For those not familiar with the Daytrotter website, it’s a gold mine of live sessions created for fan consumption. Their mandate of minimal production during the recording process offers listeners an especially intimate look at bands, plus most sessions are available as free downloads. No overdubs or other enhancements filter the experience – everything is captured on analog tape just as it happened that day. The songs are stripped bare and therefore wonderfully raw.
Daytrotter posted a MGMT session on January 3rd, this year’s first signature offering. It was recorded not at the Rock Island, Illinois headquarters, but during Moogfest at Echo Mountain in North Carolina last October. Listening to MGMT’s complex arrangements explained why the group looked like they were concentrating so hard up on stage at the Asheville Civic Center when PopMatters caught their performance at the festival. The band kicks off with “Song for Dan Treacy”, full of meandering musical parts that are glossed over on last year’s release, Congratulations. “It’s Working” showcases a driving beat which seems to carry the band along happily in its wake. “I Found a Whistle” utilizes a more upbeat tempo than the studio version and swings with new energy. The closer, “Only a Shadow” is an obscure cover by the ’80s band the Cleaners from Venus, a fun highlight on the band’s latest tour.