There is a moment on Tame Impala’s sophomore album, Lonerism, when I realized that I was listening to one of the best psychedelic rock albums of the year. When the fourth track, “Mind Mischief”, transitions from a catchy guitar groove to full-on harmonic bliss at the two-minute mark, I also realized that this one of 2012’s best albums of any genre. Lonerism is stuffed to the brim with transcendent moments such as this; crammed with imaginative details exploding off of warmly fuzzed-out guitars, bouncing bass lines, and heavily reverberating vocals. An important difference between this effort and Tame Impala’s debut, Innerspeaker, is the dominance of synthesizer and keyboards throughout. While Innerspeaker used keyboards to accent and surround many of the songs in a haze, Lonerism is happy to utilize them side by side with the guitars, in many cases completely taking the lead as the driving force.
It’s easy to peg a band many classify as “psychedelic rock” as entrenched in the past. This is simply not the case with Tame Impala. The songs here are based off of elements I could identify as “psych” or “prog”, but at no point could I picture this music coming from decades prior. Something about this band is completely modern and fresh sounding. Much could be said about this album’s lyrical content being laser-focused on themes of loneliness, isolation, and general outsider tendencies. The vocals, while quite catchy, also seem to have a lazily bittersweet current coursing through them. However, the music is so inviting and huge that it is nearly impossible to come away without a smile after finishing the record’s 52 minutes. Lonerism is one of the year’s most essential pop albums, and one that sounds destined for classic status.
Listen to stand out tracks “Apocalypse Dreams” and “Elephant” below.
Watch this amazing cover of “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” by the PS22 Chorus from NYC. This displays the pop brilliance of these songs.
Here is a sample from Jerry Garcia’s 70th Birthday celebration this past Friday night at TRI Studios. It’s really refreshing to see some of the selections Bob Weir made for guests, including many notable Indie Rock artists. More information about the show can be found over at Hidden Track.
Snakadaktal are young band from Melbourne, Australia that has yet to really make a big splash here in the US. They are a self described Pop band, but there is so much more going on that it’s hard to believe there all still in high school. Give a listen to their single “Chimera” below.
Here is your chance to give a listen to the sophomore release, Here, by Folk-Pop darlings Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. While it hasn’t struck me quite as quickly as their debut album Up From Below, it is definitely another treasure trove of well written pop tunes that exude an overall feeling of peace, love and happiness. Listen to what may be the lead single, “That’s What’s Up”, below.
Stream the entire album over at NPR. The album is slated for release, next Tuesday, May 29th.
Also, check out our post about the band, from back in February here.
When I checked ‘Grateful Dead Shows on This Day in History’ on archive.org today, I realized it is the 35th anniversary of what many Deadheads consider to be the band’s best show in their illustrious 30 year career. On May 8th, 1977 the band performed at Barton Hall on Cornell University‘s campus during a seasonably rare snow storm. It is at this very show that many people feel the Grateful Dead culminated their unique songwriting and improvisational rock style with that inexplicable magic that surrounds their live shows. Through a handful of well circulated, high quality bootlegs the band and this show secured a legacy that is still thriving to this day. You can read some accounts of those who were lucky enough to be present for this life altering experience here. Listen to the best version I found on the archives here. You can either stream or download this must hear show.
Let the electro pop renaissance commence! Here’s one from the bros in MGMT, way back when they were still known as The Management. “Hot Love Drama” has to be the single off their 2005 album, Climbing to New Lows, that really sparked the band’s rise to success.