Tuesday, June 8, 2010

No (need for) New Tricks: Tame Impala and The Drums

As previously reported on Frontier Psychiatrist, there are no new tricks.  While some might find such a statement disheartening, blog-hit wonders Tame Impala and The Drums have chosen to embrace the anxiety of influence, in the process crafting two of the year's finest records to date.

If a sound of the '10s is slowly beginning to form, it is the sound of young musicians rummaging through their parents' attic in search of old records.  From The Morning Benders to The Tallest Man on Earth to the recently reviewed Dr. Dog, many of the year's best records sound like they belong on 8-track tape in your uncle's Chevy, rather than on an iPod in Lil' Troy's.  Although this unabashed imitation may have evoked scorn in earlier times, today's young upstarts have found purpose in re-interpreting classic sounds.  And, while such re-interpretation is risky business (you don't want to end up sounding like a Kansas cover band), when done properly the results can be spectacular.

The aforementioned Tame Impala achieve just such results on their debut LP Innerspeaker.  The band, formed in Perth, Australia when the founding members were a mere 13 years old, make no efforts to hide what it is: a '60s psych-rock band.  Saying that the band is indebted to Love and Jefferson Airplane is a massive understatement; listening to the entire album will have to thinking "uh oh, here comes my hallucination."  And yet, the Aussies' crisp sense of melody, languorous vibe, and genuine, irony-free affection for their source material make the record a true pleasure.   Tune in, etc.:

Tame Impala - Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind

Tame Impala - It is Not Meant To Be

The Drums (whose eponymous debut is out today via Moshi Moshi Records) have an entirely different set of influences but are no less audacious in their impersonation.  Like a number of emerging artists (including the previously profiled Wild Nothing), these impressionable young men seem to have been moved to minstrelism by The Cure and The Smiths.  No shame in that.  However, far from limiting themselves to the beloved mopery of their forebears, The Drums have crafted a set of songs that will appeal to lonely bedroom poets and sunny-tempered showboats alike.  They are currently in the midst of a long tour abroad; let's hope they return stateside soon.

The Drums - Best Friend

The Drums - I'll Never Drop My Sword


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