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Neutral Milk Hotel - On Avery Island Music Album Reviews

Each Sunday, Pitchfork takes an in-depth look at a significant album from the past, and any record not in our archives is eligible. Today, we revisit the oft-overshadowed debut from indie rock icons, a smaller and more intimate look into the mercurial world of Jeff Mangum.
In the mid-’90s, Jeff Mangum moved into a haunted closet in Denver where he had dreams of women in fur coats drinking champagne, yelling at him to get out of their house. During a snowy Colorado winter, the Louisiana-born songwriter and his childhood friend Robert Schneider set about recording what would become Neutral Milk Hotel’s debut album. They worked feverishly, going out to smoke cigarettes when they hit a roadblock, until, in May of 1995, they had a finished record. The North Carolina indie label Merge scooped up the young band and quietly released On Avery Island the following March.





2019 INFINITI QX60 Review

Newly standard advanced safety features keep the svelte 2019 Infiniti QX60 relevant for family buyers.
There’s always room for another luxury crossover.

The 2019 Infiniti QX60 trades on its subtle style and newfound focus on safety to tempt shoppers lured by high-tech dashboards and myriad USB ports.

The 2019 QX60 earns a 6.3 on our overall scale thanks to newly standard automatic emergency braking and its good looks. 

With the QX60, Infiniti wraps a seductive shape around three rows of seats. The big crossover hides its weight well and only reveals its 4,500-pound mass when its parked next to compacts.

Inside, most QX60s will be awash in leather, wood, metal, or all of the above. Base QX60s get synthetic leather as standard, but we suspect those versions will be few and far between.

All QX60s are powered this year by a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 295 horsepower teamed to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The CVT works unobtrusively but can’t squelch the V-6’s more agrarian tones—thankfully, standard active noise cancelation does that.

A hybrid version of the QX60 was discontinued two years ago.

We like the QX60’s serene ride and comfortable space for five, even on tall 19-inch wheels.

The QX60 holds up well in crash testing, buoyed this year by standard automatic emergency braking that’s becoming par for the course.

Offered in base “Pure” trim, the QX60 does better in mid-level “Luxe” with a handful of options thrown at it. Leather will be a common luxury touch, and we’d also add Infiniti’s driver-assist suite to reduce fatigue on long hauls.

A Limited package is newly available this year that throws everything at the QX60 but adds a breathtaking $19,000 to the Infiniti’s nearly $45,000 base price.

Subtle elegance helps the 2019 Infiniti QX60 hold its own against newer looking crossovers and SUVs.
Infiniti wraps an elegant shape around a three-row frame with the 2019 QX60. It’s a good look that has aged well, and it earns extra points inside and out for its stately appearance. We give it a 7 out of 10 for looks. 

The Infiniti QX60 has been nipped and tucked throughout its life and it manages to hide its weight well. The Infiniti starts with a puckered grille up front that’s bookended by headlights to frame its floating badge.

The profile is punctuated by long chrome strips that arrive at a graceful crescent-shaped kickback that many Infinitis wear well. The look is different than similar features found on the Q60 coupe, and the QX60 wears it well.

The roofline isn’t overtly aggressive by sloping toward the rear end—a three-row trend these days—and the tailgate finishes up nicely in the rear with a gentle curve.

Inside, the QX60 is busy with Infiniti’s knobs and switches, but clad with high-quality materials that damp the minor disturbances. One quibble: Do we still need an analog clock in the dash?

Horsepower, schmorsepower. The 2019 Infiniti QX60 just needs a glassy ride, and it has one.
Middle of the road is just fine for family crossovers whose primary mission is to keep kids sleeping—not shaken.

We give the 2019 Infiniti QX60 a 5 out of 10 for a good ride but vague steering. 

The only powertrain available in the QX60 is a well-worn 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 295 horsepower mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

The combo returns up to 22 mpg combined, but also returns some harsh noises that makes active noise cancellation not only standard in all models, but also necessary.

Front-wheel drive is the QX60’s preference, but all-wheel drive can be added for $1,800 for all-weather confidence. The QX60 is rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds, which is a hearty sum for a big family crossover.

Three years ago, Infiniti stiffened the QX60 with better drivability in mind. We’re not so sure they succeeded, but it didn’t spoil the ride quality.

In previous drives we’ve noticed that the QX60’s steering feels unnaturally light and lacks consequence. Tipping the drive selector knob into sport modes doesn’t help much, but it does relieve us from the annoying “EcoPedal” that seemingly pushes back on deep stabs at the throttle to encourage more fuel-efficient drives.
Comfort & Quality
Luxurious, but not necessarily spacious, the 2019 Infiniti QX60 is a competent family crossover.
Three-row crossovers like the 2019 Infiniti QX60 have become default minivan replacements for middle America. Seating for seven, tough upholstery that can withstand ground-in Cheerios, and enough cargo space for a small soccer team are a must.

The 2019 QX60 largely delivers, but it’s on the small side. Starting from an average score of five, the Infiniti gets points above average for luxury appointments, first-class first- and second-row seats, but loses one on a cramped third row. Cargo space with a full-boat of passengers is only adequate. It earns a 7 out of 10.

The QX60’s related to the Nissan Pathfinder, but with higher quality finishes. Even base versions of the Infiniti are pleasant, and top trims are shod with leather, clad with wood, swathed with soft-touch.
The front seats are primo spots, but the back seats aren’t far behind. The second row slides fore and aft 5.5 inches for ample leg room and access to the third row.

We don’t have as much for the third row, which has flat bottoms and scant 30.8 inches of rear seat leg room, which lags many competitors including the Dodge Durango, Honda Pilot, and Acura MDX.

With all three rows in place, the QX60 holds up to 16 cubic feet of gear, but with some of that space near or above the backrests, it’s only a paper gain beyond a typical sedan. Tumble down the third row and that space improves to up to 40.5 cubic feet, or with the second row stored the QX60 maxes out on 76.5 cubic feet of cargo room.

Newly standard automatic emergency braking helps the 2019 Infiniti QX60 earn top marks.
Federal and independent safety officials largely agree on the 2019 Infiniti QX60’s admirable crashworthiness and newly standard advanced safety features help it climb higher on our scale.

Starting from an average score of 5, the QX60 earns points for a five-star overall rating by the feds and earns another for its new advanced driver assist features. Standard automatic emergency braking is new for 2019, so we land at an 8 for safety.

In government tests, the 2019 Infiniti QX60 earned a five-star overall rating, which included four-star ratings for front and rollover crash protection. The insurance industry-funded IIHS gave the QX60 mostly “Good” ratings on all its crash tests, but an “Acceptable” for its passenger-side small overlap crash protection. A “Poor” rating for the QX60’s headlights disqualifies it for any Top Safety Pick consideration.

Base versions of the 2019 Infiniti QX60 include blind-spot monitors, which is a boon to otherwise poor outward vision. A standard complement of airbags and stability control systems are included for all passengers.

This year, Infiniti’s ProAssist suite of advanced driver’s aids is available on the QX60. For roughly $5,000 on QX60 Luxe models (once prerequisite features are included), the ProAssist features add active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warnings. The suite can help reduce driver fatigue on long drives.

No 2019 Infiniti QX60 is spartan but base versions don’t offer any optional extras.
The 2019 Infiniti QX60 earns its luxury stripes in its standard features. The options list is short and most features are bundled into pricey packages that aren’t available on base models.

Starting from an average score, the QX60 gets points for a large infotainment screen and good base features. It earns a 7 out of 10. 

This year, the QX60 is available in two trim levels, dubbed Pure and Luxe. A Limited trim package is available for Luxe versions that’s new for this year, but at nearly $17,000 all-in its value is questionable.

Base versions are equipped with 18-inch wheels, synthetic leather upholstery, heated seats, five USB charge ports, blind-spot monitors, forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, and an 8.0-inch display for infotainment. All-wheel drive adds $1,800.

The next step up is our best pick for value because it’s the only way to equip the crossover with family-friendly features. The 2019 Infiniti QX60 Luxe adds a heated steering wheel, premium audio, and remote start for $1,800 more than the base version. From there, rear seat entertainment, leather upholstery, adaptive cruise control and active lane control, or high-end audio is available, but bundled into pricey packages.

The top trim is a Limited package that adds the farm: rear-seat entertainment, active safety, premium audio, 20-inch wheels, heated rear seats, power-folding third row, heated and cooled front seats, dual-pane sunroof, power liftgate, and softer leather for more than $64,000 to start. Our favorite detail: leather-trimmed grab handles with contrast stitching.

Fuel Economy
Despite its relative age, the 2019 Infiniti QX60 stays fuel efficient among luxury three-row crossovers.
With a hybrid version now long gone, the 2019 Infiniti QX60’s fuel economy keeps pace with three-row competitors.

With all-wheel drive, the 2019 Infiniti QX60 checks in with the EPA’s calculators at 19 mpg city, 26 highway, 22 combined. That’s good enough for a 4 on our scale.

Opting for front-wheel drive doesn’t help much: 20/27/22 mpg, according to the EPA.

Other crossovers do the same or better with fewer cylinders, more gears, battery packs, or all of the above. The Acura MDX is rated at 22 mpg combined with all-wheel drive, or 27 mpg combined with a hybrid powertrain. The Buick Enclave and Chevy Traverse manage 21 mpg combined with a V-6 and 9-speed automatic.

The Volvo XC90 is rated around 22 mpg or better, but offers a spendy plug-in powertrain that can dramatically improve fuel efficiency.



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