Album Review: Tame Impala – Currents

I’m a little late in the game, but here’s my 500-words-or-less take on Tame Impala’s Currents

I’ve been a fan of Tame Impala since 2010. That’s the year their album Innerspeaker dropped and established the group as masters of psychedelic rock. I listened to Innerspeaker on repeat, thrilled by its surf-y stoner vibes. 2012 then brought me sophomore effort Lonerism and with it more lo-fi guitar goodness. Lonerism’s mellow tracks earned it the new top spot on my playlist (though Innerspeaker still made frequent appearances) and I anxiously awaited the release of the group’s third album, Currents.

Imagine my surprise when I listened to Currents and heard disco instead of rock. I was almost offended by all the bass grooves; where was the guitar-driven fuzz of Innerspeaker or the atmospheric grit of Lonerism? This shiny-happy sound wasn’t at all what I had come to expect from the group and I wasn’t sure I liked it.

But upon another listen, Currents’ sound started making sense. Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker is a well-known musical scientist; he tours with a four-piece band but usually records albums solo which allows for creative license. His experiments in recreating synth sounds with the use of a phased-out electric guitar resulted in many of Innerspeaker’s tracks (like first single Solitude is Bliss). Lonerism brought explorations into vintage synth sounds and co-writing tracks. Currents, then, is just Parker taking his experiments in a funkier direction; it’s Tame Impala edge with a Saturday Night Fever base. And honestly, it sounds good.

The tracks are all fun to listen to. The grooves are clean and Parker’s lyrics sting under his instrumentals: They say people never change/But that’s bullshit/They do, he offers on ‘Yes I’m Changing.’ Personal favorite ‘The Less I Know the Better’ is the most blatantly disco song on the album. It’s bass heavy from the get-go with a storyline that hooks you in: She was holding hands with Trevor/Not the greatest feeling ever/Said pull yourself together/You should try your luck with Heather, Parker sings.

Singles ‘Cause I’m a Man’ and ‘Let it Happen’ show Parker evolving as both an individual and an artist: Like the burning autumn sun/It dawns on me, what have I done? he sings on the former, admitting his follies over quiet synth chords. The latter features a techno jam – a step forward from guitar blitzes of albums past – whose energy makes even stop-and-go traffic bearable. Both are well executed, though I think the layered vocals of ‘Eventually’ should have earned it a single spot as well.

Currents now sits next to Innerspeaker and Lonerism at the top of my playlist. It is different from Tame Impala’s first two albums but not at all in a bad way. The disco notes work here because they’re sharp, as should have been expected from Parker. Ain’t nothing wrong with a little funk, especially if Parker is the one bringing it.

Alene Bouranova: Columnist?

This semester I’m taking JO506 – AKA Columns & Editorials. Our first assignment was to write an introductory column on anything we like, so I decided to write about working with kids. Below is my very first attempt at a column. More attempts to follow!

On Childcare: An Introduction

“Max! Stop divebombing off the tot dock, you’re making me nervous,” I say, immediately realizing how ridiculous that sounds coming out of my mouth. And what a load of good it does; Max, being the feral five-year-old he is, pauses for two nanoseconds before re-launching himself off the pool riser into my there-just-in-time arms.

Kids, am I right? In my eight years as a swim instructor I’ve seen just about everything the under-13 crowd can throw at me: tantrums, boogers, silent treatments, pumpkins (don’t ask) and enough tears to fill all five pools I’ve worked for. I’ve witnessed first-graders fight Hunger Games-style over dive toys, diffused who-goes-first arguments like a hostage negotiation and wiped up all manner of toddler fluids from the pool deck. Bottom line: I’m a seasoned professional when it comes to working with children.

Hectic as it is, working with kids is its own special kind of magic. Every day on the job is a lesson in joyful insanity. Sure, there are low points, but the good moments far outnumber the bad: the giggles, snorts, smiles, hugs and occasional gifted crayon drawing all make what I do worth it. And those are just reasons off the top of my head – I could (and might!) write a whole column on why I keep coming back to the job. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a picture with my name misspelled on top.

The aim of this column is to share my working experiences – good and bad – with you: the nannies, schoolteachers, daycare workers and other childcare professionals reading this magazine. Hopefully it turns into a space where we can discuss issues and assets particular to our line of work; nothing is more important to me than feedback from my readers. As caretakers, we have a special duty to those under our charge. We’re privy to the most fundamental years of a child’s life; more than anything that means we have to be nurturing and understanding at all times. Even when we’re getting our hair pulled or discussing Frozen for the 84th time we have to remember that patience is indeed a virtue and that timeouts are a perfectly acceptable way to get some damn peace and quiet.

The highlight of today’s venture? By the end of the lesson my mini-daredevil Max is back-floating all by himself for the very first time. The following excited “I’m doing it! I’m doing it!” is so heartwarming that I almost forgive him for his Evil Knievel tendencies.

Almost.

Covering the Dublin Web Summit for hotpress.com

_websummit460There are (almost) no words to describe how wonderful the past semester was. I spent four months studying abroad in Dublin, both attending classes at Dublin City University and interning in the city centre.

My internship was with the formidable Hot Press magazine, the Irish equivalent of Rolling Stone. HP had me covering gigs, writing articles and yes – covering Web Summit 2015.

Here’s my take on day 2 of the Web Summit as published on hotpress.com.

A Lesson In Tidying up at the Web Summit: http://www.hotpress.com/archive/15648948.html

Tinder CEO Gives Dating Advice & More at Web Summit: http://www.hotpress.com/archive/15651929.html

Seattlemag.com: The Makers

The artists of Anthropologie: Kirsten McElfresh and Sam Leffel; photo: Hannah Letinich

The artists of Anthropologie: Kirsten McElfresh and Sam Leffel; photo: Hannah Letinich

Who doesn’t want to live in an Anthropologie store? Each location is beautifully and uniquely decorated, something that makes this company special. Take a look at my latest Seattle Mag post about the lovely and talented visual merchandisers of the downtown Seattle location:

The Makers is a new column on Seattlemag.com that explores different Seattle creatives and their crafts. These artists live to design, connect and create.

http://seattlemag.com/article/makers-artists-behind-anthropologies-stunning-stores

Seattlemag.com: The Best Outdoor Events of Summer 2015

Seafair Weekend | Photo Credit: Sean O'Neill via Flickr

Seafair Weekend | Photo Credit: Sean O’Neill via Flickr

Oh hey, I’m writing things!

If you didn’t already know, I’m interning at Seattle Magazine this summer. I’m one of two Digital Editorial Assistants for the magazine’s website; in addition to uploading content from print to web, we get to write our own articles! Super exciting stuff. Check out my latest post on seattlemag.com:

http://www.seattlemag.com/article/best-outdoor-events-summer-2015