MGMT – Late Night Tales

In recognition of their nine years of producing progressive, interesting and occasionally wonderfully radio-friendly music New York’s MGMT   take their turn curating the latest in the Late Night Tales series.

Here’s the form of Late Night Tales for those unfamiliar with the series. An artist is asked to curate a compilation of around 20 tracks they like to listen to late at night and as the dawn breaks.

Of these the final one is always spoken word, with a Paul Morley short story marking MGMT’s choice. In the middle somewhere the curators themselves cover a track and across the collection there are oddities, influential laid back tracks from the last 50 years and the occasional song from one of their contemporaries.

This is the third in the series we have reviewed following the 60/70s folk influenced effort by Midlake and the surprisingly good synth, goth, 60s soul mix by Anders Trentemøller. In terms of the cover version MGMT’s is the best of the bunch. Their choice of Bauhaus’ All We Ever Wanted Was Everything is a masterstroke. Those who admire the original will remember why they love it, while at the same time MGMT add a welcome, new summery feel to it.

Perhaps being a UK website we found the most interesting tracks to be those from our post punk and indie scene from the 1980s and 1990s. Disco Inferno’s Can’t See It Through is a perfect laid back opener and more than holds its own among Felt’s instrumental Red Indian , the Television Personalities Stop & Smell the Roses and Julian Cope’s Laughing Boy.

The choice of the lesser known Velvet Underground track Ocean is another high point.

It only really falls down on its choice of the quirky track. The comedy value of Drug Song, Dave Bixby’s earnest, Christian anti-drugs song from the 1960s, to an audience back from a night out is limited and far too obvious. Compared to Trentemøller’s inclusion of Jacqueline Taieb’s cheeky 1960s track ‘7Heures Du Matin’ I think MGMT could have done a little better here.

But it’s the most minor of gripes as the band have clearly taken this project to their hearts, raided their record collection and had a genuinely long, hard think about what their fans would like to listen to as dawn breaks.


by Joe Lepper


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *