Most bands might just about manage to amass a discography of two EPs, 15 albums and 33 singles around four decades into their career. Most bands aren’t King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, though. Since forming in 2010 the Aussie weirdos have blazed a path through psych, rock and now thrash metal on new record ‘Infest The Rats’ Nest’ (out: August 16), becoming one of the hottest cult bands on the planet in the process. Most impressively, their appetite for experimentation, excess and maximalism seems to only be growing as they head towards a decade as a band. They play London’s huge Alexandra Palace on October 5, so now’s the perfect time to dive into that band everyone’s telling you about.
Here’s where to start…
The essential tracks
From: ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’ (2017)
Sounds like: A fizzing, melodic slice of psych-rock that remains the band’s calling card live. It’s nearly eight minutes long, but far more accessible and immediate than some of the band’s deep dives.
From: ‘Float Along – Fill Your Lungs’ (2014)
Sounds like: The band finally finding their sense of purpose with 16 minutes of relentless psych wizardry.
From: ‘Nonagon Infinity’ (2016)
Sounds like: A band in their prime flowing with confidence. ‘Robot Stop’ is a razor-sharp rock song, with playfulness and heaviness equally prioritised. Dance, headbang, or do both? It all fits.
‘Fishing For Fishies’
From: ‘Fishing For Fishies’ (2019)
Sounds like: A gorgeous slice of light relief from the relentless pummelling of distorted guitars. Bathe in the washed-out vocals, clanking percussion and utter bliss of the title track from KG&TGW’s first album of 2019.
From: ‘Infest The Rats’ Nest’ (2019)
Sounds like: King Gizz tearing up the rulebook once again, this time opting for hellhound riffs on a thrash metal surge that still manages to be god damn catchy.
From: ‘Nonagon Infinity’ (2016)
Sounds like: A ‘60s American rock song dragged kicking and screaming to Melbourne, and stretched out into a slick psych odyssey.
From: ‘Polygondwanaland’ (2017)
Sounds like: Being trapped in something of an ‘Inner Cell’ itself, to be honest. A stop-start and deliciously weird exercise, it’s the band at their most quietly menacing, and it’s impossible to take your eyes (and ears) off. It also serves as the first part of a hell of a trilogy on ‘Ponygondwanaland’, which also includes the tracks ‘Loyalty’ and ‘Horology’.
From: ‘Paper Mâché Dream Balloon’ (2015)
Sounds like: The sonic equivalent to the album’s title, really. Soft, inviting and warm – things King Gizzard aren’t always.
The starter album
‘Nonagon Infinity’ (2016)
There are a good few options for your first King Gizzard full-length – notable mentions go to the hit-packed ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’ and the prog-heavy ‘Polygondwaland’ – but for a record that brings everything they do well together, 2016’s ‘Nonagon Infinity’ takes the biscuit.
It was the last album the band released before their crazed whirlwind of 2017, where they released five LPs in 12 months. Those records predictably saw the seven-piece exploring all potential avenues – the weirder the better – but it was on ‘Nonagon Infinity’ that their vision remained most clearly realised. In its first half the album is a document of a psych-rock band operating at their peak, with weirdness and directness correlating wonderfully. Plus it’s loaded with ‘Robot Stop’ and ‘Gamma Knife’ – two of our essential tracks, you’ll remember. Pleasingly, the album is created as an infinite loop, with the end of final track ‘Road Train’ crashing straight back into the start of ‘Robot Stop’. You could listen forever.
The album that’s hard work
‘Murder Of The Universe’ (2017)
We’ll be honest here: no King Gizzard album is a breeze. It’s probably why they’ve garnered such a status as cult heroes, with the idea that you have to work to truly get it having become central to their appeal. That seems like a silly premise to enjoy music by to us, but it’s true that many King Gizzard albums do need repeat listens to fully bed in.
Released in the middle of the band’s jam-packed 2017 came ‘Murder Of The Universe’ – a three-part odyssey with a foreboding spoken-word introduction that provides a deep dive into the weirdest parts of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. Often the weirdest parts can be the most wonderful parts, but for a new fan it’s only worth diving into the pool of madness that is ‘Murder Of The Universe’ once you’re truly warmed up.