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One spring day last year, Radar‘s then-music maven Matthew Thompson was walking around the office, holding up one of those big, blocky tape recorders that were ubiquitous in school classrooms during the Carter years—the audio device equivalent of nurse shoes. Some strange little band—MGMT??—had sent out the review copy of their first album as a cassette tape. The low-fi recorder was included for playing it. Thompson shook his head and muttered about all the gimmicks he’d seen for albums and how this was the only one that had actually enticed him to listen right away. In the June 2007 issue of Radar he penned a short item effusing about not only the marketing tactic, but the album itself.
Radar was among the first to venture that opinion but now has a lot of company. In June, the British music magazine NME declared MGMT the hottest band in the world. They had a two page spread in New York, and there are rumors of a Spin cover. MGMTs music was even featured in the premiere of 90210, Babylon 5 last week. It’s a safe bet that soon you’ll be hearing their songs—”Electric Feel,” “Time to Pretend,” “Kids,” etc.—in commercials for credit card companies and Japanese cars.