King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard are simply inescapable in Australia. The psychedelic Gizzverse is all-encompassing.
15 studio albums in just 8 years. 5 in 2017 alone. Their incessant workmate and quality output has earned them a cultish following, deservedly so.
While the band have traversed the cosmos in search of genres (prog rock, garage, and even metal have all been toyed with), King Gizz are most aligned with psychedelic rock. Their music features kaleidoscopic electric guitars, looming synths. They’re also fond of colourful and mind-altering visuals.
The band are due to release their next album, K.G., next month, with a new concert film, Live in San Francisco ’16, just announced today, October 30th.
Yet our country’s history with psychedelic music runs deep. Perhaps it’s the contrasts of this place: the land is vast and it’s not hard to imagine little psychedelic utopian nooks existing far where eyes haven’t found; the sense of community and camaraderie feels small and lived-in though, from the psych revival bands of inner-city Melbourne to the coastal beach idealisers of WA and NSW.
Below is our list of 5 other Aussie psychedelic bands that you should definitely listen to. And for the purposes of any lawsuits, Tame Impala and Pond don’t feature due to their massive notoriety already (also Kevin Parker really is more experimentally electronic and has been for a long time; also John Mayer likes him so there’s that).
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Byron Bay boys Babe Rainbow’s psychedelic grooves wash over the listener like the onrushing waves onto a golden beach. Their cosmic hijinks make them clear descendants of the psychedelia of the 1960’s. It’s ‘free love’ with freeform melodic rhythm. The band use a variety of percussive touches to bring their psychedelic world to life. It’s music-for-the-sunset-moment – how we all miss those. Their last album came out last year, titled Today, and it’s packed with dreamy and languorous hooks.
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets
The band with easily the best name in this list, PPC were almost certainly indulging in the, um, joys of psychedelia when they summoned that name from a strange place in the mind. They actually hail from Perth, following in the footsteps of Tame Impala and Pond, and their sound possesses a lot of the same traits as them. PPC’s riffs are harder though, winding and roaming long and loose. It’s visceral and involving, an energetic collision of instrumentation and tone. Song titles include ‘Found God in a Tomato’; does anything else need to be said?
The Melbourne revivalists have returned the lighter psychedelic pop brushstrokes of the 1960’s to our modern setting. Their nostalgia for the stylings of bands like the 13th Floor Elevators and the Beach Boys feels real. Sunfruits’ debut EP, Certified Organic, only came out in February but they’ve already followed that up with a double 7″: ‘Mushroom Kingdom’ and ‘Bonsoy’ are whimsical and woozy psychedelic tracks that carry with them important messages of eco-consciousness (the latter is about the tasty environmentally-friendly alternative source of milk of the same name).
An older band, Melbourne’s Beaches crafted several records of psych rock that was also infused with the dense distortion of 90’s shoegaze (think My Bloody Valentine or Ride) and the exploratory elements of Krautrock. They performed at the prestigious Austin Psych Fest and All Tomorrows Parties in the U.S. and were part of Australian’s hallowed Chapter Records roster, the label releasing their second album She Beats. Their last album, the 17-track Second of Spring, also came out in 2017 via Chapter. An underrated but masterful group.
Another Melbourne outfit, Bananagun belong to the city is a mere base for their minds to explore the farthest reaches of the world’s sounds. Tropicalia, African dance, and 70’s funk are clear touchstones. It’s all overseen by a keen psychedelic understanding, their joyous and upbeat songs seemingly floating here from the 1967. Led by multi-instrumentalist Nick van Bakel, he plays the flute, trumpet, and harpsichord on their latest record, to give you an idea of the riotous sonic mélange. The True Story of Bananagun. That album is one of the best releases of this year, and one of the best psychedelic records of recent times.