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Jeff Magnum returns after years away from the spotlight

Fifteen years ago, Neutral Milk Hotel released one of the most influential and acclaimed albums in indie rock. The band broke up soon afterward, and their leader disappeared. But with a recent series of concert dates, Jeff Mangum seems to be getting his “airplane” flying again.

Published: January 18, 2013

The stuff of rock ’n’ roll legend is packed with disasters, but sometimes a disappearance can feel just as tragic.

If Kevin Shields actually delivers on that My Bloody Valentine album in 2013, it will be a full 22 years after the release of the 1991 shoegazer masterpiece, “Loveless.” Before David Bowie announced this month — on his 66th birthday, no less — that he would release a new album in March titled “The Next Day,” it was widely assumed that the Thin White Duke would not be returning. It took Brian Wilson 35 years to complete “SMILE.” And some people, like Syd Barrett and Skip Spence, never returned, their genius diverted by misadventure or madness.

But in the pantheon...
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