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King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard



King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard's sense of unfettered sonic exploration makes them easy to mistake them for a long-forgotten relic of the psych explosion of the '60s. With a far-out sound that, at times, feels barely held together, King Gizzard evoke the eclectic rock experimentation of Frank Zappa's early work with the Mothers of Invention, the anything-goes feeling of the Flaming Lips, and the demented glee of a random obscure '60s group plucked from a Pebbles compilation as they follow their musical flights of fancy wherever they might lead. Their prolific nature led them to release albums at a frenetic pace; their intense desire to seek out new sounds -- from expansive jazz-rock (2015's Quarters) to semi-acoustic ballads (the same year's Paper Mâché Dream Balloon), and from sci-fi prog (2017's Murder of the Universe) to trippy garage rock (2014's I'm in Your Mind Fuzz) -- and follow new paths meant that every one of their multitude of releases sounded different from the last, and each one was worth checking out. Some of their albums, especially Nonagon Infinity from 2016, stand shoulder to shoulder with the best psychedelic rock ever made. Formed in 2011 in Melbourne, Australia by a group of friends who jammed frequently, then decided on a whim to play a show, the lineup consisted of vocalist/guitarist Stu Mackenzie, harmonica player/singer Ambrose Kenny-Smith, guitarists Cook Craig and Joey Walker, bassist Lucas Skinner, and dual drummers Michael Cavanagh and Eric Moore. They released two garage rock-inspired EPs in 2001, Anglesea and Willoughby's Beach, then in 2012 released their debut album, 12 Bar Bruise. Working at the kind of feverish pace that became their standard, they followed up just five months later with 2013's Eyes Like the Sky, which the band described as a "spaghetti Western audio book" complete with narration by Ambrose Kenny-Smith's father, the noted Australian musician Broderick Smith. A third full-length, Float Along, Fill Your Lungs, was released in 2013 and was quickly followed by 2014's Oddments and I'm in Your Mind Fuzz. Still working quickly, in early 2015 they released the Quarters EP, which featured four trippy, free jazz-inspired jams that each timed out exactly at 10:10. After signing to ATO Records, their sound took a detour from expanded jams and fuzzy freakouts to tightly constructed, but still weird, laid-back pop songs played exclusively on acoustic instruments on the 2015 album Paper Mâché Dream Balloon. The follow-up, 2016's Nonagon Infinity, was recorded at Daptone Studios and featured some of the band's heaviest, most forceful psych-rock to date. It was recorded so that one track bleeds into the next, then jumps back to the beginning after the last song. They tout it as the "world's first infinitely looping album." The band spent time touring and getting five albums ready for release in 2017. On the first of them, Flying Microtonal Banana, King Gizzard decided to investigate microtonal tuning, a non-Western way of tuning that involves intervals smaller than a semitone. They had a custom-made guitar gifted to them, and the bandmembers bought new gear and altered the instruments so they could be microtuned in a way that made them compatible. The group's second album of 2017, Murder of the Universe, arrived two months later in March. It was broken into three long sections, each one telling a different apocalyptic tale of the human race being taken over by cyborgs and AI while featuring heavy use of synths and spoken word narration. Just before that album's release, the band finished a collaboration with Mild High Club's Alex Brettin, who traveled from L.A. to King Gizzard's Flightless HQ studios in East Brunswick, Melbourne, Australia, where he and Stu Mackenzie put together some rough ideas. The duo was then joined by the rest of the band to fill those ideas in. Titled Sketches of Brunswick East, the album was a heady mix of soft rock, psych-pop, and cosmic jazz. It was released by ATO in August of 2017, mere months before their next record arrived. The relatively straightforward (for King Gizzard) psychedelic opus Polygondwanaland was given away for free and the master tapes were offered to anyone who wanted to press the album up and sell it. ATO was one of the first to take advantage of this, and several other labels followed suit. Fulfilling the group's pledge to put out five albums in 2017, they snuck in Gumboot Soup just under the deadline. The collection of thematically and sonically unconnected songs, a rarity for the group, was issued digitally on December 31, then given a physical release in April of 2018. The group took the rest of 2018 relatively easy, playing occasional shows and not releasing any albums until November, when ATO reissued their first five records on the same day. They took a relatively relaxed approach to releasing new music in the first half of 2019 too, issuing a single in February, "Cyboogie," that hinted at a new blues-based approach, then another in early April, "Planet B," that swerved into thrash metal territory. When their first album of the year, Fishing for Fishies, was released in late April, the sound was more like the former single, with the band digging deep into boogie rock, biker jams, and blues rock all fed through their unique musical and lyrical filter. ~ Gregory Heaney
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
  2.   Nuclear Fusion
  3.   Boogieman Sam
  4.   Self-Immolate
  5.   Greenhouse Heat Death
  6.   Vomit Coffin
  7.   Cellophane
  8.   Rattlesnake
  9.   Bone
  10.   Sleep Drifter
  11.   Fishing for Fishies
  12.   This Thing
  13.   Anoxia
  14.   The Fourth Colour
  15.   Altered Beast I
  16.   Sense
  17.   Plastic Boogie
  18.   Cyboogie
  19.   The Great Chain of Being
  20.   Loyalty
  21.   Altered Beast II
  22.   Altered Beast IV
  23.   Acarine
  24.   The Cruel Millennial
  25.   Muddy Water
  26.   Deserted Dunes Welcome Weary Feet
  27.   Polygondwanaland
  28.   Real's Not Real
  29.   Horology
  30.   Life/Death
  31.   The Acrid Corpse
  32.   Superposition
  33.   Sleepwalker
  34.   Crying
  35.   Work This Time
  36.   The Lord of Lightning
  37.   All Is Known
  38.   Open Water
  39.   Crumbling Castle
  40.   Stressin'
  41.   Melting
  42.   Most of What I Like
  43.   I'm in Your Mind
  44.   Fort Whipple
  45.   Dust in the Wind
  46.   Wah Wah
  47.   Empty
  48.   The Bird Song
  49.   The Killing Ground
  50.   Sea of Trees
  51.   12 Bar Bruise
  52.   Crookedile
  53.   Elbow
  54.   I'm Sleepin' In
  55.   Down the Sink
  56.   The Last Oasis
  57.   Searching...
  58.   Tetrachromacy
  59.   Inner Cell
  60.   The Castle in the Air
  61.   Sketches of Brunswick East I by Mild High Club
  62.   Han-Tyumi, the Confused Cyborg
  63.   Flying Microtonal Banana
  64.   Doom City
  65.   Road Train
  66.   Invisible Face
  67.   Evil Death Roll
  68.   Gamma Knife
  69.   Robot Stop
  70.   People-Vultures
  71.   Paper Mâché Dream Balloon
  72.   Let Me Mend the Past
  73.   Head On/Pill
  74.   Her and I (Slow Jam 2)
  75.   Hot Water
  76.   Billabong Valley
  77.   The Wheel
  78.   Welcome to an Altered Future
  79.   Cold Cadaver
  80.   Lunch Meat
  81.   The Reticent Raconteur
  82.   Alter Me II
  83.   Oddments
  84.   I'm Not a Man Unless I Have a Woman
  85.   Big Fig Wasp
  86.   Dirt
  87.   Trapdoor
  88.   God Is Calling Me Back Home
  89.   Homeless Man in Addidas
  90.   Paper Mâché
  91.   Pop in My Step
  92.   Sam Cherry's Last Shot
  93.   Uh Oh, I Called Mom
  94.   Guns & Horses
  95.   Cut Throat Boogie
  96.   Garage Liddiard
  97.   Muckraker
  98.   Stoned Mullet
  99.   Dustbin Fletcher
  100.   Let It Bleed
  101.   Bloody Ripper
  102.   Barefoot Desert
  103.   Soy-Protein Munt Machine
  104.   Digital Black
  105.   The Floating Fire
  106.   Some Context
  107.   A New World
  108.   Murder of the Universe
  109.   Mr. Beat
  110.   Time=$$$
  111.   N.G.R.I. (Bloodstain)
  112.   The Bitter Boogie
  113.   Pipe-Dream
  114.   Time=Fate
  115.   The Balrog
  116.   Eyes Like the Sky
  117.   Nein
  118.   Black Tooth
  119.   Danger $$$
  120.   Alter Me I
  121.   Footy Footy
  122.   High Hopes Low
  123.   30 Past 7
  124.   Mystery Jack
  125.   Dead-Beat
  126.   I'm in Your Mind Fuzz
  127.   Drum Run
  128.   Am I in Heaven?
  129.   Satan Speeds Up
  130.   Slow Jam 1
  131.   I'm Not in Your Mind
  132.   The God Man's Goat Lust
  133.   Evil Man
  134.   Trench Foot
  135.   Vegemite
  136.   Float Along : Fill Your Lungs
  137.   Willoughby's Beach
  138.   Hot Wax
  139.   The Raid
  140.   Organ Farmer
  141.   Beginner's Luck
  142.   Year of Our Lord
  143.   It's Got Old
  144.   Alluda Majaka
  145.   Planet B
  146.   ABABCD
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