Single Review – Tame Impala – List of People (To try and Forget About)

Over two years since the release of the acclaimed Currents Tame Impala are still releasing material from those recording sessions, such is the appeal of the sound they forged a few hazy Australian summers ago. The pick of these new releases is ‘List of People (To try and Forget About) which offers up a meandering style of track that would have fitted hand in glove into the album with the whirring, resonant electronica, crisp, rhythmic percussion and Kevin Parkers dream pop vocals. It is a song that is differs to the rest of the album in how it doesn’t seek the infectious hook, but wallows in the murky soundscapes it created for itself. With the buzz from this album still being felt over rated on, what direction will Kevin Parker get lost in next time? With the band taking a break for this year, it may some time before we find out; we’ve got a fantastic album to keep replaying in the meantime though.

Owen Riddle

Musicandotherthingz.com Best Album of 2015

Here are the list of twelve nominees for Best Album

 

3. Grimes – Art Angels (12%)

Grimes offered up the most comprehensive Pop album of 2015 with Art Angles in November. Everything from Taiwanese Rap to sweeping String Orchestra’s got a mention and everything in between. It had periods of sweet Pop bliss entwined with dark and mysterious depths for the album has a beautiful complexity to it in the battle of supremacy between the light hearted music and conflicted lyrics. Again she “sounded a bit like everything you’ve ever heard whilst sounding like nothing you’ve ever heard.” That is the constantly shifting enigma that is Grimes.

 

2. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly (16%)

This album was one of the most important in 2015 for it had the most important message of a nation in conflict with it’s fellow citizens. In no way was this encapsulated better than with To Pimp A Butterfly. Beyond the vital lyrical content and the more engaging delivery was the array of music on show. From Jazz to Hip Hop, Funk to Rock, it was an album of varied nature that kept you on your toes. It was often the case that the album would take you by surprise with a sudden turn or with the seamless transitions from one sound to another. Is it any wonder that the Album has received six Grammy nominations and Kendrick a further five for external work? Add to that a MOBO award nomination and surely some more accolades to come for Kendrick.

 

  1. Tame Impala – Currents (42%)

 

With what is none other than an absolute landslide, Tame Impala have produced the best album of 2015 with Currents according to the voters for Musicandotherthingz.com. Down from the shift in Philosophy from the band to the reliably fulfilling production from Kevin Parker, it was an album that showcased Dance, Disco, R&B, Electronica, Funk, Space Rock and Pop amongst other things. Around this was Parker’s self analysing lyrics and the emotion behind each one. On top of this was the vocal development from Parker in expanding his vocal range and utilising it on certain tracks to smooth out the song. With ‘Past Life’ he merged his vocals into the music for a wondrous wave of sound. ‘The Less I Know The Better’ was Funk remade for 2015 and ‘Let it Happen’ was Electro/Dance fantasia. With just as many technical awards as well as headline awards, this demonstrates that Currents was an excellent all round package.

Musicandotherthingz.com Best Production of 2015

Here’s the list of ten nominees for best production

 

3. Bjork & Arca – Vulnicura (17%)

Bjork and her legendary status for Avante-Garde and eccentric music was repeated by the Icelander again with Vulnicura. It is an album with sweeping string scales and intricate pieces of ambient and experimental Electronica which is delivered in a seamless and flowing fashion by Bjork and co-producer Arca; the Venezuelan producer and DJ who released an album of his own this year. The album is nominated for best Alternative Album at this year’s Grammy’s.

 

2. Mark Ronson – Uptown Special (29%)

Ronson’s fourth studio album was yet another success for the London Producer and though ‘Uptown Funk’ was a hit for which he’s already received accolades for in 2014, the album was released in January. Again he is able to bring together a range of musicians from differing genres and combine their songs into a consistently themed album. This only highlights his ability and working range. Having already won a BRIT Award, he is now nominated for three Grammy’s this year.

 

  1. Kevin Parker – Currents (33%)

Heralded as the “Genius” behind Tame Impala by the Rolling Stone; Kevin Parker has claimed such praise for Tame Impala’s  July release Currents. In the face of Hipster backlash, he largely ditched the guitar and picked up his Synth. His best work was behind the mixing table in generating a unitary sound between vocal and instrument, utilising pitch shifting brilliantly, creating one of the smoothest sounding albums of the year and mastering his own brand of Dance and Disco music. He’s unsurprisingly already picked up awards for Engineer and Producer of year at the AIRA Awards as well as the band winning three other AIRA awards and sweeping up awards elsewhere in Australia. The band now has a Grammy nomination to it’s name too and that’s no small thanks to Kevin Parker.

 

Really Good Remixes – Tame Impala – Cause I’m A Man (HAIM Remix)

Tame Impala’s single from their wondrous album Currents has been reimagined in an ever heavier and deeper way by HAIM with the group pulling up the percussion, adding added distortion to it and making it more prominent and adding the sort of heavy warping and shifting techniques Kevin Parker used and on much of the rest of the album and in this version would fit right in on the album too. The vocals from Danielle Haim can’t reach the falsetto peaks that Parker’s can, but she put her own spin on it in keeping with the lowered depths of the song and in this sense the song works in it’s own right.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Tame Impala – Currents Review

With one the most hotly anticipated albums of the year, Tame Impala have given us a generous serving of their third studio album Currents since the lead single ‘Let It Happen’ emerged online several months ago. Since then we’ve had three more that varied back to the blocky fuzz of their previous album as opposed to the dance driven album that’s been promised and replicated with ‘Let It Happen’. Kevin Parker has recently been speaking of making the music “He’s always wanted to do” and previously not following that up in order to keep Tame Impala with the realms of psych-rock, but with him now claiming that “boundaries are there to be broken” then you can only get excited by the promise of the album. The pivotal point here is that this is the first album delivered by the Perth quintet in the face of much attention and anticipation so have the laid back band cracked under the pressure? Have they been able to better their standards yet again?

‘Let it Happen’ is an spacious and rolling piece of neo-psychedelic dance music at nearly eight minutes long. It opens with flashing and wiry synths set above whirring electronica beneath it and this breathes in and out in its intensity to bring the focus to Kevin Parker’s isolated and wonderfully graceful vocals. As the track goes on the synths only increase in their pitch as they start to jam and repeat in a process that bridges the progression to the warped organ-like instrumental and the distorted percussion underneath it and back into the main tune. Parker’s whirring vocals lead into the brief distorted guitar parts which only enhance the current subtle tones of the song. It’s a wonderful track with the ability to be expansive and vast, immediate and catchy and wonderfully melodic too. Quite possibly the song of the year that’s the epitome of Parker’s aforementioned aims.  ‘Cause I’m a Man’ moves into slightly more familiar territory. It still embraces the fluid and smooth expanses that graced the first single, with chiming synths and Parkers sweeping and fading falsetto. These fluid soundscapes are tied around a gently meandering bass-line and a basic back beat. It is another track that doesn’t particularly focus on the guitar as a rhythm section tool as they have done, but instead they utilised them to add dimension to the chorus and carry the melody in a rough and typically distorted fashion. With this in mind, the single is more familiar than ‘Let it Happen’ with it’s laid back and hazy style, yet still maintains the altered instrumental focus that has so far been stressed with these two tracks.

With ‘Eventually’ they again feature vibrant electronica, more familiar fuzzy tones backed up with some excellent vocals by Kevin Parker with his smooth and hazy falsettos that filter through the track’s instrumentation. Here they demonstrate a subtlety and a fragility to their music. It has a simple beat and a wiry synth meandering around it which sets up the song for some well placed surges of distorted guitar to only emphasise the more considered tones as more washed out electronica flows over you. This culminates in a track that see’s it’s soundscapes blossom throughout the track instead of firing past you. A more considered approach. ‘Disciples’ sees their trademark bending guitar sound filling the sound space and being accentuated with warping and twisting synth drones and through this cuts Parker’s faded falsetto. The track shifts in and out of audible focus and this only heightens the hooks and the easy rhythm of the track which fades out before two minutes. ‘The Less I Know The Better’ offers up some funk injected psychedelia with the twisting bass line moving out and in to only heighten the groove of the track. This is paired wonderfully with whirring melodies that extend across the instrumentation with the melodies peaking with chiming, distorted synths. The song goes on to take the features of that of a blissful aged pop song before fading out in that fashion. A genre fusing track. ‘Past Life’ features a heavily pitch-shifted spoken verse before breaking and meandering into the utterly luscious monotone blast of noise from the heavily distorted and warped unison of vocals and instrumentation. Somehow this tracks dares to reach further into the depths of usable space and expansion. ‘Reality in Motion’ offers up a similar sweeps in a more lighter and direct fashion around a pop structure, but with heavily warped fringes.

‘Love Paranoia’ features a steady and heavy beat and the vocals directing the melodies and followed by the light instrumentation which gradually adds small elements such as a bass to it’s sound. The bass is charged and prominent in ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’ as it rolls and tumbles it’s way in forming the song’s backbone and from this the electronica and sharp lead guitars fire out from it in a wave of sound rode upon by Parker’s high pitched harmonies. The bass sound is briefly sacrificed for a high pitched interlude before slowly flowing back into the track to conclude it. Tracks like ‘The Moment introduce those elements of a prominent bass line with chiming electronica and vocals feeding from it in an enhanced pop based structure as the song breaks down and rebuilds it’s soundscapes with wiry and spiralling electronica. ‘Yes I’m Changing’ puts these aspects into practice in a more winding and spaced out environment resembling that of 80’s pop ballad seen through the eyes of Tame Impala. The album is graceful and effortless in standing out from previous Tame Impala efforts as it sets itself apart in terms of style and production in ways that were only hinted at with Innerspeaker and Lonerism. The excellent phasing and re-envisaged soundscapes and song structures can be appreciated in multitude of ways and Parker breaks down the boundaries of the phased and heavily distorted production that Ariel Pink and Julian Casablancas couldn’t quite master. Some aspects of Random Access Memories by Daft Punk weren’t even matching Parker’s ability in production to pull a song apart and reconfigure it in a rich and all encompassing way. Whilst it may not be full of fuzzy guitars, it’s gained a hell of a lot more as Tame Impala advance.

Tame Impala – Currents = 10/10

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Single Review – Tame Impala – Eventually

Tame Impala Play

With Tame Impala finally announcing that their third studio LP Currents will be released on July 17th, they’ve released what is now their fourth single off the upcoming album. The previous three have already featured vibrant electronica, more familiar fuzzy tones, but each track backed up with some excellent vocals by Kevin Parker with his smooth and hazy falsettos that filter through the track’s instrumentation. With ‘Eventually’ he does it again as they demonstrate their subtlety and a fragility to their music. It has a simple back beat and a wiry synth meandering around it, which sets up the song for some well placed surges of distorted guitar to only emphasise the more considered tones as more washed out electronica flows over you. The result is a chilled and relaxed track for those phased out moments. The anticipation for Currents goes on.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Single Review – Tame Impala – Disciples

With their third studio album Currents fast approaching, we take a look at Tame Impala’s latest short but sweet single ‘Disciples’.Kevin Parker’s trademark bending guitar sound fills up the sound space and are accentuated with warping and twisting synth drones and through this cuts Parker’s faded falsetto. The track shifts in and out of audible focus and this only heightens the hooks and the easy rhythm of the track which fades out before two minutes. It’s a little more like their Innerspeaker material, but shows a sense of variation on the album, which will surely be the soundtrack to the summer.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Single Review – Tame Impala – Cause I’m a Man

Tame Impala have now given the title Currents to their upcoming third studio album on their new label, Interscope. After treating us to the sonic paradise that is ‘Let it Happen’, Kevin Parker’s group have now moved into slightly more familiar territory with their new single ‘Cause I’m a Man’. It still embraces the more fluid and smooth expanses that graced the first single, with chiming synths and Parkers sweeping and fading falsetto. These fluid soundscapes are tied around gently meandering bass-line and a basic back beat. It is another track that doesn’t particularly focus on the guitar as a rhythm section tool as they have done, but instead they utilised to add dimension to the chorus and carry the melody in a rough and typically distorted fashion. With this in mind, the single is more familiar than ‘Let it Happen’ with it’s laid back and hazy style, yet still has maintains the altered instrumental focus that has so far been stressed with these two tracks. It all adds to the intrigue of what looks to be one of the most eagerly anticipated albums of the year.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995