Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.
Harry Koisser, PEACE – MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular
Ten years ago I was 17, incredibly square and obsessed with Led Zeppelin. I genuinely took so much pleasure from Houses of the Holy that I despised pretty much everything else & had a blanket hate over everything modern.
I’m not going to write about Houses of the Holy or Remain in Light or something because we shan’t have the time, instead, the record that got me out of the 70’s and made me live my life in the present; ORACULAR SPECTACULAR by MGMT.
It was 2008 & somehow I had ended up going to Reading festival where I literally didn’t know any of the bands on the lineup. I can remember later in the weekend watching The Killers and being like “who the fuck are these guys, Elliot?” and Elliot making furious eye contact with me as he howled along “I GOT SOUL BUT I’M NOT A SOLDIER”.
Everyone was excited to go see MGMT, first in the NME tent, so I pretended to know who they were as we walked through the small piles of waste to get to the arena.
The show was unbelievable. I’d never been to a festival and I’d never been that wasted or heard that much reverb before. I didn’t know any of their songs but Andrew VanWyngarden was wearing a floor length iridescent robe & the guitarist looked so unhygienic, it was a disgrace.
The music was incredibly groovy and powerful and I genuinely couldn’t believe they existed.
I was actually thrilled to be in 2008 at that moment, something I’d been particularly upset about before.
When I got home, I got lost in the record.
The fundamental thing I love about this record is that there is one the best pop songs ever, ‘Electric Feel’, on a record that if taken with precisely the correct amount of ketamine, can put you directly in touch with god.
I understood that the record was as retroactive as it was forward thinking, and was very 70’s club but also for people like me born in the 90’s. There really wasn’t anything else as sexy as MGMT around that time which ticked that box.
Being into a modern band and being able to talk about something modern helped me make friends, girls seemed to be interested in the fact that I had tickets to their Birmingham show & I covered ‘Pieces of What’ for my music project, which impressed EVERYBODY.
For me and my best friend Boycie, we took great pleasure in telling people that we were both more fans of “the second half” of the record.
The point that shit gets real on this album is when ‘Kids’ is done & ‘4th Dimensional Transition’ beings. At this moment, you’d stop dancing, get off your BMX & lie on the grass letting the saliva drip slowly from the corners of your mouth and onto the cricket pitch.
I still howl ‘Pieces of What’ at the sky sometimes &’ The Handshake’ boasts some of my all time favourite timbres.
I have spent the last ten years loving the music that influenced this record and now enjoy all kinds of far-out cool shit as well as stuff like, I don’t know, Toploader, but I will always remain violently protective of this record. It’s bizarre that as a 17-year-old, this album really opened the doorway for me, but for MGMT maybe not so much as they later dismissed it as a kind of in joke experiment to see if they could get big or something.
Does anything demonstrate the power of music and the majesty of perspective as much as the way that I feel like I’ll bury anyone who dare disrespect this record, including it’s creators if they must have it this way?
I’m not sure really, but the truth is that people are still moodboarding this record to make great radio pop & even if you don’t dig the way this record affected my life, you’re still gonna be grooving across the lawn like a happy sex chicken when auntie Sharon puts ‘Electric Feel’ on at the family barbecue.
Peace’s new album ‘Kindness Is The New Rock and Roll’ is out now!