It’s safe to say MGMT are responsible for the week’s strangest late-night TV musical performance. Of course, everybody is on vacation, so Late Show With David Letterman was pretty much the only game in town. Letterman’s other guests this week have been John Mayer in a peace-sign jacket playing that down-home new song where he claps like Edward Lumineers & Sons (you could tell Dave really liked that one); John Legend cheesing it up on a piano ballad (“What’s going on in that beautiful mind / I’m on your magical mystery ride,” he sang); and Kickstarter-incubated roots-pop maestro Valerie June.
Last night Late Show had MGMT, listlessly banging on a giant cowbell lettered with the words “BE AWARE.” The six-some did “Your Life Is a Lie,” a choppy, deadpan psych-pop burst from their self-titled album, due out September 17. Unlike the song’s rapidly shifting video, they barely moved. Andrew VanWyngarden wore star-shaped glasses worthy of an Elton John costume, and a necklace with teeth on it, and some sort of poncho thing. The clapping was slow to arrive, but Paul Schaffer could be heard roaring, “Oh yeah!” It might not have been entirely successful, but it might’ve been the most discussion-worthy Letterman musical performance since the Flaming Lips’ baby-alien invasion.