MGMT Dare You to Call Them Hippies

So I am sitting here at my always cluttered desk and on it, oddly and appropriately sitting next to one another, are “Peace: The Biography of a Symbol” (a book marking the 50th anniversary of the peace symbol), and a press release from Columbia Records touting the fact that their breakout band MGMT will be playing the Big Three US festivals this summer: Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza. Plus, in June, they’ll play Glastonbury and open for a little band by the name of Radiohead. But I digress. Back to the peace symbol book being next to MGMT --

"Hippie" is, I think, a much-maligned and none-too-fashionable word -- one that probably has never applied to me, but I wouldn't mind if it were. And it’s a term that's been thrown liberally about in describing Ben and Andrew of MGMT, as well as folks like their erstwhile tourmates Yeasayer. (Ohio punk band Psychedelic Horses--- even dedicated a not-so-flattering song to Yeasayer called "New Wave Hippies." But more on that indie beef another time...)

Now, certainly there are psychedelic elements to MGMT, and certainly they have politically lefty roots (Wesleyan U, plus Andrew’s dad Bruce VanWyngarden is the editor of Memphis alt paper The Memphis Flyer). The press release calls MGMT "mind-bending" and "futurist" -– OK, but what about the "h" word?

How does the band feel about the term? Find out after the jump.

When I talked to MGMT a few weeks back and brought up the "h" word, they were, kinda surprisingly, not bothered by it at all. “It’s not offensive. Sure, I think we’re hippies,” said Ben. Well, that wasn’t so hard. Still, Andrew added, “Yeah, we’re hippies -- but we like to destroy things, too.”

Plus, their embrace of the term doesn't necessarily extend to all hippie fashion. Though Andrew has done as much to re-popularize the headband as American Apparel, tie dye is another matter. “The French press was asking us how we felt about being responsible for the return of tie dye -- which I don’t get, but if it’s true we feel bad about it," Andrew told me. "Although I am wearing tie-dyed fleece socks that my stepmother gave me.”

Whether or not you think the boys’ Oracular is in fact Spectacular, they have already turned out possibly the greatest single of the year in "Time to Pretend," a stunning video to go along with it. An animated one in the future, for "Weekend War," is still a possibility. And remember -- Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Bonnaroo. Just don’t expect to see 'em in tie dye.