Tag: Tame Impala

Earlier this year, I wrote about Trent Prall, a Southern California-born, Wisconsin-based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter and his solo recording project Kainalu, which derives its name for the Hawaiian word for ocean wave.  The music that Prall has created over the past decade or so, draws from psych pop, psych rock, dream pop, Tropicalia, synth pop, funk and childhood trips to Oahu, Hawaii visiting his mother’s family — and the breezy and retro-futuristic mix is what the Southern California -born, Wisconsin-based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter has dubbed Hawaii-fi, as a homage to his Hawaiian roots and their influence on him.  Now, as you may recall, “Love Nebula” reminded me quite a bit of Tame Impala, Toro y Moi,  Shawn Lee’s Synthesizers in Space, AM and Shawn Lee’s La Musique Numerique and Lee’s split album with Tim “Love” Lee New York Trouble/Electric Progression as “Love Nebula” was centered around shimmering analog synths, a sinuous bass line and copious amounts of cowbell; but underneath the breezy and summery groove is a bittersweet yearning both for a sense of belonging – and for someone.

“Finding Peace of Mind” Prall’s latest single was inspired by Trent’s father, who routinely gives him advice on life and other matters — and the song was written in some way from his father’s prospective. ““He would always try and get me to read Alan Watts’ literature as a way of accepting the stress and anxiety of the world. Although, it’s kind of ironic though because a book inspired the lyrics which are about not being able to learn yourself inside of books,” Prall explains in press notes. “The overall message is sometimes you can’t learn yourself by looking outward, instead you must accept that you can discover more by diving deep internally.” While focusing on a deep and thoughtful self-assessment and introspection, the single will further cement Prall’s reputation for crafting dreamy and retro-futuristic synth pop — but in this case with a decided psych pop leaning.

 

New Video: POND Releases a Lysergic Ode to the Holiday Season

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you’ve come across a handful of posts featuring POND, the recording project created by Perth, Australia-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer Jay Watson — and that the project features Watson collaborating with a rotating cast of local musicians, including Kevin Parker, the multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer behind the acclaimed psych pop project, Tame Impala. And with through the release of his first three albums — 2009’s Psychedelic Mango, 2010’s Frond and his 2012 breakthrough effort Beard, Wives, Denim — the Perth-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer found his sound moving from straightforward psych rock to a decidedly pop-leaning sound. Coincidentally, Watson’s breakthrough album was released around the time that Parker released his own breakthrough effort, Innerspeaker and with growing buzz around Australia’s psych pop and dance pop scenes, Watson and his touring band had found themselves on a busy international touring schedule that included an appearance at that year’s SXSW and a one-off show with CAN‘s Damo Suzuki, a major influence on Watson and his sound.

The Weather, which was released earlier this year continues Watson’s ongoing collaboration with Parker, and as you would have heard on album single “Colder Than Ice,” Watson’s sultry falsetto was paired with a production consisting onsisting of icy and shimmering synths, stuttering beats and a motorik groove in what may arguably be one of the more dance floor friendly tracks they’ve released in some time. Interestingly enough, the album’s material finds Watson managing to balance being deeply engaged with our tumultuous world while offering a much-welcomed respite and escape from it — and the album’s latest single “All I Want For Christmas (Is a Tascam 388) is a mischievous and hazily lysergic ode to the season that features Watson’s dreamy falsetto paired with tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap beats, layers upon layers of synths that’s then given an easy-going dub-like sheen. 

The recently released and appropriately kaleidoscopic video was directed by the band’s Jamie Terry and features band member “Shiny Joe Ryan” hanging out in Fremantle, Australia in a Santa suit and sunscreen, drinking beer, driving around and breakdancing until he arrives at the studio to see his new Tascam 388, which he can’t wait to play with. 

New Video: The Trippy Psychedelia Meets New Age Visuals for Jonathan Wilson’s Lush New Single “Over The Midnight”

Jonathan Wilson is a Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who has collaborated with the likes of Father John Misty, Lucius, Karen Elson and Conor Oberst, contributed guitar and vocals as a member of the backing and touring bands for Roger Waters’ Grammy nominated Is This The Life We Really Want?, and throughout that same period, the highly sought after Wilson has released two albums which have garnered comparisons to the Laurel Canyon troubadours of the 1960s and 1970s — in particular Crosby, Stills and Nash, Neil Young, Dennis Wilson, Tom Petty and others; however, Wilson’s third and forthcoming album, Rare Birds, which is slated for a March 2, 2018 release through renowned indie label Bella Union Records is reportedly one of the singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s most ambitious and downright “maximalist” works to date featuring contributions from collaborators Father John Misty and Lucius, as well as Lana Del Rey and New Age musician Laraaji.

While much of the album’s material thematically and lyrically find Wilson meditating on a failed relationship and its aftermath, he has insisted in press notes that it’s not meant to specifically be a concept album. “It’s meant more as a healing affair, a rejuvenation, a reconciliation, for others, and for me. I wanted to balance personal narrative with the need I feel for calming, healing music. I think we need journeys in sound, psychedelic gossamer-winged music, to incite hope, positivity, longing, reckless abandon and regret. It’s all in there.” And interestingly enough, the album’s first single “Over The Midnight” finds Wilson pairing British, early 80s synth pop with layered instrumentation that may bring to mind Peter Gabriel 3, Security and So-era Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and Tears for Fears but while nodding at the lush psych pop of contemporaries like Tame Impala — but with a swooning romanticism; after all, the song is about a sacred and profoundly safe space where lovers could exist while escaping a world on the verge of collapse.

Directed by Andrea Nakhla and featuring animation by Clara Luzian, the recently released video for “Over The Midnight” draws from New Age concepts of consciousness and awareness of one’s connectedness to the larger universe around them and to others.

 

New Video: The Psychedelic Visuals and Jangling Sounds of Up-and-Coming London-based Act Tempesst

Comprised of siblings Toma Banjanin (vocals, guitar) and Andy Banjanin (drums), along with Eric Weber (guitar) and Kane Reynolds (keys), the Australian-born, London-based members of Tempesst have had what may be a breakthrough year: they’ve made appearances at some of the UK’s most renowned showcases, including The Great Escape, NME Awards, Live at Leeds; several festivals, including Bushstock, Southsea Fest and Hackney Wonderland; as well as opening sets for Mystery Jets, The Veils, Albert Hammond, Jr., GUM and The Temper Trap. And with a growing profile, the band released their debut EP Adult Wonderland to critical applause from Noisey, DIY, NME, Drowned in Sound, The Line of Best Fit, Clash Magazine and airplay from Lauren Laverne’s BBC Radio 6 show and Maz Tappuni’s Radio X show, Communion Presents. 

And from Adult Wonderland’s latest single “Feel Better,” the up-and-coming London-based band specialize in a jangling, 70s AM radio-inspired psych folk with enormous, and anthemic hooks and some impressive guitar work that’s reminiscent of Tame Impala and Drakkar Nowhere, complete with a deceptively easy-going breeziness that belies the material’s craft. Interestingly enough, the song bristles with an underlying bitter frustration.  As the band’s Toma Benjamin explains in press notes, “I wrote ‘Feel Better’ about the mindless rhythm of working all week and then partying all weekend. A lot of my friends and I have done it for years. Each month just blurs into a series of highs and lows. I guess I wrote this song about realising the monotony of it all. It’s actually a bit sad when you think about it.” 

Directed by the band’s Andy Banjanin, the recently released video for “Feel Better” follows the band members through a kaleidoscopic and almost Biblical journey of self-discovery in which they eat some forbidden fruit, descend and ascend from a metaphorical hell and metaphorical heaven. And fitting with the overall aesthetic, the video is hot in a fashion that nods at movies from the early 70s. 

Over the past month, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring the  Stockholm, Sweden-based psych rock band Marble Mammoth. Featuring members, who have played in The Unisex, and have collaborated with  The MC5s Mike Davis and The Hellacopters‘ and Imperial State Electric’s Nicke Anderson, the band quickly developed a reputation across their native Sweden for a sound that meshes the bluesy power chords of Led Zeppelin with the dreamy, psychedelia of the likes of Tame Impala — although “Wrecked Ship” reminded me of JOVM mainstays Goat and Black Sabbath, thanks to some blistering guitar pyrotechnics paired with soaring organ chords and rousingly anthemic hooks.

The act followed “Wrecked Ship,” with the gritty and anthemic prog rock-like single “Glitter Amongst Gravel,” which featured some incredible guitar pyrotechnics and an expansive and ambitious song structure, complete with twisting and turning organ chords. However, their latest single “Girl of a 1000 Thrills” while drawing from similar sources as their preceding singles is a bit of a sonic left turn for the Swedish psych rockers as it sounds as though it were influenced by Deep Purple and Steppenwolf but with a subtly modern twist reminiscent of the RidingEasy Records roster.

 

 

Q&A with Kainalu A.K.A. Trent Prall

Trent Prall is a Southern California-born, Wisconsin-based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter whose solo recording project Kainalu derives its name for the Hawaiian word for “ocean wave,” and interestingly enough the music Prall has created over the past decade or so draws from psych pop, psych rock, dream pop, Tropicalia, synth pop and funk and from childhood trips to Oahu, Hawaii visiting his mother’s family to create a breezy and retro-futuristic sound that he’s dubbed Hawaii-fi, as a homage to his Hawaiian roots and their influence on him.

“Love Nebula” Prall’s latest single immediately brings to my mind Tame Impala, Toro y Moi,  Shawn Lee’s Synthesizers in Space, AM and Shawn Lee’s La Musique Numerique and Lee’s split album with Tim “Love” Lee New York Trouble/Electric Progression as the song is centered around shimmering analog synths, a sinuous bass line and copious amounts of cowbell; but underneath the breezy and summery groove is a bittersweet yearning both for a sense of belonging – and for someone.

I recently chatted with the up-and-coming, Southern California-born, Wisconsin-based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter via email about how much Hawaii has influenced him and his music, his musical influences, the new single and more. Check out the Q&A below.

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WRH: How did you get into music? And when did you know it was your calling? 

TK: Both of my parents are creatives/musicians so I was surrounded by instruments for longer than I can remember. My dad always tells this funny story about how he would put some headphones onto my mom’s stomach while I was in the womb and blast Earth Wind and Fire haha…. I don’t know if that did anything but I still love EW&F …

WRH: From what I understand, you were born and raised in Hawaii and are now currently based in Wisconsin (which probably is one of the biggest cultural shifts I can think of while still being in this country). How was it like growing up in Hawaii? And how much have your formative years in Hawaii influenced your sound and overall aesthetic?

TK: I wasn’t actually born in Hawaii, I’m from Southern California but my mother’s family, extended and all, lives in Hawaii and so I would spend the majority of my summers there. I moved around the country a lot in my formative years and so I didn’t have a real “home base” growing up. The only constant was Hawaii. Those summers really had a lasting influence on me and the music I write. I was introduced to Hawaiian music early… a popular genre of music in the islands is called Jawaiian music which is a fusion of reggae and Hawaiian sounds, very groove-centric.

However, I think the ocean and the peace I feel with it is the biggest influence on my music. The ocean really feels like home to me… playing and later relaxing on the beaches of Oahu are my most cherished memories. I would grow each year but the beaches never changed, I’m not sure why but I love that concept, it’s very tranquil to me and I try to capture that feeling with Kainalu. Kainalu actually means ocean wave in Hawaiian

WRH: You’ve dubbed your sound “Hawaii-fi.” What does that comprise of? And how does that differ from say, dream pop or psych pop?

TK: I honestly am not a fan of naming genres because in my mind every artist is unique in their own way. From the point of view of describing the music to other listeners I understand why genre names exist, but I think it forces preconceived ideas on the listening experience. So I honestly just made it up because the music was heavily influenced by my love of Hawaii and my memories there. More specific, I think tropical psych music is Hawaii-fi. But yeah, it could very well be psych pop or dream pop, I think people who enjoy the music should decide how to describe it and I’ll gladly take the tag that’s given.

WRH: Who are your influences? 

TK: [I] live for psych rock and Motown. So Tame Impala, Toro y Moi, Unknown Mortal Orchestra on one side and Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, Marvin Gaye, etc. more recently though I’ve been taking a deep dive into bossa nova, Joao Gilberto and Stan Getz are getting to me in such a good way.

 WRH: What is the influence behind your latest single? 

 TK: “Love Nebula” was written because I wanted to write a heavy bass driven song. I started on the piano but bass is my favorite to play. Once I had the instruments laid out I wanted to write the lyrics about wanting to be wanted. Through middle and high school, I was bullied a lot about my race, it’s kind of fucked up… it made my cultural identity confusing as a child. This song was written to be a sort of reclaiming of my identity and confidence… but the reclaiming comes in the form of wanting to be desired by a love interest

WRH: What’s next for you?

TK: I’m about half way done with my next release, once it’s done I’m ready to tour.

 

New Video: The Lysergic Visuals and Sounds of Stockholm’s Marble Mammoth

Marble Mammoth is a Stockholm, Sweden-based psych rock band that features members, who have played in The Unisex and have collaborated with The MC5s Mike Davis and The Hellacopters’ and Imperial State Electric’s Nicke Anderson — and with the recent release of their self-titled EP, the band has quickly developed a reputation for a sound that meshes the bluesy power chords of Led Zeppelin with the dreamy, psychedelia of the likes of Tame Impala — although the band’s latest single “Wrecked Ship” reminds me much more of JOVM mainstays Goat and Black Sabbath as the song features some blistering guitar pyrotechnics paired with soaring organ chords and anthemic hooks, but within an expansive, twisting and turning song structure that nods at voodoo, Latin rock and psych rock, while lyrically the song evokes the anxious awareness that the end is coming — and quickly.

Directed and edited by Milja Rossi, the recently released hallucinatory video for the song features the black clad members of the band performing the song near a lake in glorious sunshine and quick cuts to volcanos erupting, explosions and other natural phenomenon shot at weird angles to evoke an abstractness and the influence of hallucinogens. 

New Video: The Aptly Psychedelic Visuals for POND’s “Colder Than Ice”

Founded by frontman, primary member and creative mastermind Jay Watson POND is a Perth, Australia-based psych rock project that features a rotating cast of musicians and collaborators including Tame Impala frontman and primary member Kevin Parker. The project’s 2009 full-length debut Psychedelic Mango was much more psych rock and psych pop-leaning but with 2010’s Frond, Watson and company had increasingly taken up a much heavier pop sound. 2012’s Beard, Wives, Denim was an international breakthrough and was released to critical praise. 

Interestingly enough, the material on Beard, Wives, Denim was written and recorded around the release of Tame Impala’s critically applauded breakthrough effort Innerspeaker and with the growing buzz around Australia’s music scene, the members of Pond found themselves touring internationally to support the album — and it included an appearance at that year’s SXSW and a one-off show with CAN‘s Damo Suzuki, a major influence on Watson and his sound.

Watson and company’s latest effort The Weather continues their ongoing collaboration with Kevin Parker, and the album’s latest single “Colder Than Ice” pairs Watson’s sultry falsetto with a production consisting of icy and shimmering synths, stuttering beats and a motorik groove in what may arguably be one of the more dance floor friendly tracks they’ve released in some time; but underneath the swaggering surface is a trippy, kaleidoscopic vibe. 

Co-directed by the members of POND and George Foster, the recently released visuals feature members of the band in gritty, Eastern European-like environs and stars Kirin  J. Callinan as a dancing cowboy — and naturally, it’s a trippy accompaniment to the song. 

New Video: The Startling Visuals for Superet’s Arena Rock Meets Art School Rock Single “Receiver”

Comprised of long-term friends and musical collaborators Matt Blitzer (vocals, guitar), Alex Fischer (keys), Sam KS (drums), Patrick Kelly and Isaac Tamburino (guitar, keys, percussion), the Los Angeles-based indie rock quintet Superet officially formed on Valentine’s Day last year, and the long-time friends view the band as the culmination of a  longstanding creative kinship that’s been fostered through a series of bands and projects. Interestingly, the band derive their name from the facade of a decrepit Los Angeles area church, known for housing a cult — with superset being Latin for “may it overflow,” which from my understanding may be a very apt description for a band that spent the past year reclusively writing material that the band has been quietly releasing since the early part of this year.

“Receiver,” the band’s latest single was mixed by Dave Fridmann, who has worked with Spoon, MGMT and Tame Impala is a hook-driven song that features shimmering guitar chords, an angular yet propulsive rhythm section, loads of guitar feedback and buzzing power chords paired with crooned vocals within a prototypical grunge rock-like song structure: alternating quiet and loud sections. And while possessing an apt arena rock bombast, the song manages a mischievous art school rock sheen, as it’s a guitar rock anthem — from the outer reaches of the known universe.

Directed by the band’s frontman Matt Blitzer, the video’s main concept was to pair a visual component with the song that was “simple and unsettling,” and in this case, the video features members of the band in front of a black background rubbing their faces as to clean them; but managing to reveal another band members’ face just underneath the surface to create something that’s creepily nightmarish. 

Over the past couple of months on this site, I’ve written a bit about the  Oklahoma City, OK-based indie rock/psych rock quartet SPACE4LEASE — and as you may recall, the band, comprised of primary songwriter and founding member Grayson Hamm (keys, lead vocals), along with Walt Blythe (guitar),  Brandon Brewer (bass, vocals) and Wes Belk (drums), can trace their origins to when Hamm, Blythe, Brewer and Belk met while they were all attending the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Although each member comes from a vastly different musical background and influences, their sound manages to be a seamless convergence of their influences including Tame Impala, My Morning Jacket, Big Thief, Andy Shauf and others, while thematically their material focuses on lost love, heartbreak, the unknown and inevitable life experiences.

With the release of their debut EP Hiraeth, an effort that focused on the complicated process of self-discovery, the members of the Oklahoma City-based quartet toured extensively across the Midwest last year, eventually winning the praise of The Flaming Lips‘ Derek Brown, who described them as  “Fellow Okies that wonderfully mix the blissfulness and melancholy of the great wide open.” Building upon the buzz the members of Space4Lease have released a batch of singles off their forthcoming EP Drifting: Must Be Something” one of the first singles I wrote about, was a lush single reminiscent of  JOVM mainstays  Caveman, Los Angeles-based indie rock act Hands and others but bristling with a sense of endless possibility  that can only come from being on the road, and seeing the world open up before your eyes. “Lately,” struck me as drawing from classic, Quiet Storm-era R&B, blue-eyed soul and indie rock in a way that reminds me of Milagres’ exceptional first two albums Glowing Mouth and Violent Light — and much like the material off of those albums, there’s the push and pull of infatuation, lust, love and heartache at the core of a confusing relationship.

Drifting‘s latest single “I Tried Calling” is a slow-burning track that pairs Hamm’s plaintive vocals paired with a lush and haunting arrangement featuring twinkling keys, guitars fed through a series of atmospheric effects — and much like the preceding singles, it’s a deeply personal song that focuses on the frustrating yet necessary ups and downs of a maintaining a relationship and the lingering ghosts of the person you’re no longer with, and of the relationship that’s over.  But what makes the song interesting is that it comes from the perspective of someone, who has a lot more to say to a partner (or ex-partner in the case), who doesn’t seem all that interested in hearing it, and as a result, the song has an underlying bitterness — the bitterness that comes from having a relationship fail and not knowing how or why it happened.