The Psychedelic, Indie-Synth, Electro Sounds of MGMT

I first heard of The Management from a friend I used to work with who brought a CD-R of their music into work one day for us to listen to. This was sometime in 2004 or 2005. Most of what I heard was pretty rudimentary, bland keyboard jamming stuff but one track, “Kids” was catchy as hell. These guys were supposed to be connected to Athens band The Whigs somehow (and earlier this year The Whigs bass player quit and joined up with The Management) but I have no idea what the connection was. I pretty much forgot about them until someone mentioned their name.

Between then and now The Managment, who pretentiously changed their name to the super macho looking MGMT, released an EP, got signed to Columbia Records and is about to head out for a massive 2 month tour with Of Montreal.

Wondering what they sound like? Well, check them out but, whatever you do, do not describe them as “Indie”, “Psychedelic”, “Synth” or “Electro”. The band made a big hoo-ha about how they do not want to be written about over at

The utter, fabulous douche-baggery of Who Is MGMT is mind-blowing.

Oh, let’s just parse the whole page:

This is not a concept album, and we do not want it to be promoted as a concept album, however it does address many similar themes dealing mostly with current apocalyptic confusion and post- apocalyptic survivalism, paralleled by an underlying narrative of signing to a major label and leading fantasy rock star lives.

Translation: it’s a concept album but since most concept albums suck please, please don’t kill our sales by describing it as that.

We do not want the word “psychedelic” to be used to describe this music in any case. We feel the music is inherently psychedelic, has been inspired by actual use of psychedelic drugs, and reflects and references many artists which can be described as “psychedelic.” However, this word has become way overused and completely bland,

Translation: We think our record is psychedelic but that term is so overused that if you use it to describe us it will hurt our sales. Please, please don’t.

Similarly, MGMT is not an “Indie” band or a “Synth” or “Electro” pop band in any sense of the word.

The first is totally true and the second two are total lies. (See mp3s below).

We don’t want to come across as fake in any sense…

Too late.

Of course, there’s always a chance that none of this was written by the band at all. A quick WHOIS check reveals their website is owned by Sony-BMG. So the whole thing may have been written by some poor label schmuck. The chance of this is, admittedly, very slight. But, their website is far from the only beef available when it come to “MGMT”. Just look at what the company hired to do their radio publicity says about them! Aw, hell, let’s parse this too:

Andrew Vanwyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, two psychic pilgrims whose paths first intersected in the green pastures of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, circa 2002.

Translation: These two kids met at a rich kids school.

The pair was drawn to the music of other duos and found themselves incorporating the implications of the hallucinatory power-twee of the Incredible String Band…

You know what? Fuck anyone who describes The Incredible String Band in such bullshit terms.

As on-campus performance art provocateurs, Andrew and Ben began staging a series of “these obnoxious, noisy live electronic shows — we never planned on having it be a recorded project — where we would write these weird techno loops and arrangements that we could play with live. Most of it was running live off the computer and we had a turntable plugged into some guitar pedals, a radio, and a tape player. It was all electronically generated at that point. We would write a new song for each show and our shows would be 15 minutes long.”

Translation: Obnoxious kids at an uber-expensive, exclusive college doing obnoxious, unoriginal performance art! Wow! Stop the press! Someone call Brett Easton Ellis!

“Kids are going to be inheriting their parents MP3 collections,” Ben predicts. “And, in that aesthetic, corrupted MP3 files will be like the way people glorify scratched-up records now. In 20 years, people will listen to these 30th generation MP3s and say, ‘I love that sound!'”

No one “glorifies” a “scratched up” record and no one is going to give a flying shit about your MP3s in even a couple of years, much less 20. Besides, if the legacy you leave your children is a MP3 collection then they have bigger problems than music formats.

So, yeah, that’s the douche bag alert for today. Judge for yourself. Oh, yeah, feel free to write about them, too. But make damn sure you do it correctly.
Otherwise, you know, you might really piss someone in management off.

(Note: Who would have ever thought that Brooklyn Vegan makes posts by just copying promotion company blurbs? Please Google the phrase “MGMT is: Andrew Vanwyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, two psychic pilgrims” and see for yourself.)

(This is not the psychedelic cover art of a concept album called Oracular Spectacular that comes out next month. It not!)

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9 Responses to The Psychedelic, Indie-Synth, Electro Sounds of MGMT

  1. Anonymous says:

    someone needs to get laid.. (you)

  2. Anonymous says:

    duder… I hear you on all points… they *are* rich kids taking rich drugs to make rich music to… or something… but what can I say? I dig the music! Especially “Time To Pretend”… the new version from “Oracular Spectacular” – it’s out there somewhere. Anyway, isn’t that true of a lot of our favorite bands / musicians? Art needs a benefactor…

  3. Gordon Lamb says:

    duder… I hear you on all points… they *are* rich kids taking rich drugs to make rich music to… or something… but what can I say? I dig the music!

    Oh, yeah, I hear ya. I wasn’t saying anything about their actual music (which is, to me, hit and miss but sometimes great). Hell, Pussy Galore were rich kids taking drugs and making music; Gram Parsons, too.

    Although, admittedly, I’m much more into Pussy Galore and Parsons than MGMT.

  4. Gordon Lamb says:

    It should be noted that I Like this band but am totally irritated by by sites like and flowery, hyperbolic hype sheets.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The whole point of them referring to themselves as psychic pilgrims is a joke. This is all in jest…these guys are fabulous and are in awe of what they have been presented with, believe me. Also, the MGMT abbreviation was not a preference, but a demand on behalf of Sony since there is already a rapper who calls himself “The Management.” The music is great, I don’t know why people wear themselves out hating on things like when anyone who knows anything about the music industry knows that all the B.S. we see is politics. I just care about their music, which is even better live.

  6. mose says:

    Also, for the record, they aren’t RICH. Not even close. Middle-class parents; grounded, funny guys.

  7. Gordon Lamb says:

    Middle class kids don’t go to $50,000 a-year colleges. God, why won’t this post die…

  8. Anonymous says:

    yeah we do.

  9. Kerry says:

    I just hate how everyone thinks they’re an indie band. Their label is major, not independent. Thanks for making that clear.

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