Nothing signifies the rock star lifestyle quite like an enormous house with nothing in it. It has been months since Kevin Parker, who records as the psych-rock project Tame Impala, bought this Spanish-style villa with a home recording studio in the Hollywood Hills, where the iconic sign looms over his driveway. But he hasn’t had much time to furnish it. Headlining Coachella, slaving over a long-awaited new album and selling out arenas around the world — including two nights at New York’s Madison Square Garden in August — kind of got in the way.
Late-afternoon sunlight beams through the bare windows onto the hardwood floors, where blue masking tape outlines where furniture will go, though a single, rogue bean bag chair seems to scoff at any such ambitions. “Sorry for the mess,” Parker, 34, mumbles politely, traipsing through the master bedroom, which is decorated with only a mattress and a splayed-open suitcase strewn with T-shirts. He settles on the sprawling balcony — from which he thinks he has glimpsed Brad Pitt taking walks on the hill below — to watch the sunset, a half-finished bottle of Corona in hand. There’s a bedsheet mangled on the outdoor sofa, as if someone recently slept under the stars. “It has taken us a while to get around to furniture,” says Parker. (He married Sophie Lawrence, a marketing strategist and ice cream company director, last February.) He chooses a seat at a metal table. “This table is one of the first things we bought.”
One thing here is recognizable: a gaping window in the living room, which looks just like the one pictured on the cover of The Slow Rush, Tame Impala’s fourth studio album, out — at last — Feb. 14 on Interscope. It’s Parker’s first album in five years, and the culmination of his slow progression toward mainstream, cross-genre recognition. First came the crunchy garage-rock of his 2010 debut, Innerspeaker, then 2012’s Lonerism, with the stomping hit “Elephant” omnipresent thanks to a BlackBerry commercial synch. In 2015, Parker put out his masterpiece: Currents, a richly textured, pop-leaning rumination on personal evolution that reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200, spawned twangy streaming hit “The Less I Know the Better” (still his most popular song on Spotify) and earned a Grammy nomination for best alternative music album.