis, IN @ Old National Centre *
March 29 - Omaha, NE @ Sokol Auditorium *
March 30 - Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater *
March 31 - Denver, CO @ Ogden Theater *
April 1 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot *
May 15 - Belfast, Northern Ireland @ Limelight
May 16 - Dublin, Ireland @ Vicar Street
May 17 - Manchester, England @ Manchester Albert Hall
May 18 - Manchester, England @ Manchester Albert Hall
May 19 - Glasgow, Scotland @ Barrowland
May 21 - London, England @ Roundhouse
May 22 - London, England @ Roundhouse
May 23 - London, England @ Roundhouse
May 24 - Utrecht, Netherlands @ Tivoli-De Helling
May 25 - Paris, France @ Le Trianon
May 27 - Toulouse, France @ Metronum
May 29-31 - Barcelona, Spain @ Primavera Sound Festival
June 1 - Munich, Germany @ Kammerspiel
June 2 - Zagreb, Croatia @ Culture Factory
June 4 - Padova, Italy @ Castello Carrarese
June 5 - Ravenna, Italy @ Beaches Brew
June 6-7 Porto, Portugal @ Optimus Primavera Sound
August 8 - Oslo, Norway @ Oya Festival 

* = with Elf Power

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