Tame Impala Will Make You Holla
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Their last album, 2012’s Lonerism, came out in grand style. Love them now and get a jump on the 2014 bandwagon.
By Josephine Basch
Prince. Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. Kevin Parker of Tame Impala.
What do these three men have in common?
They have all released albums on which they sang, composed and played every musical part. Some would call it a control issue; others would say it’s a testament to their creative genius. In Parker’s case, it just makes the most sense. But more on that later.
Accolades aside, behind this multilayered musical kaleidoscope is one young man who likes to make music alone — and takes his time doing it.
When Tame Impala first came on the scene in 2008, with the release of their self-titled debut EP, they were met with high praise in their native Australia. Various charts, “hottest 100” lists, and fans and critics alike agreed that they were definitely a band to watch. In an ocean of monotonous material, their perfect blend of modernized psychedelic rock and catchy pop songs was undeniable. Tame Impala’s first full-length studio album, Innerspeaker (2010), proved that the group was poised for international success. This time around, they not only won the Australian Album of the Year at the J Awards but were also the recipients of the Rolling Stone Award for Album of the Year.
Accolades aside, behind this multilayered musical kaleidoscope is one young man who likes to make music alone — and takes his time doing it. In truth, Tame Impala (the music) is Parker’s brainchild, while Tame Impala (the band) is the family that helps raise the music and bring it forth into the world. A winning formula that went from a “wooden house”/studio in Perth, to Coachella, Webster Hall, the Fillmore and a particularly rocking set at Glastonbury last summer.
The highly anticipated 2012 album Lonerism took two “agonizing years” of recording, tweaking and tinkering, says Parker. Two insecure years of self-doubt, dissatisfaction and finally self-acceptance, and the stunning result speaks for itself. Lonerism managed to exceed all expectations by giving listeners a no-holds-barred auditory experience, with loneliness and alienation as its central themes.
As for the band, 2013 marked their biggest world tour to date, three ARIA awards, another Rolling Stone Award, a 2014 Grammy Award nomination for Best Alternative Music Album, and the placement of Lonerism hit “Elephant” in the BlackBerry Z10 commercial. A musical journey of experimentation, isolation and ultimately growth that has proven to be fruitful for the 27-year-old Parker and his touring band of buddies, Tame Impala.
The live set at Glastonbury shows how their tempo control is varied, with the slow grind of the jam session intro to the energetic thrust of “Elephant.” The band members sway to the former melodies and then bang through the latter.
Tame? They’re anything but.
- Josephine Basch, OZY Author Contact Josephine Basch