Posts Tagged ‘King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’

RSTB Best of 2017

So this year is drawing to a close, or almost, we’re still a few weeks away from pushing the broken pieces of 2017 into the trash. There’s no real solace from a lot of the events that took place this year, but, independent of any current events, music has been kind to us all this year. These are the records that spent the most time on the turntable over here. Yeah, I know its kind of a lot, but there were far too many good ones that haven’t been getting the shouts they need elsewhere. Lets say this serves as both a best of and a most overlooked in one go. If you enjoy ’em, buy ’em if you can. Don’t do them the disservice of just bumping up the streaming numbers.

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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

King Gizzard have never been accused of slacking, but 2017 might just be pushing the limits for the band. Flying Microtonal Banana is the first of five proposed albums to be relesed by the end of the year and it booms out with a concept no less. The album is built around member Stu McKenzie’s acquisition of a microtonal guitar. The decision was then made to challenge the rest of the band to acquire instruments operating in microtonal tuning. The band then set out to lay down the workings of Banana. The result is an album that’s still fed on the band’s relentless rhythm, but with the addition of the insturmentation limitations, gives the album a middle-eastern psych quality that’s a nice shift.

Basically the album winds up sounding like King Gizzard as fed through bent psych of Turkish guitar slinger Erkin Koray, the heavy otherworldlinesss of Flower Traveling Band and the North African shuffle of Tinariwen. But its not all just cribbing notes and rolling them in rumble, the band adds plenty of their signature atmosphere to spacey bits on “Melting” and “Sleep Drifter.” They stretch out into a slower slink on “Billabong Valley” which really ups the Middle Eastern aura, adding in Zurna to float the track into a sea of psych vibes. While not quite as overly ambitious as their loop of fury on Nonagon Infinity, this is nonetheless another more academic approach from a band that never ceases to challenge themselves under the guise of limitations. If this is just the tip of the iceberg in 2017, then I’m plenty excited to see what else lies in the coming months.




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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – “Rattlesnake”

Ah man King Gizz, you’re killing me – not just in the wallet, but with shelf space as well. Soon, I imagine there may well be a shelf in my house that contains only the works of King Gizz, Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees, each of their catalogs expanding at a rate that seems untenable by any human measuremnts. As for the Gizz, they’re announcing their ninth album, Flying Microtonal Banana to be released in February. The album, which is an excercise in using only instruments tuned to a non-western microtonal scale, is set to be the first of five(!) albums out in 2017 from the band. Like I said, its getting hard to harness all this psych on one solid shelf. The video for Rattlesnake, and album cover, naturally arrives via band designer Jason Galea, subject of a recent Design Inspiration feature here on the site. Expect the usual computer doused wonderlands and neon-torched imagery backed up by the band’s motorik chugging, now with an Eastern bent and a dose of Turkish Zurna for good measure.

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Design Inspiration: Jason Galea

This is the second installment of RSTB’s look at the influences that drive the designers behind some of my favorite album covers. Stepping up to the spotlight, Jason Galea opens up about some favorite album covers that have influenced his style. Jason is the designer behind pretty much anything visual that’s connected to Aussie psych warriors King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, plus The Murlocs and the Tame Impala side-project Gum. Galea has also done all of the band’s insane video work and kicked in on a few great Aussie garage comps including the Nuggets comp compiled by Lenny Kaye. The first thing that drew me into King Gizz back when 12 Bar Bruise came out was the artwork, and the triple gatefold on Oddments ranks among my own favorite covers. Its truly using the LP format to its full potential. Below are Jason’s picks that span some recent garage gems and and plenty of psych oddities.

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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – “People Vultures”

Nonagon Infinity is already upon us but that doesn’t mean that King Gizz doesn’t have more in store for the hungry masses. Following up on their cryptic Jodorwosky-tipped video for “Gamma Knife” the band go further into the crazed cavern for “People Vultures.” Hard not to get some psychedelic Power Rangers vibes off of the chyron heavy effects, towering costumes and martial arts weirdness that ensues here, but somehow that all fits in nicely with what the band are hooking in visually for this album. The song was already a killer, now its just got a powerful image to accompany it. If you haven’t given the album a proper listen, then its about damn time. Said it before, but this one’s leading the charge for album of the year around here.

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King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

King Gizz have blessed us with quite a few years of prime psych around here, rolling through a tumble of incarnations – stomping blues, acoustic pop, savage psychedelic storm and cowboy poetry. They’re reviving the storm for Nonagon Infinity, recorded at NY’s famed Daptone studios and over a year in the making; an eternity for a band on a two to three album a year schedule. The polishing has paid off as Nonagon rolls through speakers like a battering ram of rhythm and fury, bringing down a metric ton of squall and slashing at any who might doubt that such a prolific outfit could have this much quality material on lock at all times.

The record runs rampant with a thematic punch, a pounding repeated guitar herald and chant of “Nonagon Infinity opens the door.” The theme plays into the band’s touch of occultism that’s risen in some of their past videos and here they mix that with a doomsday prophecy and lyrics that hint at mankind’s ravaging of the planet. Most environmental screeds don’t burn to the touch like this one does, but King Gizz manage to make the looming atrocities of man’s greed seem both harrowing and thrilling at the same time, like being strapped into a George Miller setpiece and shot at the speed of sound across a desert flatland powered by harmonica screech and a double kick pounce.

What could make the package more enticing? The whole album runs on an infinite loop if you knock it to repeat, feeding back into itself like a lysergic ouroboros with a furious appetite for destruction. It goes without saying that this was highly anticipated but in the wake of its scorched path, this is going to be a hard one for anyone to touch as album of the year.


Support the artist. Buy it HERE (US) or HERE (AUS)

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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – “People-Vultures”

Another drink from the well of King Gizz’ upcoming Nonagon Infinity and this one seems to be a continuation of the musical themes in “Gamma Knife.” The song has the same intensity, driving guitar line and thunder squall that greeted the world previously. The song is an indictment of self-interested parties draining the planet’s resources and as such it’s a nuclear lob in the direction of the corporate behemoths. Its a bleak look, but then again nothing so far from Nonagon Infinity seems like its a day at the park, they left that all behind when the papier-mâché wilted. The record is set to play as part of an infinite loop and hearing these two tracks back to back, a picture of the album’s shape is starting to come into view, ever so slightly. I’m interested to see if, like the suited first half of I’m In Your Mind Fuzz, this one ends up with a brutal kick of tied narrative and tone. Either way, who cares? Its the Gizz and its on fire! This one is, needless to say, one of my most anticipated of the year.




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The Murlocs – “Compensation”

The Murlocs hard driving brand of Garage ‘n B is headed for a new album with the release of Young Blindness later this month. Ahead of its touchdown on the turntable the band, featuring King Gizz harp/key man Ambrose Kenny-Smith, has released a couple of stellar tracks that bode well for the full length soundtracking your Saturday night sweat lodge. The video for “Compensation” is a simple setup, just a dancer and an iPod intercut with a few shots of the band, but with the addition of Jason Galea’s digital crust, it adds a layer of off-kilter distortion that fits the band’s vibe well. The song’s a killer riff that can’t be tamed and if you’re holding out for more from Ambrose’s day gig then you’d be a damn fool to sleep on The Murlocs.

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Best of 2015


Its been a long year at RSTB and though the pace may have been slower on the face, there has been lots going on to be sure. Next year marks our 10 year anniversary and we’ll have a new look shortly, so stay tuned. There will also some other fun things to mark the anniversary as 2016 wears on. But enough of the future, let’s look to the past. Here are my favorites of 2015, as usual in no particular order, along with a mix of tracks.

Blank Realm – Illegals In Heaven (BUY)
Dick Diver – Melbourne, Florida (BUY)
Colleen Green – I Want To Grow Up (BUY)
Young Guv – Ripe For Love (BUY)
Sir Richard Bishop – Tangier Sessions (BUY)
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Paper Mâché Dream Balloon (BUY)
Wand – Golem (BUY) // 1000 Days (BUY)
Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated At Last (BUY)
Ben Chatwin – The Sleeper Awakes (BUY)
Mikal Cronin – MCIII (BUY)
Twerps – Range Anxiety (BUY)
Future Punx – This Is Post-Wave (BUY)
Sean McCann – Ten Impressions for Piano and Strings (BUY)
The Mantles – All Odds End (BUY)
Barreracudas – Can Do Easy (BUY)
Peacers – Peacers (BUY)
Love Axe – South Dakota (BUY)
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – A Year With 13 Moons (BUY)
Fuzz – II (BUY)
Sauna Youth – Distractions (BUY)
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love (BUY)
Swiftumz – Everybody Loves Chris (BUY)
Rabit – Communion (BUY)
Holly Herndon – Platform (BUY)
Herbcraft – Wot Oz (BUY)


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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

King Gizz are keeping their two a year pace with a new full length to cap a pretty incredible year. Always ones to keep the audience wary and on their toes, they exit the jazz rock conceptual phase of Quarters and the dog-eared burnt psych of I’m In Your Mind Fuzz to take things down several notches… volume-wise, at least. The band self-imposed an “acoustic instruments only” policy on the record, roped together some sounds they’d previously never explored (clarinet, cello, double bass) and headed to a shipping container on Stu Mackenzie’s parents farm to record this sucker. The result is a pretty captivating and lilting collection of pop songs that embraces the pastoral background of its origins nicely. The darkness that’s billowed at the corners of their previous work is lifted somewhat and they get back to the weirdness and free spirit rambling of Oddments but still present some of their most easily accessible songs yet. The long winding jam is ever the band’s forte and while they may have turned the electricity off they haven’t exactly lost their ability to bend a song into a frantic bit of blues that explodes into 70’s tinged stadium-sized glory. The band was always meant for more ears and it seems this may be the final push they need. But, hell, who knows what comes from here, the fun seems to be in guessing where they’ll hop to next.

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