Live Versions

As demonstrated by the first two studio albums (2010’s Innerspeaker and 2012’s Lonerism) from Australian rockers Tame Impala, much of the band’s sound is the product of vintage synthesizers and tube amplifier settings dialed in to an anal-retentive degree. What? That sounds like retired dudes playing ’60s rock in casinos? Quite the contrary, Tame Impala’s sound is most fresh, and frontman/mastermind Kevin Parker’s particular approach in the studio is why. Parker embraces the spirit of modern electronic music when using his old gear in building his walls of sound, leaving no layer untweaked and generally laying the effects—phaser, delay, panning—on thick. That propensity for electronica is all over Tame Impala’s Live Versions, released in April in honor of Record Store Day. Most of the album’s eight tracks are markedly different from the studio versions, with the head-noddin’ “Half Full Glass of Wine” and relentlessly psychedelic “Be Above It” building into extended brain-frying arpeggiation loops. Despite all the space noises, the human elements—namely, the mistakes—remain intact. At one point on “Desire Be Desire Go”—which is basically surf rock (provided you’re surfing at night and on the moon)—Parker’s voice cracks like a pimply faced teen. In the Age of Auto-Tune, that’s wildly refreshing.