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Tame Impala

Starting off their career as psychedelic explorers, the Australian band Tame Impala spent a decade subverting expectations and mutating their sound in fascinating ways, as well as being an inspiration to musicians as diverse as Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Lady Gaga. Guided by the musical prowess of Kevin Parker, the band's 2010 debut album, Innerspeaker, was a huge, loud guitar-rock album dipped in swirling psychedelic colors. The follow-up Lonerism (2012) dialed down the guitars in favor of a more expansive style, after which Parker swerved into a poppier sound that brought in hip-hop (2015's Currents) and disco influences (2020's The Slow Rush), while upping the sugar content of the hooks. It proved to be a winning approach, and by decade's end Parker was collaborating with some of the biggest artists on earth (Kanye, Travis Scott) while the band was selling out stadiums and tons of records. Heading into the next decade, Parker paired up with another legend, recording the 2022 single "Turn Up the Sunshine" with Motown icon Diana Ross. Parker grew up in a musical household and dedicated himself to learning guitar and drums at early age, partially to escape the pressure of family life. His school friend Dominic Simper shared his love of music, especially the psychedelic sounds of the late '60s and the pair formed a band called the Dee Dee Dums in 2005 with drummer Luke Epstein. They became fixtures on the underground Perth scene until Epstein left in 2007 to join another group. Jay Watson took his spot and they changed their name to Tame Impala. The trio formed the live band, but Parker mostly took care of recording duties himself, crafting trippy, woozy psychedelic pop in his bedroom. He posted some songs on MySpace and they quickly became a phenomenon. The band released an EP, Tame Impala, in 2008 on the tiny Hole in the Sky label, then signed with Australian label Modular Recordings and released another self-titled EP later in the year. The EP went to number ten on the ARIA charts and number one on the independent label charts. Though Parker played everything in the studio, live Tame Impala functioned as a real band, though at their early gigs they were famously unprepared and never wore shoes. At one such shambolic gig for a Vice Magazine party in Melbourne, indie electro-pop band MGMT's label manager caught their act and was impressed enough to offer them the support slot when his band toured Australia. That year they also supported the Black Keys and You Am I on national tours. In 2010, Tame Impala made their full-length debut with the Dave Fridmann-mixed Innerspeaker. Recorded mainly in a remote beach house four hours outside Perth, Parker did almost all the music, this time letting Watson and Simper contribute a little bit. The album was a critical and popular success, gaining the band fans all over the globe, being nominated for many awards in Australia including ARIA Album of the Year, and winning the J Album of the Year nod. Shortly after the record's release, Parker returned to his home studio in Perth to begin work on new material, which he started recording while the band was on tour. Along the way he lost half the album when his iPod fell out of his bag, he moved to Paris (where he produced Melody's Echo Chamber's self-titled album), and eventually, after a year of mixing with Dave Fridmann, he finished the album.


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