Support your local record store, they say. So you do. As much as you can. Until you see New Zealand’s biggest chain-store selling the new 2xLP reissue of James Brown’s Motherlode for just $20, and then all principles go out the window. Take my cash, corporate face of capitalism!
The next logical step is to go one further and purchase directly from the band. Either at the merch table at one of their gigs, or through Bandcamp or the band’s online store. The last time Tame Impala played in New Zealand, I bought a t-shirt from their merch stand. Brilliant. The band get all my money and there’s no middle man.
So, when pre-orders for Tame Impala’s fourth studio album, The Slow Rush, went on sale last year, I jumped at the chance. I could have bought it from my local independent on release day, but I thought that I would continue to support the band by buying from their online store. It was an exclusive colour variant too. Sweet.
Valentines Day, the 14th of February 2020, rolls around and the album is released across the globe. In New Zealand, like any other countries, the independent record stores get a push from the band’s label (Universal) who set them up as Tame Impala pop-up stores, with exclusive colour variants of the record, band t-shirts, bags, stickers, etc. A brilliant move, from a band that continues to go from strength to strength.
Almost three weeks later, I receive my LP in the post. Three weeks! That’s a lifetime when you know other people are enjoying it, without going to the steps you did. Grrr. First-world problems and all that, but still… The other possibility is that my delivery was delayed by the postal bottleneck through China as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. A possibility, yes, but the local record stores all got their stock in advance of release day.
There should be an element of loyalty to those who pre-order from the band’s website, to match the loyalty they’re showing to the band. But still, it’s Universal we’re talking about, who probably operate a hundred other ‘band’ stores, and so I might as well have bought it from my local chain-store in the end. Lesson learned.
Will I let this affect my thoughts on the album? Possibly. I still rate the Manic Street Preachers’
Know Your Enemy album very poorly on the basis that the record label crammed 75 minutes of music onto just two sides of vinyl. This feels like a similar blunder on the behalf of Tame Impala’s record label. A fuck you to the fans.
On my long awaited first listen to The Slow Rush, Kevin Parker, the man who is Tame Impala in everything from writing, performing, producing and mixing, has continued down the same route as 2015’s Currents. The guitar-oriented sound from his first two albums now seem like a distant memory, and we’re now firmly in a world of drum beats, synths and pianos. If anything, this album sounds like a lot less thought has gone into it than his previous efforts.
Or maybe I’m just bitter.
Hit: Lost In Yesterday
Hidden Gem: Is It True