psychedelic indie rock music

Coachella Band Preview: Tame Impala

Welcome back to week 1 of Coachella Band Previews. As always, we’ve got 3 months and a lot of listening to do. This week I decided to start strong with Saturday night headliner Tame Impala. As I said in my lineup release post, I was super hyped to see Tame Impala’s name in big letters as a headliner this year so it made sense that I previewed them before everyone else. Needless to say, I’ve never actually wrote about them on this blog before either. Not until today that is.

Tame Impala is an Australian psychedelic indie pop rock band based out of Perth. The band was formed in 2007 as a home recording project of guitarist and vocalist, Kevin Parker. He started posting the music to his MySpace page which began receiving some attention from music labels. He then brought Dominic Simper (bass) and Jay Watson (drums) into the mix for live shows. Now Simper and Watson are playing different instruments in the band (guitar and synth for both as well as vocals for Watson) and Cam Avery (bass, vocals) and Julien Barbagallo (drums, vocals) have joined as well.

The band released their debut self-titled EP in September 2008. Three songs from the five song EP received national airplay. The EP reached number 1 on the Australian Independent Records Labels Chart as well as number 10 on the ARIA Physical Singles Chart. The band embarked on tours in support of You Am I, The Black Keys, Yeasayer, and MGMT as well as a national headlining tour in support of their EP. They released a new single “Sundown Syndrome” in 2009 and continued touring through 2010.

2010 also brought the band’s first full length album Innerspeaker which was received with general and critical acclaim nationally and in the U.K. and U.S. The band received 4 ARIA Music Award nominations that year as well, but did not win in any category they were nominated for.

The group’s second album Lonerism was release in October of 2012. Like its predecessor, the new album again received praise in Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. It was voted the number one album of the year from mediums in all 3 countries. The group then embarked on an international tour in 2012 through 2013. This included the group’s second stop at Coachella (the first was in 2011). It was in 2013 that original member Nick Allbrook left the band and Cam Avery took his place. The album also received a 2014 Grammy Nomination for Best Alternative Music Album.

The band’s most recent album Currents was released in July 2015. To date the album is the band’s best charting release, reaching number one in Australia, number three in the U.K., and number four in the U.S. The album won 2 ARIA awards for Best Rock Album and Album of the Year and was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.

Parker recently said that there will be new music for Tame Impala in 2019. As of now, no official date for an album is known. A first time headlining spot at Coachella might just be the place to preview some new tracks though.

Tame Impala’s style of music can be best described as trippy. It is psychedelic rock after all, but it’s much more rock oriented than the kind of music you’d hear from psychedelic jam bands like the Grateful Dead or Phish. “Let It Happen” does close in on the 8 minute mark though. It’s more on the indie rock spectrum of music than other well known bands associated with psychedelic music.

I’m not sure how or where I first heard Tame Impala, but I began listening to them around the Lonerism era. I actually purchased Lonerism from Amoeba Records in Hollywood on my first visit to California (one of my all time favorite vacations). I bought it in CD form because I didn’t think I’d be able to transport a record properly on an airplane. I can’t say I binged on the CD after that but I’ve definitely been listening to Tame Impala here and there ever since.

2019 marks Tame Impala’s 4th Coachella appearance. After playing in 2011 and 2013, the band then played again in 2015. This is of course the first headlining spot for the Australian rockers. I’m not sure what kind of crowd size Tame Impala will draw. They’re definitely not as big of a headliner as Beyoncé was last year. I’m guessing Bassnectar will overlap in set times as well, which hopefully may pull a lot of the youth attendees to the Sahara Tent or Outdoor Stage, wherever Bassnectar may be posted up. Tame Impala’s performance will surely be epic production wise. I’m hoping it’s comparable to or beyond that of Panorama 2017’s headlining set. The visuals, lasers, strobes, and everything in between brought an incredible vibe to Randall’s Island that night, which I hope translates to the Polo fields come April. So now it’s time to start listening to Tame Impala for the next three months, here’s what you need to hear:

  1. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
  2. Let It Happen
  3. Elephant
  4. The Less I Know The Better
  5. Half Full Glass of Wine
  6. Solitude is Bliss
  7. Mind Mischief
  8. Eventually
  9. Cause I’m A Man
  10. New Person, Same Old Mistakes

 

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