2019 is already setting up to be huge for Kevin Parker. He recently got married, his band, Tame Impala, have been named as a co-headliner for Coachella, and he will perform on Saturday Night Live this week. At the center of all that hype is his long-awaited single “Patience”, the first taste from his upcoming album, which should be out sometime this year.
The lush piano- and bongo-held ditty has the eager soul of vintage ABBA while also being a bright left turn from his breakthrough 2015 album, Currents. Parker has gotten a better handle of dance patterns and rhythms and lets those components make up the backbone of the song. His swirly psychedelic imprint still effortlessly comes out, especially during the euphoric outro that lets his imagination go wild.
In typical Tame Impala fashion, Parker has his flashy production mask the introspective messages he is projecting. “Just growing up in stages,” he belts out one point. “‘Cause time waits for no one/ I should be flying straight, don’t be late/ ‘Cause time takes from everyone,” he adds on later. Parker could have handed over the instrumentation for Rihanna to sing over and it could’ve been massive, but he still decides to do it all himself because he wants Tame Impala to fit the particular vision he’s built for himself. It should leave all his fans rabid about what will be out next.
Buy: Check out Tame Impala on vinyl here.
OTHER SONGS WE’RE SPINNING
Sky Ferreira – “Downhill Lullaby”
Sky Ferreira’s new track opens with a ghosting of violins, before eventually eclipsing into a pulsing atmosphere of grave mystery. A “Downhill Lullaby” is truly what it is, as ethereal as it is troubling. The song marks Ferreira’s first single release since 2014 (not counting her cover of the Commodores’ “Easy” for the film Baby Driver), and a dark, orchestral turn away from some of her pop-informed ventures in the past. –Laura Dzubay
MARINA – “Orange Trees”
MARINA is jumping on the whole electro-tropical trend that’s been booming lately, and that’s not a bad thing in any way. Similar to recent offerings from artists like Dua Lipa, MARINA’s smooth vocal delivery and imagery of isolation and the beach are heavenly. With temperatures beginning to rise, “Orange Trees” is sure to be an early spring/summer favorite as listeners migrate closer to the water. —Parker Reed
Flume and Reo Cragun – “Friends”
Flume’s skill of musing over operatic techno spaces leads him to more divergent paths than other producers in the game. When he builds the powerful drums and warping effects, his drop usually gets to be unleashed with no strenuous build-up. Flume picks fitting vessels for his songs, and Reo Cragun gets to hit all his strides when presented with a tight chorus to go off of. In another fashionable blowout, Flume still dominates his realm of sentient electronica on “Friends”. –Brad Dountz
Raffaella – “NASA’s Fake”
We’ve all got problems. On “NASA’s Fake”, Raffaella lists off her own, from an annoying chiropractor to a late drug dealer to a bad hair day, making sure to focus on the ways in which minor annoyances can build up into full-scale, existential exasperation. The New-York-raised Columbia senior has released only three singles so far, and “NASA’s Fake” may be the most compelling, expertly alternating between bubbly verses and a dark, frustrated chorus. The song presents the perfect prompt to examine one’s own approach to patience: If you let every little thing bother you, you may never have a moment of peace in your life. –Laura Dzubay
Josh Ritter – “I Still Love You (Now and Then)”
A good, ol’ self-reflective love song is super underrated. Josh Ritter does this kind of folk song extremely well, and he’s been doing it for two decades. At this point, it should probably sound tired and repetitive, but the sweet and sharp instrumental that backs Ritter keeps the listener laid back the duration of the track. The melody is sweet and the vibe is even sweeter. —Parker Reed
Tacocat – “Hologram”
Pepped-up guitars have a rough edge on Tacocat’s rousing, but poignant anthem “Hologram”. Singer Emily Nokes has plenty of talent to put down her warnings and reflections to a metrical foundation, so anyone can still pound their feet to the chirpy energy. Never interested in fitting in, Tacocat play to their strengths when they don’t try to alienate anyone else. –Brad Dountz
Steve Aoki and Monsta X – “Play It Cool”
Steve Aoki and Monsta X’s joint venture, “Play It Cool”, is a pop song that knows how to use (and not overuse) its own background. Sometimes it’s hardly there, muted and plucky, and sometimes it’s lively and pulsing. Aoki comes from the world of electro house and EDM production, and Monsta X is a K-pop boy band; both artists meet in the middle and infuse this track with energy, accentuating its catchy rhythm with clever ebbs and flows of an ever-evolving beat. –Laura Dzubay
Filthy Friends – “November Man”
Everything about this cut from Sleater-Kinney/R.E.M. supergroup Filthy Friends matches the legacy of both groups. From the comically overdriven guitars to the strong, boomy vocals from Corin Tucker, “November Man” is a bluesy rock track with some Southern rock influences. It’s bombastic and borderline absurd, but the dedication to the act is what makes it work. —Parker Reed
Foxygen – “Face the Facts”
Combining swanky lounge pop and straight synthwave, Foxygen’s new, little gem, “Face the Facts”, has the duo come to terms with all their insecurities and how to move on. Going on about not being with someone while contemplating the repurcussions of not dancing like James Brown leaves you in a confusing headspace, but not an unfamiliar one. Foxygen lets their voluminous ideas guide them in this feel-good adventure through genres and time. –Brad Dountz