Jeff Mangum (born October 24, 1970 in Ruston, Louisiana) is a musician best known for being the lyricist, vocalist and guitarist of the band Neutral Milk Hotel, as well as being one of the cofounders of The Elephant 6 Recording Company. Mangum, along with the other founding members of the Elephant 6, attended Ruston High School in the late 1980s. The friends shared a passion for bands of the 1960s such as The Zombies, as well as an affinity for newer, noisier bands such as Sonic Youth and Minutemen. They reflected these influences in the tapes they recorded and shared with each other, forming the seeds of what would become the Elephant 6 Collective
Tall Firs were formed in 1990 when teenagers Dave Mies and Aaron Mullan taught one another to play guitar over the telephone in Annapolis, Maryland. Eleven years later they played their first gig, having crawled to Brooklyn, NY in the interim. Halfway through the second decade of searching for a drummer, Ryan Sawyer finally assumed the throne.
A near-telepathic nonchalance pervades the music of the Tall Firs. The interwoven melodies of the two guitars converse in a language that has evolved an unsettling familiarity like birdies on a remote island. The drums comment on the discussion, push or pull it, effortlessly gliding from free time to strict metronome and back over the course of a single measure. Melancholic incantations reminiscent of Joni Mitchell or Jackson C. Frank transition into open-tuning workouts of despair and beauty like Mississippi John Hurt throwing down with Wire.
In New York, the band has packed Lower East Side hotspot Tonic, been curated by Jim ORourke to perform at The Stone, and done gigs at dive bars, amphitheatres, and illegal loft spaces while maintaining a semi-residence at Williamsburgs Union Pool. Tall Firs have shared bills with Sonic Youth, Oneida, Awesome Color, Samara Lubelski, P.G. Six, Tim Foljahn, and Corsano/Flaherty amongst other Brooklyn and New England weirdos.