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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Infest The Rats Nest

    The planet is in trouble. Dire trouble. But fear not: Melbourne seven-piece King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard return to save us all, this time armed only with blast beats, an arsenal of well-oiled guitars that are locked and loaded, and a desire to melt faces clean off.

    Released just six months after the uplifting blues-rock boogie and deep electro explorations of Fishing For Fishes and drawing on the mid/late 1980s golden period of thrash metal - Metallica and Slayer, certainly, but also lesser-cited bands such as Exodus, Kreator and Overkill - Infest The Rats’ Nest sees a wholly unexpected creative detour into new sonic terrain.

    King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard aren’t mere dabbling dilletantes either. Their love of this ferocious music runs deep, and was previously explored on 2017’s apocalyptic concept album Murder Of The Universe, hinted at during 2016’s award-winning Nonagon Infinity’s more bludgeoning moments and elsewhere in numerous hardcore psychedelic freak-outs in their back catalogue.

    “In year 4 there was an older kid who was into Rammstein,” explains Stu of his early discover discovery of metal’s extremities. “I made friends with him and we put together a performance at our school assembly where we headbanged to ‘Du Hast’. I got whiplash, which I thought was pretty cool. That was my introduction to heavy metal, and soon Rammstein led to Metallica, Metallica led to Slayer, Slayer led to Kreator and Sodom. The German bands really kicked my ass and scared the hell out of me too. Later on, when I picked up a guitar I realised that shit was too hard to play, so I got into rock ‘n’ roll and garage. That was liberating.”

    Infest The Rats’ Nest is the sound of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard scratching the thrash metal itch, fully and unequivocally. This is an album dripping with disdain and disgust for a planet consuming itself in a mass act of cannibalism which meets the fears and anxieties of a planet head on; here is a place where uncompromising music meets the concerns of contemporary cli-fi, that emerging movement of writing centred around ecological disaster and its repercussions.

    After a punishing release and touring schedule of 2017-18, Infest The Rats’ Nest was recorded by a pared-down King Gizzard line-up. The band have always enjoyed a fluid approach to writing and recording and with guitarist Cook Craig and keyboardist/harmonic player Ambrose Kenny-Smith touring with their other band The Murlocs, bassist Lucas Skinner enjoying first-time fatherhood and drummer Eric Moore running the band’s own label Flightless (other bands they have released include Thee Oh Sees, Amyl And The Sniffers and Tropical Fuck Storm), they were down to a three-piece.

    Infest The Rats’ Nest sees Stu and guitarist Joey Walker share all the guitar and bass parts, with (other drummer) Michael Cavanagh recording all the drums. This small set-up ensures tight arrangements and maximum velocity - and another curveball from this most unpredictable (yet consistent) of bands.

    Stonefield

    Bent

      Australian, psych-rock luminaries Stonefield announce their new album, ‘Bent’, via Flightless Records. Produced by Joe Walker and Stu Mackenzie of King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, the album was recorded in-between tours in just five days. Written largely on the road, the songs on ‘Bent’ are filled with reference and reflection - the kind that comes from months spent far from home, living on four wheels. The surreal isolation of trudging through white-out snow and snaking down deserted highways served as the perfect backdrop for the band to look inward. “It’s a culmination of experiences, emotions, and stories collected over time,” explains lead singer and drummer Amy Findlay, “A growth of honest, raw, energy that has been burning within us and waiting for its moment.”

      ‘Sleep’ opens the album with guitars covered in five inches of sludge and distortion and something that sounds like a far-off siren, or the high-pitched howling of the wind. It serves as a warning, a call to arms, kicking things off with a next-level version of the massive, unholy racket the band has become known for over the course of their last three albums. “‘Sleep’ was inspired by the concept of floating in the in- between,” explains Findlay. “An ode to the darkness of not wanting to cross to the other side.”

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      LP Info: Red vinyl.

      King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

      Fishing For Fishies

      Sit back and strap yourself in as seven-headed Aussie rock beast King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard return with Fishing for Fishies, perhaps their most perfectly-realised album to date. Here is a world where the organic meets the automated; where the rustic meets the robotic. Where the past and future collide in the beautiful present.

      The thirteenth album since their 2012 debut – and their first following the release of five vastly different albums in 2017 - Fishing for Fishies is a blues-infused blast of sonic boogie that struts and shimmies through several moods and terrains. From the soft shuffle Outback country of the opening title track through the sunny easy listening of ‘The Bird Song’ (think the lysergically-soaked Laurel Canyon circa 1973) and on through the party funk of ‘Plastic Boogie’ (which somehow summons the spirit of Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions) the road-trucking, Doors-like highway rock of ‘The Cruel Millennial’ and ‘Real Is Real’ - what The Carpenters might have sounded like had they existed entirely on vegemite and weed - it’s a dizzying, dazzling display.
      Hell, The Gizz make it look so easy.

      And that’s all before we even get to ‘Acarine’, a futurist blues tune which heads off into previously unchartered territories of shimmering Eno-esque ambient and dark John Carpenter-style electro, and the electro squelch of album-closing single ‘Cyboogie’, on which five of the seven King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard members play synths. It’s a stomping vocoder-lead anthem akin to Georgio Moroder or Trans-era Neil Young and a triumphant conclusion to an album that is as surprising as it is thrilling, as unexpected as it is effortless.

      “We tried to make a blues record,” says frontman Stu Mackenzie. “A blues-boogie-shuffle-kinda-thing, but the songs kept fighting it - or maybe it was us fighting them. Ultimately though we let the songs guide us this time; we let them have their own personalities and forge their own path. Paths of light, paths of darkness. This is a collection of songs that went on wild journeys of transformation.”

      “I didn’t really know who I was by the end of 2017,” continues Stu, of the band’s never-to-be-repeated year, which concluded with the fifth album being released on New Years Eve 2017. “It was a good kind of spent feeling though, as I like being busy. For most of the holiday period I was in the studio doing the last of the recording and mixing on Gumboot Soup. And as soon as it clicked over to 2018 I stopped worrying about recording for a while and started living instead.”

      Out of this period came Fishing for Fishies, an album in which musical motifs recur: lush piano, mellotron and synth flourishes (the bulk of the album was written on piano); Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s distinctive harmonica, which brings to mind sidewinders crossing dusty widescreen vistas; a generous dose of vocoder; and a plethora of creative U-turns that conspire to create a general overall sense of man and machine melding together in a thrilling chrome-covered hybrid.

      Because Fishing for Fishies is an album looking out across the horizon through mirrored sunglasses while twenty-tonne juggernauts thunder past. Here, perhaps, is a place where the spirit of two key songs released in the same year - Ram Jam’s ‘Black Betty’ and Kraftwerk’s ‘Trans-Europe Express’ – linger somewhere in the mix. And what may sound absurd on paper is actually the genius work of a band of musicians entirely simpatico with one another after nearly a decade of constant evolution.

      “We have travelled a lot – we’ve seen the world - but it all still feels like discovery,” says Stu, in trademark self-effacing style. “We’re still essentially naive kids tinkering around with toys we don’t know how to use in the studio.”
      Newcomers to King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard will find an entire self-contained universe awaits them in a thrilling body of work. Here are grand concepts where albums overlap, riffs resurface, circular songs chase their own tails, grand narratives are told, cryptic lyrics endlessly analysed and a whole army of fans regurgitate the band’s output via a deluge of remixes, memes, visual loops, mind-melting cut-ups and just generally pontificate wildly about everything in The Gizzverse, much of it available on Youtube and internet forums.

      “I am aware that it exists,” laughs Stu, of the alternative world that exists in their honour. “But I’m completely social media-less and pretty stone-age really. Good on ‘em for digging deep though.”
      Because King Gizzard are no longer a band, they are a cult, a youth movement, an exploration, a double-drumming trip, a cottage industry centred around their own Flightless Records. Many milestones have been ticked off along the way: a headline slot at the UK’s Green Man Festival; a huge sold-out US tour; playing to five thousand people at a sold-out Brixton Academy one day…and then 100 people in the Yorkshire hill town of Hebden Bridge the next. Meanwhile their Gizzfest gathering in Melbourne is now in its fourth year. They are a band to give your life to. Perhaps more than anything they provide transportive fun, a valuable and often-overlooked commodity in an increasingly fraught world.

      Best of all, anyone can step into The Gizzverse - anytime, anywhere. No prior understanding is necessary. So whether it’s psyche rock played with breakneck precision (2014’s I’m In Your Mind Fuzz), life-giving acoustic folk and Tropicalia (2015’s Paper Mâché Dream Balloon), a three-part sci-fi/prog album (2017’s Murder Of The Universe) or an album uploaded on an open license so that budding labels worldwide could press their own copies, which they duly did, currently 240 different pressings according to Discogs (2017’s, Polygondwanaland), King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard provide it. As Pitchfork noted, they have waged war against two tired clichés: “One, that rock is dead; and two, that the album is dead.” More than that, they have staked their claim as one of the most innovative, exciting and productive bands of the 21st century


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: It's been close to 24 minutes since the last King Giz outing, so we're obviously due another one. this time we get bigger stadium-rock choruses and deep south Americana vibes mixed in with their usual stoned thrash and soaring progressions. As vital as always. Snap it up quickly, or by the time you read this, there may be another.

      King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

      Willoughby’s Beach EP

        Willoughby’s Beach EP is King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s first EP, originally self-released in 2011 and limited to 350 hand numbered copies. The reissue features new artwork re-imagined by Ican Harem and comes on red(ish) coloured vinyl.

        King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

        Eyes Like The Sky

          ‘Eyes Like The Sky’ is the band’s second full-length album released in 2013 and originally limited to 500 copies. A cult Western audio book, the album tells a story of the American Frontier. The reissue features new artwork re-imagined by Jason Galea and comes on Halloween orange coloured vinyl.

          King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

          12 Bar Bruise

            12 Bar Bruise is the debut full-length album by KG&TLW originally released in 2012 and limited to 500 hand numbered copies. This reissue includes new artwork reimagined by Jason Galea and comes on doublemint green coloured vinyl.


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