Biography: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard formed in Melbourne, Australia in 2010 out of a group of school friends who regularly played music together. Led by singer and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Stu Mackenzie's restless creative drive, the 7-member band began making music at a prolific pace that continues to this day and have embraced an almost Frank Zappa-esque sense of stylistic fluidity from record to record, viewing each one more as a musical project and a chance to try something new rather than as some grand statement.
After some initial studio releases in 2011, the band released 12 Bar Bruise, their garage and surf rock-indebted full length debut,on their label Flightless in 2012, only to quickly follow it up with both Eyes Like the Sky, a record they described as a "cult western audiobook", and Float Along - Fill Your Lungs, a full embrace of headier sitar-laden psychedelic rock, in 2013. Another pair of albums followed in 2014: Oddments, which with stronger pop sensibilities in the songwriting plays like a sort of demented Beatles record, and the band's first critical breakthrough, I'm In Your Mind Fuzz. Mind Fuzz seemed to finally nail down King Gizz's aesthetic, with its whacked out opening medley, the tight interlocked sound of the band, and the '80s sci-fi/horror cover art, and also brought them greater exposure to American and international audiences. They played their first US dates in late 2014, and were announced on Bonnaroo's 2015 lineup amid further North American touring. That year they released yet another two new albums that each saw the band playing with mellower textures and styles; the jazz-inflected Quarters featuring 4 songs that each run 10:10, and Paper Mâché Dream Balloon, a record of psych pop tunes they recorded with all acoustic instruments which was their first proper US release with the band signed to ATO Records.
With a solid audience beginning to build up, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard became a touring workhorse, with runs through at least Australia and North America every year filling up any gaps between records. In 2016, the band put all their weight into Nonagon Infinity, their strongest and most cohesive (literally and figuratively) album up to that point, receiving critical acclaim for the bold fuzzed out sci-fi rock odyssey. With the spotlight on them, Gizz decided to truly put themselves to the test, with Stu Mackenzie suggesting in an interview that they'd be releasing 5 albums in 2017, a suggestion they gleefully followed through on with a string of records that saw them explore microtonal tunings (Flying Microtonal Banana), prog metal (Murder of the Universe), jazzy soft rock (Sketches of Brunswick East), and trippy math rock (Polygondwanaland), before rounding things out with the New Years Eve release of the odds and ends collection Gumboot Soup. The band's omnipresence throughout that year solidified them in the upper echelon of modern psych bands as their audience continued to grow.
The band finally took a well-deserved break from the studio in 2018, their first year without a release since their formation, but came back swinging in 2019 on the fun boogie-fueled Fishing For Fishies before delivering the real knockout blow with Infest the Rats' Nest, a straight heavy metal concept record about environmental destruction that's widely seen as one of their strongest releases and is a true testament to their genre hopping abilities.
On the horizon, King Gizzard haven't announced any new music for 2020, but did release three live recordings earlier this year to benefit Australian Wildfire Relief and are putting out a concert film titled Chunky Shrapnel (no US release date yet). Amid their tour dates they have announced a handful of 3-hour "marathon" shows where they'll play songs from across their entire discography. That's obviously the hope for Bonnaroo, but no matter what their set will without a doubt be one of the best of the weekend. A legendary group in the making. Major Discography: 12 Bar Bruise (2012) Eyes Like the Sky (2013; with Broderick Smith) Float Along – Fill Your Lungs (2013) Oddments (2014) I'm in Your Mind Fuzz (2014) Quarters! (2015) Paper Mâché Dream Balloon (2015) Nonagon Infinity (2016) Flying Microtonal Banana (2017) Murder of the Universe (2017) Sketches of Brunswick East (2017; with Mild High Club) Polygondwanaland (2017) Gumboot Soup (2017) Fishing for Fishies (2019) Infest the Rats' Nest (2019)
Sounds Like: Genre: Psychedelic rock, garage rock, progressive rock, psych punk, metal, jazz rock, Gizz Similar Artists: Oh Sees, Ty Segall, Frank Zappa, Kikagaku Moyo, The Murlocs Similar Bonnaroo Artists: Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Primus, Oysterhead, Mdou Moctar, Tool, Tame Impala
Suggested Listening: To get a good feel for King Gizz I'd recommend starting with I'm In Your Mind Fuzz, Nonagon Infinity, and Infest the Rats Nest. That should lay out a pretty good foundation for what they do. If you like those then follow up with Flying Microtonal Banana, Float Along - Fill Your Lungs, Fishing For Fishies, Murder of the Universe, and Polygondwanaland. Gumboot Soup is also a great option to get a feel for all of the styles they were working with on those 2017 records all packed into one album. You can also check out their new live releases to get a sense of their live sound and a good mix of material
The band has also performed a number of stellar KEXP sessions that I highly recommend watching in full, but here are some highlights from those:
Physical Reaction/Live Show: If you weren't tipped off, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are something of a live behemoth. All of the range of styles and genres they play around with in their studio work tends to meld into a more singular sound, and their high intensity music is met with off the charts energy levels at their shows. In recent years they've started playing around more with their songs live, adding extended jams to some, featuring medley's and teases of some of their bigger songs within their closer, etc. Their shows also usually feature some great trippy projections that you can see in the full concert video below.
Crowd-wise there's sure to be a LOT of moshing through pretty much the entire set, but if that's not always your thing they're also a great band to be a little further back from and watch do their thing. I've been blown away in either case every time I've seen them.
Here's a full show from last year (not pro-shot):
Interesting Facts: -KGATLW are the flagship band of drummer Eric Moore's Flightless Records, which represents members' other projects like The Murlocs and Pipe-Eye, along with similar acts like Babe Rainbow, Amyl & The Sniffers, Tropical Fuck Storm, and Stonefield -The band throw their own annual festival in Australia called Gizzfest, which took a hiatus in 2019 but is set to return in 2020 -Their 2017 album Polygondwanaland was released for free, with the band encouraging small independent labels to press and sell their own copies and including all of the necessary materials, leading to thousands of versions on the market with custom art, endless vinyl colors, etc.
Oh and for shits and giggles my ideal 3-hour setlist looks something like this:
Planet B Mars for the Rich Plastic Boogie Muddy Water Doom City Cut Throat Boogie Boogieman Sam Tezeta Sense Gamma Knife People-Vultures The Lord of Lightning I'm In Your Mind I'm Not In Your Mind Cellophane I'm In Your Mind Fuzz Murder of the Universe Crumbling Castle The Bitter Boogie Rattlesnake Nuclear Fusion This Thing Work This Time Down the Sink The River Wah Wah The Fourth Colour Cyboogie Hell Head On / Pill
The Ideal Way to Release a Thrash Metal Record by King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard 1. Release an ultra chill and fun single about fishing for fishies 2. Drop an album of equally approachable boogie woogie songs 3. Announce and sellout huge US tour 4. Drop the THRASH grenade THE DAY before the tour starts 5. THERE IS NO PLANET BBBBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!