Tag Archives: Tame Impala

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Tame Impala Lay It Down on Broadway

November 11th, 2014

Tame Impala – Beacon Theatre – November 10, 2014

SwFNceWCEg-39M-6eaLmGM1RUUQeEzLOdaOmq8EzDGMWhat is it they say about Broadway, something about how there’s always magic in the air? Australian rockers Tame Impala made the move uptown this week to the Beacon Theatre, playing the second of two-sold out shows last night and there was plenty of magic in the air as the five-piece proved that they’re a perfect fit for a show right there on Broadway. After a mesmerizing set of instrumental guitar music from Delicate Steve, the Perth quintet took the stage as the electronic drums of “Be Above It” set the tone, green oscilloscope lights on the backdrop twinkling in time to the beat. As Kevin Parker’s zone-out vocals echoed, the sights and sounds grew more chaotic, the band arching orbital sounds through the venue.

The tone firmly set, the rest of the show was a majestic 80-minute psychedelic rock–and-lights masterpiece: immersive and transforming. On a day when many in the music world were discussing a new Pink Floyd release, on songs like “Solitude Is Bliss,” Tame Impala felt like the real thing at their peak, mixing prog and psych, groove and full-throated rock outs while every color of the rainbow zapped through the room in time to the music. In working through most of their 2012 LP, Lonerism, they showed there’s plenty of life in slow, otherworldly groovers like “Why Won’t They Talk to Me?” and big time arena-rock bliss in “Elephant.” There was one moment during “Endors Toi” when the group seemed to make science, ’70s prog rock and the slow clap seem cool again in one single passage, the crowd holding the beat, the band tripping hallucinogenic in synth and guitars and the backdrop going full on mathematical. Keeping with the theme, in the intro to “Mind Mischief,” Parker turned to face the screen behind him as it buzzed into shapes following his distorted guitar solo, like he was painting psychedelic patterns with his music, science meets art in Technicolor.

Of course, there were plenty of bits of esoteric instrumentals and extended jams throughout the performance, but they felt earned, part of the journey and not the destination itself. The growing entropy of the show met its end with the set-closing “Apocalypse Dreams,” the oscilloscope imagery a Crayola box of squiggles seeming to rush out at the geeked audience while the band built to a final climax. With a crowd-pleasing, sing-along encore of “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards,” it appeared that what they say about Broadway, at least as far as Tame Impala are concerned, is true after all. —A. Stein

(Delicate Steve play Mercury Lounge on 11/20.)

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A Top Five Look Back at 2013

January 10th, 2014


Ten days into the New Year, The House List looks back at 2013 with some Top Five lists.

My Top Five Favorite Shows
1.
The Postal Service, Barclay Center, June 14
My decade-belated live date with the Postal Service finally culminated at Barclays Center, where rabid fans, like myself, roared as Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello hit the stage. As if acting out lyrics from “Nothing Better,” Gibbard and Jenny Lewis shimmied close for the duet. Old friends reunited onstage never felt so good.

2. Haim, Webster Hall, September 3
I was late to this bandwagon, as fellow House List contributor Alex Kapelman shortlisted Haim last year for his Top Five Bowery Presents Shows of the Year. I knew I was in for a good one when I could barely find a spot in the rafters to catch the three sisters, who charmed with their onstage banter and wicked musicianship

3. Jessie Ware, The Bowery Ballroom, January 17
Straight off her Jimmy Fallon taping backed by the Roots, the British songstress elated the crowd with her effortless, down-to-earth stage demeanor. Her star quickly rose with American audiences, as she sold out shows at Webster Hall, Music Hall of Williamsburg and Irving Plaza throughout the year. I was glad to have caught her earlier in the more intimate venue.

4. Basia Bulat, Bowery Ballroom, November 23
I’ve been a fan of Basia Bulat since I heard her cover Sam Cooke’s “Touch the Hem of His Garment.” This show on a cold night wasn’t sold out, which made me a little sad since she’s quite the talent. But those who were there were enraptured by her prowess on autoharp to the point that you could hear a pin drop during her solos.

5. Daughter, Bowery Ballroom, April 30
Somehow Elena Tonra manages to disguise heartbreak behind soulful lyrics and melody. She has a knack for turning happy dance songs into somber endeavors. The band mashed-up Bon Iver and Hot Chip’s “Perth/Ready for the Floor” that evening. Check out Tonra’s somber retake of Daft Punk’s hit “Get Lucky” for further proof. —Sharlene Chiu

My Top Five Shows I Never Thought I Would See
1. Desaparecidos, Webster Hall, February 26

Desaparecidos (and really any Conor Oberst project) were my bread and butter back in the early aughts, and for a while they seemed to be a one-off, a politically minded side project firmly planted in the past. Fortunately (and unfortunately) the global state of affairs remains messed up enough for the band to regroup to write protest songs for a new decade. It was a nostalgic, sweaty and inspired performance.

2. Shuggie Otis, Music Hall of Williamsburg, April 19
Shuggie Otis began putting out music in the mid-’70s, followed by a long period of laying low. Content to groove along to songs like “Ice Cold Daydream” at home, I never really thought about the possibility of a Shuggie Otis tour in 2013. But when I found out, I was there. And “Ice Cold Daydream” is even better in person.

3. The Flamin’ Groovies, The Bowery Ballroom, July 6
Instead of discovering the Flamin’ Groovies in a smoky San Fran club in the ’60s, I was introduced to their catchy psychedelia on a Nuggets compilation more than 30 years later. Who’d have thought they’d still be going strong in 2013 and that I’d be dancing right alongside some old school fans at this fun summer show.

4.  John Prine, Beacon Theatre, September 26
John Prine has been active since the early ’70s, but unlike Shuggie Otis, he never really went away, writing and recording songs at a steady pace throughout the years. But I still always thought of him as an artist too legendary for me to see in person—or that tickets would be too out of reach. But John Prine put on an amazing show, highlighting his singular skills as a songwriter and storyteller.

5. The Julie Ruin, Music Hall of Williamsburg, October 25
I was late to the party for the original riot-grrl movement, but I became an admirer of Bikini Kill frontwoman Kathleen Hanna during her time in Le Tigre. She’s dealt with some debilitating health issues in the past few years, but I had no doubt she’d continue to make art and music. So I was happy to learn of her latest project, the Julie Ruin, and her energetic show did not disappoint. —Alena Kastin

My Top Five Shows
1. Yo La Tengo, Town Hall, February 16

I don’t like to pick a favorite, but my last.fm account tells me I’ve listened to Yo La Tengo more than any other band since 2007. At Town Hall, they performed an acoustic set and an electronic one, doing two versions of “Ohm,” my favorite song of the year. And then I ran into Tim Heidecker from Tim & Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job! Had the Red Sox not won the World Series, this would’ve been my favorite night of the year.

2. Killer Mike/El-P, Webster Hall, August 14
I don’t care what anyone says: The best two rap albums of 2012 came from Killer Mike and El-P. And in 2013 they topped them, coming together as one entity, Run the Jewels. The night included a set from El-P, a set from Killer Mike and a combined set with both. El-P’s ingenious production plus Killer “I bleed charisma” Mike equals one concert I will never forget.

3. Foxygen, The Bowery Ballroom, October 21
With Foxygen it occasionally feels like shit could fall apart at any moment. And sometimes it does. But when their shows don’t come unhinged they deliver that sweet thrill of relief, like narrowly avoiding a car crash. And on this Halloween-themed night, the band made a weird show even weirder with homemade costumes and pseudo spooky vibes.

4. Steve Earle, Music Hall of Williamsburg, May 8
You can just tell some people are genuine, and Steve Earle is certainly one of them. Forever wearing his heart on his sleeve, that same energy bleeds right into his music, which he played alongside what he’s calling “the best band he’s ever had.”

5. Meat Puppets, Mercury Lounge, April 4
Not only are the Meat Puppets still kicking (after living through some serious shit), but also they’re thriving. And as much as I respect their legacy, seeing them play for more than two hours with the intensity you’d expect of a band 20 years their junior makes me respect them that much more. Long live the puppets of meat! —Dan Rickershauser

My Top Five Shows
1. Dessa, Union Hall, May 5

There are few performers I feel can move mountains with their vocal chords, and Dessa is one of them. This performance was an eruption of defiant lyrics and bold beats. A sizable crowd of young girls knew all of her lyrics, giving the show a chant-like feel. The only female member of Minnesota’s Doomtree collective practically vibrates with energy, and it’s completely contagious.

2. Kishi Bashi, Irving Plaza, September 12
Kishi Bashi sounds even better live than he does recorded. And he delivered a dazzling set with profuse vocal looping and an excellent backing band. Kauro Ishibashi has a supercharged, effusive aura, and his music embodies that persona. This set took a rowdy turn that involved crowd surfing, strobe lights and an outright jam session.

3. Panama Wedding, CMJ Music Marathon
I happened upon newcomers Panama Wedding three different times during CMJ: Initially, opening for NONONO at Mercury Lounge on the first night. Since the band had only released one song, “All of the People,” I was eager to see what would unfold onstage. Their set was so tight that I caught the fantastical pop group the following night at Pianos and then again at a showcase at Santos Party House.

4. You Won’t, Rockwood Music Hall, October 30
The live iteration of You Won’t is a spectacle to behold. I watched eagerly as Josh Arnoudse and Raky Sastri wielded a slew of instruments with ease, quickly fascinating the audience. The duo took their jaunty music into the audience a couple of times to break the barrier and enlisted some extra vocal support by encouraging us to all to sing along.

5. James Blake, Terminal 5, November 6
In this spellbinding live performance, complete with plenty of vocal looping and haunting electronica, James Blake made a cavernous room filled with people feel intimate. And that he’s such a dapper-looking fellow only helps boost his appeal. I’m still transfixed by this performance nearly two months later. James Blake’s music has some serious lasting effects. —Schuyler Rooth

My Top Five Shows with Regard to Lights, Visuals and Production
1. Umphrey’s McGee, Brooklyn Bowl, January 20

Kick-ass creative lighting
and Brooklyn Bowl don’t usually go hand in hand, but Umphrey’s McGee lighting guru Jefferson Waful turned the room into a thing of beauty.

2. Föllakzoid/Holydrug Couple, Mercury Lounge, March 21
What better way to enjoy some old school psychedelic music than with some old school liquid projections courtesy of Drippy Eye.

3. Plaza: Portugal. The Man, Irving Plaza, May 20
Freakin’ lasers!

4. The Flaming Lips/Tame Impala, Terminal 5, October 1
It was almost as fascinating to watch the Lips’ spectacle getting set up as it was to see it in action—confetti, strobes, LEDs and, well, pretty much everything. And Tame Impala’s projections were no slouch either.

5. Phish, Atlantic City Boardwalk, October 31, November 2
Phish’s fall tour found lighting director Chris Kuroda playing the Willy Wonka of eye candy all over the East Coast. —A. Stein

My Top Five Albums
1. Phosphorescent, Muchacho
I’d only seen Phosphorescent once before listening to Muchacho for the first time. And while much of Matthew Houck’s previous work is country-tinged (not that there’s anything wrong with that), this album, ostensibly about a breakup, covers more territory, from the meditative sounds of “Sun, Arise (An Invocation, an Introduction)” and “Sun’s Arising (A Koan, an Exit)” to the jammy, driving “Ride On/Right On” to softer fare, like “Muchacho’s Tune,” all centered on Houck’s evocative voice. I still can’t stop listening to it.

2. Foxygen, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Foxygen’s third full-length, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, comes off as a loving mash note to ’70s rock. You’ll hear bits of the Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground and David Bowie, but the album expertly manages to sound like something whole and new rather than something derivative.

3. White Denim, Corsicana Lemonade
Upon the first couple of listens, I found White Denim’s latest, Corsicana Lemonade, to be too singer-songwriter-y, but I continued to give it a chance, and it opened up to something much bigger, with genre-hopping songs like “Let It Feel Good (My Eagles)” and “Pretty Green”—not to mention some searing guitar parts—grabbing me by the throat.

4. Futurebirds, Baba Yaga
Admittedly, I didn’t know anything about Futurebirds, out of Athens, Ga., before writing a preview of their late-May show at The Bowery Ballroom. But while listening to their second LP, Baba Yaga, as I wrote, I became totally enamored of the album—half twangy Southern rock and half spacey reverb.

 5. Kurt Vile, Wakin on a Pretty Daze
I love Kurt Vile’s Wakin on a Pretty Daze so much, that I can’t believe it’s only No. 5. Labeling it stoner rock, as many have done, is lazy. Although I supposed me calling it laid-back rock isn’t any better. But the fact of the matter is there might not ever be a better album to listen to while walking the streets of New York City with headphones in your ears. —R. Zizmor

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A Double Bill of Peace and Paranoia

October 2nd, 2013

The Flaming Lips/Tame Impala – Terminal 5 – October 1, 2013


The fantastic double bill of Australian psychedelic outfit Tame Impala and the Flaming Lips, those wacky weirdos from Oklahoma City, has been dubbed the Peace and Paranoia tour. During the first of two sold-out shows at Terminal 5 last night, the groups effectively evoked these dissimilar sensations in their sets, with the mellow grooves of Tame Impala’s “Elephant” and “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” providing a peaceful start to the night, including just enough trippy-ness to ease the transition into the ensuing over-the-top theatrics of the Flaming Lips.

Witnessing the stage set come together for the Flaming Lips’ performance can be considered a show in itself—mirrored domes and thick strands of white lights evoking giant spaghetti were piled onstage in excess, as Wayne Coyne, frontman and master of ceremonies, clad in a metallic blue suit, took his place behind the microphone, mounted atop a bulbous silver platform. Performing in support of their most recent record, The Terror, which covers some intense thematic territory and has a dark sound to back it up, the Flaming Lips paired opening songs “Look … the Sun Is Rising” and “The Terror” with a disorienting barrage of strobe lights, confetti, video art and a heavy layer of smoke: an aesthetic ethos of more is more. A lesser band might have used this type of sensory overload to mask a lack of substance, but the Flaming Lips’ music is interesting and complex enough to stand on its own—it just so happens to be much more fun with a throbbing image of an eyeball in the background.

By the end of the night, the Flaming Lips delivered the sense of paranoia promised in the tour’s title, but even they couldn’t resist leaving us on a lighter note. During the final moments of “A Spoonful Weighs a Ton,” a new image appeared across their screen, simple block letters flashing the word “LOVE.” As the smoke cleared and onlookers shook confetti from their hair, a powerful message remained. —Alena Kastin

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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Jagwar Ma Make a Great First Impression

October 1st, 2013

Jagwar Ma – Mercury Lounge – September 30, 2013


If it’s true what they say about first impressions, then Australia’s Jagwar Ma have a pretty bright future. In their first ever gig in the USA, a sold-out, early set Monday night dance party at Mercury Lounge, the Aussie duo of Jono Ma and Gabriel Winterfield (rounded out to a trio with a bass player) did plenty to impress with songs off their debut, Howlin’. Their sound is a seamless fusion of psych rock and electronica, half Tame Impala, half LCD Soundsystem and, live, the music explored both genres equally: fuzzy, tripped-out swirls of guitar and synthesizer overlaid perfectly on supergroovy preprogrammed beats.

The set opened with Ma synthesizing some electronic magic alone onstage, the audience starting to buzz in anticipation before they began their opening track, “What Love,” with vertical-stripe basslines and Winterfield layering his vocals with a multitude of reverberating effects. Working almost straight through the album, the pair maintained the spirit of their songs while adding a live-remix feel: space-rock excursions and fractal vocal jams pushed the material to the edge. For all its brain candy, this was still music to dance to, and despite the early workday hour, those in attendance did their best to move to the beats. After all, this was Jagwar Ma’s first show in America, and we only had one shot at a first impression. —A. Stein

(Jagwar Ma play The Bowery Ballroom on 12/3.)

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Morning Teleportation and Desert Noises Together at Mercury Lounge

August 9th, 2013

Tiger Merritt (vocals and guitar), Tres Coker (drums), Travis Goodwin (keyboards) and Paul Wilkerson (bass) met in Bowling Green, Ken., and formed Morning Teleportation. The psychedelic four-piece, with the “combined energy of a basement party, a back-room jam session and a futuristic hootenanny,” recorded their debut album, Expanding Anyway (stream it below) over 12 days in Modest Mouse frontman Issac Brock’s home studio. The result, according to Consequence of Sound, is “driving four-on-the-floor beats, a glimmering polyphonic mix of synthesizer and electric guitar lines and a variety of crazed, Coltrane-esque guitar solos or trumpet lines.” But their album is just a start because Morning Teleportation (above, playing “Salivating for Symbiosis” for Audiotree) are quickly becoming known for their high-energy live shows.

Another four-pack of friends—Kyle Henderson (vocals and guitar), Brennan Allen (guitar), Patrick Boyer (drums) and Tyler Osmond (bass)—formed Desert Noises. You can pick up some of the Orem, Utah, outfit’s influences in their music, which is kind of a folkie Americana (think: Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac) with some unpredictable twist and turns (think: Tame Impala). Thanks to an intense touring schedule, Desert Noises (above, performing “27 Ways”) built a loyal following even before their first LP, the melodious Mountain See (stream it below) came out in late 2011. They’re currently working on their second release, but you can see Desert Noises alongside Morning Teleportation tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge.

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Australian Psych-Pop Quartet Plays Mercury Lounge Tonight

August 5th, 2013

They all grew up in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney. And like so many before them, Alister Wright (vocals and guitar), Jeremy Kelshaw (bass and vocals), Heide Lenffer (keys and vocals) and Ulrich Lenffer (drums) came together to compete in a Battle of the Bands in school. But unlike scores of others, this psych-pop quartet stuck together and became the band Cloud Control, playing with the likes of the Arcade Fire, Weezer and Vampire Weekend, and releasing a much-heralded debut album, Bliss Release—which Pitchfork noted it for its “Tame Impala-meets-Fleet Foxes vibe”—that generated a fair amount of acclaim and won Cloud Control (above, performing “This Is What I Said” on MoshCam) the prestigious Australian Music Prize in 2011. Their much-anticipated follow-up full-length, Dream Cave, arrives next month, but there’s a good chance you can hear some of the new tunes tonight at Mercury Lounge.

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Tame Impala Take Sold-Out Crowd on Unpredictable Trip

February 20th, 2013

Tame Impala – Terminal 5 – February 19, 2013


Of all the considerable rock-band exports from Australia, it appears that Perth’s Tame Impala will fall much closer to AC/DC on the spectrum of greatness rather than, say, Jet. Having released two critically acclaimed albums, the band kicked off a North American tour to celebrate, starting off things last night with a sold-out show at Terminal 5. The set was as psychedelic, dreamy, fuzzy and trippy as one would expect, although the band had some tricks up their sleeves to make sure some elements remained unpredictable.

“Apocalypse Dreams,” the night’s first song, was played with a completely false ending: Following applause and a drawn-out pause from the band, the quintet surprised everyone by jumping back into an extended jam on the outro. They employed this trick again during “Elephant,” but instead of jumping back in after the applause for a lengthy guitar jam, they played just two short measures before suddenly concluding the tune. It’s like Tame Impala knew when their songs’ momentum was all but unstoppable, so they’d tease the audience by stopping—knowing full well the crowd couldn’t wait for it to continue.

For all the guitar effects Tame Impala are known for, there is impressively little difference in sound between the band in studio and live, in part thanks to Kevin Parker’s impressive barefoot dexterity. Taking the term shoegaze to a whole new level, the frontman adjusted knobs and settings on a massive guitar-pedal board using just his bare toes (sometimes even in the middle of a riff). The band returned for their encore to play “Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control” live for the first time ever. And you won’t find a more perfect song title with which to end a show. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Tame Impala on 2/19

February 12th, 2013

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Kevin Parker’s psychedelic quintet, Tame Impala, are still touring behind the fantastic Lonerism album, which brings them to Terminal 5 next Tuesday. And like most of the shows on their tour, this, too, is sold out. But you may be in luck because The House List is giving away two tickets. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Tame Impala, 2/19) and a brief message explaining the virtues of psychedelic rock and why you deserve to see these Aussie rockers. Eddie Bruiser, a big Tame Impala fan, will notify the winner by next Tuesday. Good luck.

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A Band of the Moment

November 12th, 2012

Tame Impala – Webster Hall – November 13, 2012


The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a struggle for many in the New York City region, so by the time this past weekend rolled around, pretty much everyone was having a “Calgon, take me away!” moment. And as if on cue, Tame Impala had arrived for two sold-out shows, wrapping up Saturday night at a smoke-filled Webster Hall, where they proved to be the perfect band to transport an audience away from reality.

Working heavily on material from their acclaimed new album, Lonerism, it didn’t really seem to matter which tune Tame Impala played. A guitar-as-pyschedelic-lute number was a magic-carpet ride to a mythical Arabia; a synth-and-theramin-driven one a Narnian wardrobe; a torrent of off-meter drumming a tornado to Oz; buzzing bass notes laced a time-traveling DeLorean; two guitars crashed together to bring the crowd to Platform 9¾; and midway through the set, a sublime version of “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” had otherworldly vocals and keyboards tugging the audience en masse down the rabbit hole to Wonderland. All the while the screens behind the band pulsed with hallucinogenic shapes and colors. This was a band of the moment, working at the height of its powers.

From there, it was through the looking glass with glorious extended instrumental sections punctuating the second half of the set, time stretching like taffy under the power of the music. The unique psychedelia of Tame Impala’s sound brought a surprising amount of groove for the crowd to latch onto, making sure that both mind and body were under its sway. Even barefooted frontman Kevin Parker wasn’t immune to the gravity his music generated—gyrating and lying down, entranced, onstage late in the show. The encore was a single piece that seemed to wrap up the main themes of the night, with sonar-pinging guitar making way for a long, enhanced jam with multiple ideas and an ecstatic building climax that threatened to unmoor the club completely from reality. For better or worse, though, the heels of the ruby slippers tapped, the smoke cleared and the show was over. Reality beckoned. —A. Stein 

 

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Tame Impala on 11/10

November 6th, 2012

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It seems like Aussie psychedelic-rockers Tame Impala were just here. But fortunately they’ve already returned, this time for two sold-out shows this week, tomorrow at Music Hall of Williamsburg and on Saturday at Webster Hall. The tickets went quickly, but The House List is giving away two to Saturday’s show. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Tame Impala, 11/10) and a brief message explaining why psychedelic music rocks. Eddie Bruiser, a laser Floyd fan if there ever was one, will notify the winner by Friday.

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Tame Impala Impresses at Music Hall of Williamsburg

August 8th, 2012

Tame Imapala – Music Hall of Williamsburg – August 7, 2012


It’s not often an Australian band plays a one-off gig in New York City with little warning, but if any group could pull off such a maneuver, it’d be Perth’s Tame Impala. Indeed, the sold-out crowd waited in a long line outside Music Hall of Williamsburg last night for a chance to see Tame Impala perform a set full of “How’d they do that?” moments. Opening with “Solitude Is Bliss,” the quintet quickly set the tone with layered compositions giving way to long stretches that balanced between prog-rock orchestration and ecstatic improvisation. Behind the band was projected an old school green CRT oscilloscope that seemed to go in and out of phase with the music, tracing complicated mathematical representations of the music in real time. The result was a juxtaposition of art and math, with heavy Spirographic jams accompanied by twisted, electric-green floral patterns.

With lead singer Kevin Parker fighting a case of laryngitis, the music dominated. Songs like “It’s Not Meant to Be” joined the two guitars at angles both acute and obtuse. These guitar notes oscillated under sinusoidal bass lines. Despite the scientific precision of the music it was anything but cold and calculated. Indeed, every song was an emotional journey, each telling a story with darker moody passages followed by ecstatic, building climaxes. The whole set seemed to follow a similar arc: dozens of musical ideas neatly packed like beautifully ornate Russian nesting dolls, and the crowd responding with awe as each new moment revealed itself.

The set closed with “Half Glass of Wine” from their 2008 self-titled album. The song started with a darker, churning rock and roll, like a melted-wax version of War’s “Low Rider,” and then veered tangentially into a lighter, in-the-vacuum outer-space jam. A single riff went periodic, spawning new ones in its wake until the whole band built to a focused crescendo that would make your most able jam band nod in appreciation until finally righting itself back into the original rock riff. It was an impressive feat and the audience appreciated it fully, demanding an encore. The band returned to oblige with Parker admitting it was their first time ever granting one. They offered up more of the same majesty with “Runway, Houses, Cities, Clouds,” but likely did little to satisfy a crowd that was undoubtedly filled with people tuning their own oscilloscopes to make sure they’re not asking, “How’d they do that?” the next time Tame Impala comes to town. —A. Stein 

 

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An Australian Band Grows on the Road

April 26th, 2011

Tame Impala – Webster Hall – April 26, 2011

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A glowing green dot waited patiently in the middle of a panel of screens. And like the gathered crowd, it had come for Tame Impala. But starting from the band’s opening song, it began to mutate. The dot became circles and the circles pulsated to the music. For some, these oscillating shapes simply occupied the background, disregarded as a trippy distraction. This perspective, however, seems to miss the point entirely. Psychedelic rock is wholly sensory, visual field included. And experiencing Tame Impala’s music is linked to seeing it transform.

Monday night’s sold-out show at Webster Hall is part of this young band’s transformation. As they continue to tour behind their excellent debut album, Innerspeaker, studio arrangements are changing, as is their stage presence. When I first saw this band in the fall, they seemed rigid and nervous. Each band member stuck to an assigned part, delivering carbon copies of songs from the album. Now, evident from narcotized renditions of “Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?” and “Solitude Is Bliss,” they are keen to explore new possibilities.

The first three songs (the aforementioned two plus “It Is Not Meant to Be”) felt slower by a few BPMs and sound manipulation rather than technical trickery filled improvisational gaps. A cover of Massive Attack’s “Angel” even sneaked into the set list, something not done before according to lead guitarist and vocalist Kevin Parker. And with a looser yet engaged attitude complementing their dreamscape melodies, Tame Impala appears up to the task of reinvigorating psychedelia. —Jared Levy

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Tame Impala on 11/18

November 16th, 2010

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This week Tame Impala plays two sold-out shows at The Bowery Ballroom. That would be the end of the story if The House List weren’t giving away tickets to Thursday’s show. But we are. So try to Grow a Pair of tickets. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, listing your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Tame Impala, 11/18) and a brief message explaining the beauty of Aussie psychedelic rock. Eddie Bruiser, who thinks Australia and psychedelia go together like chocolate and peanut butter, will notify the winner by Thursday.

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