King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have announced their 18th studio album Butterfly 3000, set to be self-released on June 11th. The band will forgo releasing any singles, tracklist or cover art ahead of the album but they have revealed that the cover will feature a “cross-eyed autostereogram” designed by Jason Galea and the sound will be “melodic and psychedelic”. The album was based around modular synth loops.
A press release for the album said: “Their 18th studio album, Butterfly 3000 might be their most fearless leap into the unknown yet; a suite of ten songs that all began life as arpeggiated loops composed on modular synthesisers, before being fashioned into addictive, optimistic and utterly seductive dream-pop by the six-piece. The album sounds simultaneously like nothing they’ve ever done before, and thoroughly, unmistakeably Gizz, down to its climactic neon psych-a-tronic flourish. This is undoubtedly the most accessible and jubilant album of their career”
The new album follows on from L.W. released back in February, the second part to the band’s K.G.L.W double album.
As the years roll on by and our lives change for the better or worse, the one constant through everything seems to be King Gizzard’s relentless output. They’ve seemingly done it all, from a never-ending album with Nonagon Infinity, to a jazz-infused collaboration on Sketches Of Brunswick East. Now the band seem to be taking a step back from seeing how far they can push their sound, to refining sounds that have become familiar to them. This isn’t just any release from the band it’s worth noting, this is both the 2nd and 3rd in a series of albums. 2nd in that it follows on from last years K.G., together making the K.G.L.W double album. And 3rd in the Explorations Intro Microtonal Tuning series, the other two being 2017’s Flying Microtonal Banana and K.G. What the band sought to do on K.G. was see how many of their styles they could fit within this microtonal soundscape to create an album that defined the band by being self-titled. Now on the second half of that project the band are drawing influence from themselves, to create a full project that deservedly takes the bands name.
If K.G. was the album that allowed the band to set a statement for their sound, then L.W. is the weird brother that on the surface looks the same, but deep down there’s something much more sinister at work. Straight off the bat the band add a new style and sound to their catalogue with the minimalist funk inspired opener “If Not Now, Then When?”. They speak on familiar themes of climate change, that could be found all over 2019’s Fishing For Fishies, asking again of why action isn’t being taken now, why are we waiting until “the oceans turn to black, When the animals are dead”. It’s worth noting as well that the flow of the songs that was found all over K.G. is felt immediately into this album as well as closer “The Hungry Wolf Of Fate” leads directly into this opener.
On K.G. “Honey” was the band adding a more acoustic driven flavour of microtonal sweetness into the mix. On this album the acoustic tracks make an appearance in the forms of “Static Electricity” and “East West Link”, but this time there’s something much more unnerving about the sound. “Static Electricity” shifts through various movements of spacey synthesiser whirlwinds, intoxicating guitar melodies and phaser smothered solos. This song truly feels like what it must be like to travel down an electric wire into a plug socket, each movement pushing you along, losing yourself into the ether of psychedelic textures around you. It’s the band at their most left-field and therefore most exciting. Seamlessly transitioning into the Turkish folk infused “East West Link” that acts almost of an extension of the former song; a swirling link if you will. It’s in these moments that King Gizzard truly showcase their compositional and production supremacy.
There are of course the moments on that do lean into the more “rock-centric” corner of the bands sound, with the likes of “O.N.E” and “Pleura” not being too dissimilar in aesthetic to “Automation”. It’s fun to listen to but isn’t the most adventurous that King Gizzard can be. That’s not to say however that the ever-changing time signatures, thanks to drummer Michael Cavanagh, aren’t something to truly admired. Which is something that was mentioned on our K.G. review, the flow and movements that he creates to go between songs and even within songs are so seamless that they slip right by you without any trail; dust in the wind. This incredible percussion is also showcased all over the patriarchal teardown “Supreme Ascendancy”. As Ambrose Kenny-Smith hits out agains the Catholic church, “Childhoods tragically ripped from their shaking feet, Conscious yet inadequate”, Cavanagh simultaneously drives the track along whilst drawing you in to its unrelenting groove.
King Gizzard are no stranger to metal at this point, whether you’re looking at 2019’s trash outing Infest The Rats Nest or “The Great Chain Of Being” from 2017’s Gumboot Soup. And they take another swing at the sludge metal aspect of this sound in the form of 8 minute closer “K.G.L.W”. This and the opener from K.G. act as bookends for both of the albums, wrapping them neatly together. On this occasion they extend the riff out into its most doom filled form. It’s crunchy, it’s heavy and there’ll certainly be a lot of head banging at concerts. However the track could do with being about half the length. Although it’s a great melody and can act now as almost a theme tune for the band, it almost feels like a slog to get to the end of the album. You can see the band were going for more of a loose jam feel with this track but with only a few melodic changes and riffs to carry the track over its run time it doesn’t match up to some of the other long tracks within the King Gizzard catalogue, of which there are many.
These two albums are clearly not King Gizzard’s most experimental outings, but they’re not trying to be. What they are however are gateways to the wonderful world of The Gizzverse. They showcase almost every aspect of the band’s sound up to this point, whether you’re a diehard Gizz fan or a newcomer to the band eclectic sound, there’s something for everyone here. But one question still remains, who truly is the Lizard Wizard?
Australian 6-piece King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have announced new album LW, set to be released next Friday, February 25th. This comes after the band released two singles from the album “If Not Now, Then When?” and “O.N.E“. On the bands website there has been a countdown which some fans speculated would be the announcement of the album, however this has proven to be the actual release date.
LW follows on from KG which was released last year, revisit our review here, and has also been speculated by fans for a while after a t-shirt sold by the band listing album names also included LW.
The band have also shared a third single from the album “Pleura”, to which the video for was filmed, edited and published yesterday (February 17th) and released today.
Watch the new video below.
1. IF NOT NOW, THEN WHEN? 2. O.N.E. 3. PLEURA 4. SUPREME ASCENDANCY 5. STATIC ELECTRICITY 6. EAST WEST LINK 7. ATARAXIA 8. SEE ME 9. K.G.L.W.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have shared new single “O.N.E” and an accompanying music video directed by Alex Mclarren. This comes after they released “If Not Now, Then When?” back in December, coming only a few weeks after their 16th studio album K.G. Read our original review here and where we placed it in our albums of the year list here.
The Australian 6-piece have also just announced their first show of 2021 at Sydney Music Bowl, Melbourne on February 26th with Tropical Fuck Storm as support. Tickets are on sale on Monday 1st of February.
The one thing that has kept all us going this year is the amount of incredible music that has continued to flow out of every part of the musical spectrum. There’s been some truly incredible releases over the past twelve months, and we are forever grateful for every artist that has released music to keep us going through these truly wild times. With that said, we’ve narrowed down what we believe is the absolute best of the best of this year, it was no easy task, but to us this is the music that truly stood above the rest.
30. Armand Hammer – Shrines
Surely album cover of the year. This, their fourth album, reflects the angst and anger felt by many. Somehow they still come out sounding quite positive.
— Barry Tucker
29. Tony Bontana – Di-Splay
Witnessing an artist at their dawn is never always easy. However since Bontana’s existence in the musical world, his debut album only capitalises on his extremely concise and evocative musicianship. Di-Splay shows Bontana coming into his own, the album includes a great deal of features that highlights the extreme amount of talent that Bontana is amongst and works with. Godspeed to Tony.
— David Tucker
28. Hachiku – I’ll Probably Be Asleep
Anika Ostendorf releases her long awaited debut album, and her sound has never been fresher. Combining elements of dream-pop, shoegaze and indie rock, Ostendorf has created an album that’s as assured in its delivery as it is as catchy in its grooves. Recorded mostly by just Ostendorf herself “in whatever bedroom she was currently inhabiting” according to her Bandcamp bio, but this only adds to the raw and emotive sound she captures on this album. It’s the almost ultimate lockdown album, touching on themes of becoming grounded and accepting where your life is in the moment, except it was written over the course of the last two years. Perhaps Ostendorf knows more than we do? Either way one thing we know is that we have spent hours getting lost in the swaying sounds of this fantastic debut.
— James Pearson
27. Quelle Chris & Chris Keys – Innocent Country 2
Back for their second collaboration since 2015’s Innocent Country. It’s full of mellow tunes delivered in Quelle’s laid back style. Quelle says the theme of the album is peace. Not a bad shout.
— Barry Tucker
26. Lianne La Havas – Lianne La Havas
Full of soul, love and a huge helping of natural talent, Lianne La Havas’ latest album is rightly self titled. This album is La Havas through and through. Incredible vocal performances, woozy and dreamy songwriting and an abundance of confidence. Featuring one the most intoxicating riffs in the form of “Can’t Fight” that we named as one of the best songs of the year. And a truly mesmerising cover of Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes” that’ll leave you in utter awe at just how much new depth La Havas brings to this track, just listen to that vocal rise towards the end of the song.
Dan Snaith returns with a more lowkey follow up to 2014’s Our Love, but his extreme craftsmanship and attention to detail remains prominent throughout. Manipulating sounds at his will, to create some of the most heartbreaking whilst simultaneously dance hall worthy beats yet. Acting as a retrospective on his relationship with others and his self, the majestry of this album lies within its ability to be raw whilst being full of joy all at the same time. “Never Come Back” is the perfect example of this, as Snaith looks back at the fallout of a breakup, backed by a highly intoxicating groove. Read here why we named it one of the best songs of the year.
— James Pearson
24. Ulla – Tumbling Towards A Wall
To witness an album so effectively dissolve music to its natural organic roots has never been so beautiful to witness. Sound moves in organic movement, tonal sounds trickle and slide through polyrhythmic trajectories. Ulla Straus composes each of the tracks with a keen eye for satisfaction. Sounds sustain before crumbling and swinging forming clusters. Listening to this album is the pure definition of chaotic beauty. Understanding a collective movement of all parts forming a complete whole.
— David Tucker
23. Perfume Genius – Set My Heart On Fire Immediately
Mike Hadreas follows up 2017’s No Shape with an album that shifts and twists through various styles of pop, shoegaze, country and industrial rock. Yet in each field of sound Hadreas has never sounded as confident as on this album. The one thing that binds all these varying sounds and moods together is Hadreas phenomenal vocal performance. He consistently pushes himself to see how intimate and simultaneously vibrant as he can get. There’s also room for one of the best alternative pop songs of this year in the form of “On The Floor” that has such a fantastic groove, melody and chorus that it’ll have you on the floor, either from dancing too much to it or reading deep into the lyrics.
On their debut album, Off The Meds define their sound with a huge collection of absolute bangers. From start to finish the album contains addictive rhythms and lyrics that will keep you driven and motivated. The creativity of the sound being put into each of the tracks is so refreshing whilst making the tracks so much more enjoyable. Dance music at its finest!
— David Tucker
21. Bdrmm – Bedroom
It’s easy these days for any band with a reverb pedal and overdriven guitars to be classed as “somewhat shoegaze”. However there’s a feeling that needs to be captured when creating this music, and on debut album Bedroom, bdrmm define this mood to a T. Searing soundscapes, hard hitting riffs and lyrics that speak on themes of self-acceptance, anxiety and the disparity of youth. Their influences are clear, but the delivery matches that of many of the shoegaze greats.
One of the most assured and confident debut albums released this year from Bristol based country, folk, indie singer-songwriter Katy J Pearson. There’s not a moment on this album that feels wasted or half-arsed as Pearson delivers one heartfelt ballad after another. There’s also a some truly captivating songwriting and storytelling layered within each song, just look at opener “Tonight”. But there’s also some fantastically groovy pop bangers within, such as “Take Back The Radio”, which we named as one of the best songs of the year. Pearson has finally declared herself as a modern country queen and we hope her reign is long and joyous.
Archie Marshall’s bleak and blissful songwriting continues to be ever enchanting on third album Man Alive!. On The OOZ Marshall created a world for the listener to inhabit, but this time around he’s taken a look at the world around him, pondering questions of what the hell is going on? Through jazzy instrumentation and hazy soundscapes Marshall returns with perhaps his most succinct project to date, refining his sound to its purest elements. There’s also deep amounts of raw emotion laid bare on this album, from the isolation inspired “(Don’t Let The Dragon) Draag On” to the dreary ballad of “Perfecto Miserable”, Marshall is at his most vulnerable. Through all the despair and depression that’s infused within this album there’s also an underlying sense of hope, that things might just get better if we try. The blissful serenity sign off on closer “Please Complete Thee” is an embodiment of just that.
Ana Roxanne has an incredible ability to transport you to a plain of absolute tranquility through her deeply meditative and evoking ambient music. As she intertwines elements of nature within her songs she allows you to reconnect with the world around you, realising its true beauty. Even just the simple mellotron arpeggio of “- – -” can take you back to memories and places you thought had long been forgotten. Read here why we named it one of the best songs of the year. The cover may be just a simple white sleeve, but within there’s so much more colour and vibrancy that can only be truly appreciated when you dive deep into the sounds.
Pink Siifu released NEGRO this year, a very angry and noisy album. In contrast, this collab sounds fresh and relaxed, and with its huge number of amazing contributors (Madlib and liv.e to name two), reflects much of their musical heritage, but is firmly a modern hiphop classic.
— Barry Tucker
16. I Break Horses – Warnings
A truly magical journey of dream-pop, carried by Maria Lindën’s dreamy vocals. Built out of Lindën re-imaging the soundtracks to classic films she was watching, Warnings is one of those hidden gems that just makes you stop when you first hear it. Infusing elements of 80’s pop and alternative electronic music, this album is as colourful as it is expansive. It’s easy to get lost in the many layered soundscapes that Lindën beautifully crafts, just look at opener “Turn”. Just over 9 minutes long and yet over that course it consistently moves and travels within itself, taking you along with it on a cloud of pure bliss.
The more brutal and bloody follow up to 2019’s There Existed An Addiction To Blood sees Daveed Diggs and co. create a true horror movie within an album. The flow and rhythm of Diggs’ deeply descriptive and potent storytelling is largely unrivalled. The production of this album is also a feat within itself, fusing elements of hip-hop, industrial metal and noise rock to make a sound that is as harsh as it is captivating, drawing you in with every listen. “Say The Name” is a perfect example of this as the ending descends into all out twisted chaos. Sequels always have the immense task of becoming bigger than the original, and Visions Of Bodies Being Burned does just that, with an unchallenged cool. There’s also an incredible amount of perfectly placed and effective features from the likes of Cam & China, Ho99o9 and Sickness.
— James Pearson
14. Adrianne Lenker – Songs And Instrumentals
After Big Thief’s tour at the start of the year was cut short, Adrianne Lenker returned back to Massachusetts, rented a small cabin and said she would give herself a break from working. The exact opposite of that happened and the result of Lenker’s itching desire to write is Songs And Instrumentals. Recorded entirely through its entire process on analogue equipment, this album is intimacy defined to its core. The glistening guitars and floating melodies of “Anything” is enough to make anyone believe that they can find love. Lenker is at one with nature on this album and through the natural recording techniques and bird sounds placed throughout she perfectly captures that feeling of getting back to simplicity.
What a year for SAULT! Releasing their 3rd and 4th albums of soul with jazz, hiphop and Afrobeat tweaks. Inflo and Cleo Sol (whose solo album is also very good) have made tunes that in these difficult times, need to be heard.
— Barry Tucker
12. Charli XCX – How I’m Feeling Now
Charli XCX continues her incredible run of powerful future pop albums with her latest How I’m Feeling Now, an album written and created entirely during lockdown. It’s not only a showcase of Charli’s incredible songwriting talent, but her never diminishing work ethic. Packed full of bangers and dance-floor anthems that capture the desire we all have to simply be around people again. Opener “Pink Diamond” is an ode to the club and that feeling of joy from being within a big crowd where the only feeling that is going round is just pure joy. Produced in part by Dylan Brady, one half of hyper-pop masterminds 100 gecs, this album also features some clear cut production, almost feeling as if you’re inside a vacuum as every sound is pulled front and centre. The ultimate lockdown album shows just what can be done within the limitations of home.
— James Pearson
11. HMLTD – West Of Eden
The ethos of HMLTD is to never create two songs that sound the same, and boy is this album packed full of variety. From spaghetti western ballads, to post punk ragers to the text to speech Japanese glitch pop “Why?”, this album has it all. But just because the style changes that doesn’t mean the quality does. Each song is full of so much bravado that it’s enticing to try and guess where they will be going next. This album certainly packs a punch, just listen to the bass line of “LOADED”, whilst also being heartfelt and full of earnest on the 80’s pop ballad anthem “Mikey’s Song”. Read here why we named it one of the best songs of the year. A commentary on the disparity of modern civilisation, whilst also offering hope that we can start anew, this is certainly a capsule of modern life distilled into a downright joyously crafted album.
— James Pearson
10. Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist – Alfredo
The latest outing from Gibbs shows him team up with long time master producer Alchemist. Gibbs is an absolute professional when it comes to story telling. The way that messages and narratives are put together are a mix between humorous and sobering. This album yet again defines Gibbs as one of the most important artists of out generation. Alchemist provides the perfect landscape for an 80s film that Gibbs narrates.
— David Tucker
9. Nothing – The Great Dismal
There might not be a better representation of the bleakness that many of us have felt this year than The Great Dismal. Cathartic and devastating is the sound that encompasses the Philly band’s fourth studio album. Inspired by the images that emerged of a black hole, the band paints truly disturbing scenes both with their lyricism and sonic explosions. Touching on themes of isolation, extinction and human behaviour, the band have soundtracked, almost unknowingly the mood and collective feeling of this year. This album feels like it’s constantly trying to burst out of it’s soundscapes whilst simultaneously sucking you in to a great void of nothing. They have taken their already devastating sound and expanded it out into new and vibrant directions.
The debut from Rina Sawayama is truly enticing, showcasing her ability to blend and fuse genre’s and sounds through her extremely powerful vocal performances. Just look at the Marxist anthem of “XS” as the power pop verse’s crash into the chorus with the overdrive infused descending metal guitar lines. There’s also perhaps one of the best vocal performances of the year on opener “Dynasty” as Sawayama matches the swirling lead guitar line note for note, leaving you truly awestruck. Throughout its runtime this album never slows down, consistently offering new and exciting ideas that showcases how much of a natural talent Sawayama has. It’s like a festival where Sawayama is fronting every band. As far as debut’s go they don’t get much better than this. We’ll be keenly watching to see what Sawayama comes up with next.
Devastatingly brutal is the sound of IDLES third album Ultra Mono. This is the band at their most refined and potent. They narrow their sonic output out to be it’s most powerful and don’t leave any room for interpretation on their political stances. From the anti-war opener “War” with its spitfire like drum solo to the behemoth bass swells of “Reigns”, IDLES have concurred the studio to create their most black and white sounding album yet, or mono if you will. But even more hard hitting than the instrumentation is lead singer Joe Talbot’s growling vocal delivery. There’s anger, fury within his voice, but it’s all driven by love. Continuing to call out the small minded government that runs this country whilst simultaneously trying to unify everyone that listens to his words. Ultra Mono is a culmination of everything IDLES have become and holds its place as one of the most explosive punk albums released this year.
The greatest aspect of Silver Ladders is Mary Lattimore’s talent for evoking memories and telling deep and flowing stories with only the pluck of her harp strings. The intricacy of the movements that Lattimore intertwines into each song takes you into a deep space of acceptance and unity with the world. These songs are perfect for a cozy night inside or a late night walk through lamplit streets. Produced by Slowdive’s Neil Halstead, there’s also aspects of shoegaze sewn throughout, which can be heard through the cascading guitars on “Til A Mermaid Drags You Under”. Further evolving Lattimore’s sound to become so full of life and subtle beauty that you feel each note gliding over you, taking you further out into the blissful cosmos she creates.
Birth. Death. Taxes. King Gizzard releasing new music. These are the constants of life as we said in our review of K.G., the 16th (!!) studio album in ten years from the genre defying band of magicians King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. And if you’re looking for a place to start in their comprehensive catalogue then there might not be a better place to start than this album. Defining and refining the eccentric elements of the bands sound to an ever changing and yet continuously flowing tracklist, the self title of the album is truly deserved. Just listen to the transition from the woozy folk ballad of “Honey” to the Black Sabbath infused closer “The Hungry Wolf Of Fate”. Also featuring the bands take on a “90’s Turkish house banger” in the form of the groovy “Intrasport”. Adding to all that, this album was recorded remotely with the members being in various lockdown’s, they really are an ever chugging well oiled machine.
— James Pearson
4. Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
Kevin Parker has done it again. Arriving 5 years after the heartbreak fuelled and synthesiser driven Currents, The Slow Rush sees Parker take a look back at his life and where he’s going next. Although over the years Tame Impala’s sound has gone through many phases, one thing that has remained consistent is Parker’s incredible attention to detail for creating sonic landscapes and his studio wizardry. The sound might not be as clean as Currents, but there’s still so many layers and flowing melodies to each song that you could spend a day just trying to unpack one. Parker also embraces a more disco-centric sound on “Breathe Deeper” and “Lost In Yesterday”, whilst still keeping that flair of psychedelia about them. But almost by accident Parker soundtracked a pandemic with opener “One More Year” as the vocals swirl and chant “One more year” around the soundscape. Four albums in and Parker still has that signature flair of excellence that is ever present.
— James Pearson
3. L.A. Priest – Gene
It is rare that an album is so self aware of its existence within the first four words. “Shit is fiery fire” is just about the best way to sum up Gene. The sophomore album further establishes La Priest as one of the funkiest, electrifying and downright great songwriters of the contemporary alternative scene. Each track is flooded with an abundance of beautiful noise that makes every song all the more vivid and meaningful. Instruments fizz and bubble like the pot of a magical wizard. I’m not religious, but this is one priests sermon i’ve been attending every Sunday.
The amount of beauty and sadness that Phoebe Bridgers packs into her sophomore album is unmeasurable. The stories told and their heartbreaking delivery from Bridgers help establish her as one of modern musics greatest storytellers. This is the perfect headphones in the dark album. Sonically this album also pushes Bridgers sound design to its most enticing, there’s not a moment that doesn’t make you think, how did they do that? Just listen to “Garden Song”‘ and its crunching, almost watered down guitar riff try and push out of the mix as it chugs along. And of course it wouldn’t be a Phoebe Bridgers album without a soundtrack to the apocalypse. The incredible movement from guitar ballad to all out cathartic fanfare on “I Know The End” is a true testament to not only Bridgers’ incredible song writing talent but also as a retrospective on the modern day. Read here why we named it the best song of the year.
This album has been the soundtrack to our year. Highly anticipated before its release and upon its delivery there was nothing to disappoint. This album simply gets better with every listen. Packed full of banger after banger, this is a culmination of the bands rise of the last few year as well as their incredibly intricate and subtly fierce songwriting. Casual listeners may just hear these as average “indie” songs, but there’s so much more to them than that. A certain mystique and spark of magic lies within every song, it’s hard to describe. Whether it be the almost deadpan delivery of Asha Lorenz and Louis O’Bryen’s vocal delivery, or the incredibly haunting and often uneasy soundscapes that the band creates underneath a seemingly upbeat sound. “As The Sun Sets” is a perfect example of this, read here why we named it as the second best song of the year. The title 925 is a reference to Silver 925, but for us this album is pure gold.
Birth. Death. Taxes. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard releasing new music. These are the constants of life. Coming just over a year, a long time in King Gizzard fandom scale, after their last studio album Infest The Rats Nest which saw the Australian, now 6 piece, venture into yet another sonic territory of thrash metal, K.G. is the latest instalment in the ever expansive King Gizzard catalogue. 2017 saw the band release 5 studio albums, a feat within itself, but if you count all of the live releases the band have released this year as well as the demos album then technically this is their 8th release of this year alone. This album also isn’t just the next in the bands prolific output however, it’s also subtitled as “Explorations Into Microtonal Tuning Volume 2”, following on from 2017’s Flying Microtonal Banana. Taking inspiration from Turkish folk music, using instruments with microtonal tuning, notes in between a normal scale of notes. Keen eared listeners will also hear that the high pitched note that detunes at the very of “Flying Microtonal Banana” the song gets reversed and leads in the opening track “K.G.L.W”. With a melody almost exactly the same as “Billabong Valley” the band open with familiar grounds to ease you in, just to take you on one of the wildest rides a King Gizzard album has brought about to date.
This idea of songs flowing into one another is something that King Gizzard have been using for many albums now, just look at Nonagon Infinity, if put on loop that album would literally never reach a conclusion. But the difference on K.G. is that every song flows into each song almost seamlessly whilst simultaneously changing styles in between. You need look no further than the transition from the acoustic love ballad of “Honey” to the Black Sabbath infused sludge metal closer “The Hungry Wolf Of Fate”. Changing styles has been the one constant of King Gizzard, you never know where they’ll take it next. It seem quite apt that a self titled album would follow this pattern through every song. But it’s not just the band giving a half inspired attempt at these styles, the truly go all in. “Intrasport” is the bands first outing into “Turkish 90’s House” as they put it. A funky bass line, great groove, big drops, and hushed vocals of “Liquified hair” and “Ignited taste buds” all point to one thing, we need a full King Gizzard house album. There’s of course the usual outings into heavy rock in the forms of “Automation” and “Oddlife”, the latter of which almost treading into punk territory with Ambrose Kenny-Smiths proclaimed chorus lines.
It’s worth noting that this album was created during quarantine and lockdown with each of the band members sending ideas back and forth to each other. It’s quite something to create an album that sounds so tightly composed, whilst each member was separated from the rest. A true testament to the band’s synchronicity. But even whilst members were apart the sound of this album is as tight as ever, with frontman Stu Mackenzie once again taking production duties. Wether it’s the bubbling synthesisers and power chords of “Some Of Us” or the driving drum beats of “Ontology”, there’s never a moment that the soundscapes the band creates become less than hypnotic. Flavours of woodwind instruments and ethereal synths spliced throughout. It doesn’t mean to say however that the lo-fi sound that was found in the days of Float Along, Fill Your Lungs is completely gone. The acoustic guitars on “Straws In The Wind” sound almost like they were recorded in a bathroom, with a jarring off key texture to them. And yet they fit in with the rest of the sound almost effortlessly. They make a reappearance on lead single “Honey” from which Mackenzie has said that they were recorded on an iPhone to give them that signature grainy distortion. A technique the band previously used on debut album 12 Bar Bruise with the title track. Their sound has come a long way since then, but the essence has stayed the same.
The gizzverse is a story that has been described throughout many of King Gizzards albums, taking influence from modern day political and ecological landscapes. It’s always hard to say for sure when the band might or might not be alluding to this story. But the zeitgeist of the present day can be still be heard in various moments. “Like the wind on a sail, I’ll steer you along, And the germs outside I’ll keep you from”, a clear reference to the reason this album was recorded in isolation on “Honey”. And a slightly more general look of the world comes on “Straws In The Wind” as Kenny-Smith sings “Cooking something raw, cooking something big, Pandemonium, selfish pigs, Headless chickens scared shitless, The media will never quit”. King Gizzard have always had a talent to sew their political and ideological views carefully into their lyrics and on this album it’s perhaps its most prevalent, leaving little to be interpreted. “It’s fun, fuck the system” declares Mackenzie on opener “Automation”. K.G. still, as per standard, has its fair share of harrowing, world building stories as well. “I used to drеam about killing certain people, Drеams that sew me up like sleeping with a needle, Those feelings that I had are building up to something” proclaims Joey Walker on “Intrasport”. Under the cover of the funky groove of the song it would be easy to dismiss it as just King Gizzard’s most danceable songs to date, but peel back the layers and hidden underneath is a horror story waiting to be discovered. A trope that the band seems to have perfected, just go and read the lyrics of the happy-go-lucky sounding Paper Maché Dream Ballon.
Although K.G. might not be the bands most left-field outing, using some familiar sounds and ideas that have cropped up in previous projects, it might just stand as there most refined project to date. Working well under the self-titled name, this album stands as a pillar stone for everything King Gizzard. Screeching guitars, nightmare dystopian themes and fantastic riffs and melodies, all whilst holding a profound amount of musicianship. If anybody is looking for a place to start in the chronicles of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, this is certainly a well-serving springboard for what the band has offered so far.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have shared a new demo albums featuring early versions of songs throughout their discography.
The new albums were teased in an email from the band earlier in the week where they also teased more new music to come after these singles. “First double drop is MEGA DIY – OCT 2nd. Pretty loose. Kinda shit but kinda sick type vibes. DW 2nd double drop is way more legit. Keep your eyes on our bandcamp”.
On Instagram lead singer Stu Mackenzie said about the new album “Ok, so this one required a fair old loosening of the ego to put out there. But sometimes you’ve just got to make yourself as small as an ant and let go… These are recordings that were never meant to see the light of day. But here they are: loose as; sloppy as. Hopefully endearing. In truth an insane amount of effort and love went into these songs and i feel buoyed by sharing them. I’ve shed my skin, i’m a butterfly, i’m on fire. Stu xoxox”
The band have also released another live album Live In Asheville 19 which is the 5th live album they’ve released this year along side Adelaide, Brussels, Paris and Chunky Shrapnel.
Earlier in the year King Gizzard released 3 new singles ‘Honey’, ‘Some Of Us’ and ‘Straws In The Wind’.
To fully appreciate the extent of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s rise to underground superstars you need to not only realise what they’ve achieved in just a small space of time, but how much work has gone into achieving it.
Since they released their first album, 12 Bar Bruise, way back in 2012 the definition of what King Gizzard are has been blown way out into the world they now make their own. Starting out as a garage rock-esque outfit that made football stadium sing-alongs such as the aptly titled ‘Footy Footy’. They quickly transitioned to involve a more experimental psychedelic sound with 2013’s ‘Float Along Fill Your Lungs’ opening with the 15 minute mind bending journey that is ‘Head On/ Pill’.
They’ve been labelled with the ‘psych-rock’ tag for most of their career but they’ve done plenty more than that, delving into the realms of Polyryhthmic Math Rock on 2017’s Polygondwanaland. Adding flairs of Jazz with ‘Sketches Of Brunswick East, a collaboration album with Mild High Club’s Alexander Brettin. The bluesy boogie-woogie vibes of last years ‘Fishing For Fishies’. And their latest venture into a new world of sound with the thrash metal thriller ‘Infest The Rats Nest’.
They’re now on a small stature of 15 albums in their 8 year tenure, with more music apparently on the way. And it certainly hasn’t been a case of quantity over quality as each album has its own personality and freshness all whilst showcasing King Gizzard’s collective songwriting ability in a new style each time.
Aside from their dense album output, they’ve also become notorious for their hectic and high energy live shows. With lead singer and guitarist Stu Mckenzie becoming “possessed” whilst playing, throwing himself and his guitar in every direction whilst simultaneously hitting every note. The below video might help explain.
Chunky Shrapnel follows the band across their 2019 European tour and to their biggest headline show to date at Alexandra Palace in London. What this live album does is perfectly blend together the chaotic live performance appeal with the finely composed movements of intricate songwriting from the albums.
It showcases a band that are on top of their game, for whatever style the choose. The pounding riffs of ‘Planet B’ or ‘Hell’. The chaotic noise-rock composition of ‘Murder Of The Universe’ backed up by a text to speech robot. The bluesy piano ballad of ‘Let Me Mend The Past’. They’re all unique in genre, but still meld together so well that you can’t help but admire their songwriting range and ability to quickly switch between these styles in a live capacity.
The theme of music that blends together isn’t an uncommon one in the King Gizzard world. There’s a theory that all of their albums tell part of a story, all from different points in time of the story. ‘The River’ and ‘Wah Wah’ were recorded 1051 miles apart on two separate nights, Luxembourg and Madrid respectively, but they still move seamlessly into one another, with elements of ‘The River’ still creeping up at various points in ‘Wah Wah’. This then transitions again into one of the best performances on the album in ‘Road Train’. The pounding drums and grinding riff feels like you’re being punched in the face, and smiling about it the whole time through your bloody teeth.
Theirs also some incredible displays of musicianship sown throughout. The insane drum solo from one of their two drummers, Michael Cavanagh, on the song ‘Parking’. The three part excerpt of ‘Inner Cell’, ‘Loyalty’ and ‘Horology’ from ‘Polygondwanaland’ is one of the most intricate pieces of music on the album, with varying time signatures, ever change guitar riffs and perhaps one of the most hardest hitting moments on the album with Stu Mackenzie’s addition of a vocoder to the line “This is a test, I am Lord, I am death”.
Away from the chaos of all the gigs the album scatters in some new ambient compositions to allow you to breath. ‘Quarantine’ is a spacey sci-fi infused transition piece that wouldn’t feel out of place on an old episode of Doctor Who. And ‘Anamnesis’ is perhaps the most peaceful piece in the King Gizzard discography. A twinkly piano dances with a wailing synth to create a truly beautiful moment in the album. It would be interesting to see if they expand on this sound in future releases.
And what would be a more King Gizzard way than to end a live album with a 20 minute jam? ‘A Brief History Of Planet Earth’ as they’ve called it starts out with an excerpt from the infamous ‘Rattlesnake’ and eventually devolves into a bluesy boogie jam with members of the band occasionally shouting “Ooh Yeah!”. It’s worth noting that in the film that this soundtrack accompanies, the band takes this opportunity to one-by-one go for a crowd-surf and eventually swapping instruments with members of the support bands.
The albums title is certainly fitting as this live album is packed full of only the chunkiest elements of the King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard phenomenon.