Published on May 8th, 2019

Tame Impala by Neil Krug

Tame Impala is your girlfriend’s favorite band. I don’t say that to be rude; they just have that smooth indie-rock charm that most ladies with good taste find sexy. And why wouldn’t they? These dudes from Australia can really weave a tune! Indie-psych mélange is not a new development in rock, and it takes a lot to surprise us hardened music journalism professionals, but they are pretty good.

Like spiritual brother-in-arms Ariel Pink, Tame Impala is essentially one person with a revolving-door support cast. The offspring of multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker, Tame Impala emerged in Perth around 2007, conceived as a home recording project. The project debuted on Myspace music, and label offers began pouring in.

Since then Parker et. al. have refined and altered the sound and lineup from “Innerspeaker” (2010) to “Lonerism” (2012) to “Currents” (2015), never sticking with one line-up or musical formula for too long. Yet they always sound like Tame Impala, a feat attributable to wide experimentation directed by one person.

The band is fresh off headlining that party in the desert for influencers — Coachella — and, really, where does one go from there? What beats playing for selfie curators who don’t care about music but can rock a native headdress in the most privileged, clueless way possible?

Anyhow, Parker has been promising a new album for two years and fans are getting eager as new songs trickle out online (“Patience”) and on television — the band premiered “Borderline” in their Saturday Night Live debut in March.

Much of this success puts a new sort of pressure on the band’s next release: If one has spent all their time introducing themselves to a wider audience, the next round of output must appeal to more people. A conundrum, granted, that most struggling bands would give their right arm to have. But if indie artists are supposed to pursue a vision, not win elections, is the vision dulled by widening the base?

While mulling that, let’s pack a cooler and take a ride to the beach. We’ll grab some sun, have some fun and listen to old Tame Impala. Your girlfriend will approve.

Tame Impala plays the Fillmore Miami Beach 8pm May 7 with Mdou Moctar. official.tameimpala.com ~ Tim Moffatt

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