Kevin Parker has been in our lives for a long time. It’s been more than a decade since Tame Impala — who still basically presented as a rock band back then — released their sophomore album Lonerism. I’m not sure it’s fair to call Lonerism Tame Impala’s breakout, since 2010’s Innerspeaker got plenty of critical love. But Lonerism is the one with “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” and “Elephant” and “Mind Mischief”; it’s fair to say that the record opened Tame Impala up to a whole new audience.
Lonerism actually celebrated its 10th anniversary last October, but the long-promised 10th-anniversary box set comes out today. That box features two demos for Lonerism-era Tame Impala tracks, “Retina Show” and “Sidetracked Soundtrack,” that have never seen the light of day before today.
“Retina Show” is the big winner here; it’s a slow-strutting, breakbeat-driven psych-pop song that makes liberal use of Kevin Parker’s falsetto. That one sounds like it could’ve found a welcoming home on any Tame Impala record. “Sidetracked Soundtrack,” meanwhile, is a presumably-unfinished track with sonar-ping guitars that sometimes drift into surf-rock territory. It’s mostly instrumental and mostly driven by rickety drum machines, but Parker’s voice and some big, busy live drums come in at the end. Listen to both below.
The 10th-anniversary Lonerism box set is out now on Modular.