Last year I picked TV On The Radio's Seeds as the best I heard all year. It's a shame it took till October to find it, and it's kinda surprising that it beat out Lana Del Rey's Ultraviolence and Jack White's Lazaretto, both outstanding releases looking back on them now. This year, there's been all kinds of great music released on the indie circuit. Some you may have heard of such as Sleater Kinney, No Cities To Love, some you may not have like Lianne La Havas, Blood. I'm calling it right now. Tame Impala's 3rd album, Currents, released back in July may be the album this year. Though in addition to the aforementioned 2 albums, Lana Del Rey has another due out in a few weeks, The Dead Weather is finally out with new music very soon, and I wouldn't be surprised if we hear something from Beck before years as well as something from No Doubt and PJ Harvey. Indeed this is quietly shaping up to be an outstanding year for the indie artists. So, what's up with Tame Impala you ask, well with lyrics like;
Finally taking flight
I know you don't think it's right
I know that you think it's fake
Maybe fake's what I like
Point is I have the right
I'm thinking in black and white
I'm thinking it's worth the fight
Soon to be out of sight
Knowing it all this time
Going with what I always longed for
Cause I'm a Man
Going with what I always longed for
And some of the most solid psychedelic riffs, a masters level of attention to production detail made for the best 51:06 of vinyl listening goodness I've heard in months.
They released the first single off the album in March well ahead of the finished album and it signaled a huge departure to what made the Aussie group famous. Tame Impala had built their careers on some way out there progressive psychedelic rock music. Their first album, was a synth heavy experimental chaotic mess of rhythms so complex you may have mistaken them for a late 60's early 70's lo-fi wall of soundscapes type of group. Think about what Pink Floyd + Genesis / Acid would =. A beautiful mess, that's what happened. Listen to damn near anything from Innerspeaker (2010) to get a feeling of what I'm talking about. For this album, their first single Let It Happen clearly set the tone for a much more mainstream feel.
Let It Happen
The 2nd single from Currents was the one that got some actual notice particularly in
Hipster indie circuits. What got me immediately was the departure from their experimental and gravitation toward complete melodies. The psych/rock group made a chill out song that anybody could listen to no matter what frame of mind they were in - which - when you think about it is kinda the hallmark of a great psychedelic group right? If after hearing a song you wish it were longer because you were just getting into a groove, they've done their job. So, released in April their 2nd single, Cause I'm a Man dropped, and this album was suddenly a much anticipated hit. Hell, when I heard about it, it made this blog real quick.
Cause I'm a Man
Seriously, up until I bought the album, that was my favorite song. Fortunately Tame Impala didn't suffer from what a lot of artists suffer from when they're trying to get popular too fast. The didn't release their best songs as singles and end up selling the album's filler. Turns out with perhaps 1 or 2 exceptions, this whole album was some of the best most technical and eclectic collections of music I've heard in a while.
In a testament to this albums brilliance, upon it's release it was Tame Impala's first #1 album in their home country, and #4 here in the U.S.. Here's the rub though, not since Jack White's Lazaretto last year has an album been released that sold more on Vinyl. That's right, within the first 2 weeks of the release of Currents, it sold more than 14,000 copies - on vinyl alone, and that's just in North America! For whatever reason it sold a lot more on vinyl in Australia, which substantiates the awesome limited edition available there. It sold so well, that it's pre-orders sold out within 2 weeks of the release of their 2nd single.
Two other singles from that album were out before the July release of Currents. Disciples and Eventually. Both of these songs while good, don't quite capture the essence of Tame Impala's future potential. I'm fairly certain that these were released to give their current fans something to look forward to because of their complex psychedelic sound. The money songs are a very over produced Past Life, and my current favorite, which I quoted above, New Person, Same Old Mistakes. The latter of which is rapidly becoming the soundtrack of my existence these days. Matter of fact, I challenge you to put on some headphones and listen to this track, (shitty PC and or phone speakers won't do it justice.) and not repeat it twice.
New Person, Same Old Mistakes
Damn, this song changes tempo more than an 80's opus. The vocals, and more specifically the lyrics are just mind blowing. When he speaks of what people may think about his music now and basically says, "fuck you, this is what I like." It really gives you makes you glad that he along with the group can do so without alienating his core followers and selling out completely. This whole song speaks volumes about a lot of things. I may end up wearing this track out. It would suck though as this is a 2 LP release.
Unfortunately if you are lucky enough to find this album these days, it will not be cheap on vinyl. Since it's release it's climbed to north of $30 for the domestic release. It's even higher if you're lucky enough to snag the Australian release which was all kinds of awesome. 1 record was yellow, the other purple and it came with an .mp3 download code all on 180grm vinyl. They're rare, but can be had for around $50-80 depending on where you find it. But, for an interesting change, I'm going against my love for vinyl here. Just buy the album. Google Play, iTunes, Amazon, direct from their site, wherever. I'm going so far as to call this one of the most important releases this year in all of music. Sure there will be bigger more mainstream releases, but none of them will be authentic as Tame Impala. Buy this album now and thank me later.
Next week, I'm conflicted and can't decide, but I'm seriously thinking leaning toward going back and redoing a few of my earlier picks from before I started the blog, just to give them a proper write-up, or the other insanely awesome record I lucked in to from 2000. Either way, it'll be awesome.