A band that by now need no introduction, King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard are edging ever closer to the release of their anticipated album number eight, Nonagon Infinity, (out via Flightless/ Remote Control on 29th April).
Following the largely acoustic Paper Mâché Dream Balloon last year, the band have revealed Nonagon Infinity, would instead be an ambitious tribute to the heyday of heavy metal, with influences like Slayer and Motörhead which you can hear in the LP’s latest single ‘People Vultures’.
Being such prolific innovators, we decided to get you ready for this new release by looking back at the (still relatively young) band’s already impressive discography.
To spice it up a little, we’ve decided to rank the records from 7 – 1 (1 = the best). Of course this list is completely subjective and the efforts of a huge King Gizzard fan. When it comes to King Gizzard it’s clear quality and quantity come in equal measure.
Also we’ve only covered purely King Gizzard studio albums, so the band’s debut EP Willoughby’s Beach and spoken word epic Eyes Like The Sky (a collaborative piece with Broderick Smith) have not been included.
#7 – Float Along/Fill Your Lungs (2013)
Starting off the list reluctantly – as each of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s projects are equally epic in their own way – is Float Along/Fill Your Lungs. In this release King Gizzard really tapped into their third eye to create a very kaleidoscopic and psychedelic experience for the listener of course, with their signature lo-fi touch.
This release touches on themes of the psychedelic awakening of the ’60s in Australia weighing up with underground legends such as Love or more obscure, Bubble Puppy (go ahead and look those guys up). Though coming in at #7 King Gizzard have some of their brightest and best anthems on this LP like ‘Head On/Pill’ and ‘God is Calling Me Back Home’, both tracks going to show the vast spectrum of excitement and ideas the band can bring to music.
It’s clear that other Aussie bands like the Babe Rainbow and even Tame Impala have quite possibly taken a leaf out of King Gizzard’s book with this perfect piece of Australian psychedelia, so Gizz should be envied for putting out work like this. Sadly, the list has to start somewhere but this is in no way to devalue the genius of the band’s work.
#6 – 12 Bar Bruise (2012)
By far the harshest, loudest, most banging and fastest piece of work by King Gizzard is this, their debut album 12 Bar Bruise. This release is really the genesis of the Gizzard sound and from which most elements and ideas featuring in King Gizzard’s later releases can be traced back to.
The squeals, the fast picking and the WOO! Has all originated from this album. The title track, 12 Bar Bruise was recorded on 4 iPhones just to give you an idea on what level of lo-fi this is (without compromising on quality). This really is the epitome of King Gizzard’s sound but with some delightful surprises thrown in. The track ‘Cut Throat Boogie’ sounds like one of The Beatles’ gone manic, while other tracks like ‘Bloody Ripper’ sounds it could almost be inspired be Blur’s earlier works.
This just shows the diverse range of inspirations that the band tapped into while conceiving this album. But ultimately this album is a fantastic Australian psychedelic (with a little pub rock thrown in) album that represents the stripped back spirit of some of our best artists and sound.
#5 – Oddments (2014)
Beginning in the top 5 is an absolutely quintessential King Gizzard album for first time listeners. Oddments was the second album to be released by the band in 2014 (as we all know just 1 album per year is not enough for this writing and recording factory line of a band).
Yet in this case quality and quantity are equal as Oddments proves King Gizzards’ diverse writing and production style. This effort is one of King Gizzard’s more toned down and to the roots albums, without going as far as Paper Mâché Dream Balloon. The band’s fusion of more of a country, folk feel in the release gives Oddments a different edge to their other work so far.
A rather heavy acoustic and traditional instrumentation alongside the use of very psychedelic pedals and effects gives the album a far out and spaced groove very similarly to I’m in Your Mind Fuzz except cranked down and funkier. Overall Oddments really delivers what King Gizzard is all about, psychedelia and groove while showing real progression in the band’s sound making this a top pick for most fans.
#4 – Nonagon Infinity (2016)
This would have to be the most conceptual release under the band’s belt as the entire album is to be played on one continuous loop. The continuous loop means rather than an actual album with different and diverse songs this release blends many recurring motifs and ideas to create one lengthy and evolving track that never ends.
Stu has said in a reddit AMA that the band started Nonagon Infinity straight after Quarters but instead decided to take a different path and focus on crafting Paper Mâché Dream Balloon as a “palate cleanser”.
Nonagon Infinity very much leads on from Quarters showcasing more of King Gizzard’s heavier and faster style, diving back into their roots of I’m In Your Mind Fuzz or even 12 Bar Bruise.
Being their most recent record, it really displays the band’s development in style and songwriting, combining all the elements of jazz, prog and simple rock to form their very unique sound and although not their magnum opus, this album really delivers.
#3 – Paper Mâché Dream Balloon (2015)
Paper Mache Dream Balloon was King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s answer to folk which mixed with the band’s psychedelic music DNA combined to form one beaming, trippy, happy acoustic album.
The most deviant from King Gizzard releases, this album is comprised purely from acoustic instruments such as upright bass, piano, clarinet and yes even a flute. Sounding like the instrumentation from a Sufjan Stevens album or a traditional Balkan band this gives (King Gizzard’s primary songwriter) Stu Mackenzie’s already quite intricate and lovely melodies a soft to the touch sound, as if Quarters were sprinkled in fairy dust.
This album is definitely the prettiest of King Gizzard’s discography as, even as their name suggests, they signature sound is screaming guitars, double punch drums and an occasional “WOO” screeched into the microphone. Stu and the band’s writing style surprisingly fit this unexpected genre extremely well, which gives this album a high place on this list as one of their most accomplishing and interesting albums so far.
#2 – Quarters (2015)
Maybe the most psychedelic release from King Gizzard, definitely one of the best. Quarters is comprised of four, 10 minute and 10 seconds tracks making this album a 40 minute journey of meticulously crafted, pure psychedelic joy.
King Gizzard really delve into their krautrock and jazz influences here with some very funky and groovy not so much tracks, but motifs in the album.
The opening track ‘The River’ is a ten minute jam just simply consisting of two chords and yet still somehow manages to hooks you until its rhythmic conclusion. The way this track evolves is very reminiscent of ’70s progressive rock legends like Can or King Crimson, whom we suspect the band drew inspiration from.
King Giz have said that most of this album was actually improvised which really impacted on the length and groove of the release in its entirety. It really has to be listened to chronologically, in full to gain as much as possible from it as it is a masterpiece as a whole. Quarters is definitely one of King Gizzards most ambitious and conceptual projects and they have definitely pulled it off, therefore placing it high (#2 for us) on the listening priority for the band.
#1 – I’m In Your Mind Fuzz (2014)
There’s no doubt in our minds that if any fan were asked for their favourite King Gizzard album, many would immediately mention I’m In Your Mind Fuzz.
This album combines everything we love about King Gizzard: the slowjams, the loudjams, the screaming riffs and the trademark “WOO” in the microphone every once in a while. This is no beast easy to tackle though, the album is quite un-categorisable showing elements of psychedelia, hard rock, and even folk. Strangely enough, this sometimes chaotic pick and mix sound really works.
King Gizzard’s obsession with continuity really flows through the release as the main riffs and melodies from I’m In Your Mind reappear throughout the recording. The other theme of extreme lofi-ism plays prevalently in the sonic spectrum in each of the tracks with distortion just covering the mix like thick syrup.
As the title suggests the fuzz is the most major part of the sound in the record. This would be King Gizzard’s fuzziest record so far. The superb combinations of these ideas and sounds makes this record stand out from the rest and easily the most recognisable, putting this album in our number one spot.