of Montreal’s music is hard to define, given it changes more often than frontman Kevin Barnes’ sequined and feathered outfits during a live show. One album might be heavy on the drum machine and synthesizer, while another showcases Barnes’ best high-pitched Prince wail with more traditional strings and percussion. The Atlanta band boasts a prodigious body of work; in a decade and a half, Barnes and Co. have churned out 10 albums, eight collections and 29 singles and EPs, including their most recent effort, thecontrollersphere (Polyvinyl). Barnes and of Montreal’s two art directors—wife Nina Barnes (a.k.a. geminitactics) and brother David Barnes—will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with him.
Kevin: I think it was in the kitchen of the house that Julian Koster, the Late B.P. Helium and Jeff Magnum lived at on Grady Street that I first heard Os Mutantes. I think John Fernandez had dumped the first two Os Mutantes records onto a cassette tape, and Julian and I listened to it on a boombox while he made pasta or something. It was one of those moments I’ll never forget. It didn’t matter that we didn’t share a spoken language (most Os Mutantes lyrics are in their native Portuguese)—I fell in love with them. I fell in love with their complete disregard for conventional song arranging, their insanely infectious hooks and, most of all, their wildly creative spirit. I don’t know what kind of music I would have made these last few years if not for the influence of Os Mutantes, but I’m sure it would be much lamer.