King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard

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King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard performing in New York City, 2019
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard performing in New York City, 2019
Background information
Also known as
  • King Gizz
  • King Gizzard
  • Gizz
OriginMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
Genres
Years active2010–present
Labels
Websitekinggizzardandthelizardwizard.com
Members
  • Stu Mackenzie
  • Ambrose Kenny-Smith
  • Joey Walker
  • Cook Craig
  • Lucas Harwood (né Skinner)
  • Michael Cavanagh
Past members
  • Eric Moore

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are an Australian rock band formed in 2010 in Melbourne, Victoria.[1][2] The band consists of Stu Mackenzie (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, flute, sitar), Ambrose Kenny-Smith (vocals, harmonica, keyboards), Cook Craig (guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals), Joey Walker (guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals), Lucas Harwood (bass, keyboards), and Michael Cavanagh (drums, percussion). They are known for exploring multiple genres, staging energetic live shows and building a prolific discography, having released twenty studio albums, ten live albums, two compilations and three EPs.

Their second EP, Willoughby's Beach (2011), and debut album, 12 Bar Bruise (2012), primarily blended surf music and garage rock, and were released on Flightless, the band's own label. Their second album, a "psychedelic spaghetti western" titled Eyes Like the Sky (2013), features spoken-word narration by Broderick Smith. Float Along – Fill Your Lungs, released later in the year, and the 2014 albums Oddments and I'm in Your Mind Fuzz, saw the band expand on their psychedelic sound. In 2015, they drew on elements of jazz fusion and progressive rock with Quarters!, and also released the folk-inspired Paper Mâché Dream Balloon, recorded almost entirely using acoustic instruments. Nonagon Infinity (2016) features nine interconnected tracks that form an infinite loop, and won the ARIA Award for Best Hard Rock or Heavy Metal Album.[3][4]

In 2017, the band fulfilled a promise to release five studio albums within the year: Flying Microtonal Banana, an experiment in microtonality, in February; the three-chapter "sci-fi heavy metal epic" Murder of the Universe in June; Sketches of Brunswick East, an improvised jazz collaboration with Mild High Club, in August; Polygondwanaland, was released into the public domain, in November; and Gumboot Soup in December. The 2019 albums Fishing for Fishies and Infest the Rats' Nest saw the band tackle environmental themes and incorporate boogie rock and thrash metal into their sound, respectively.

In a 2019 study conducted by the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard was ranked #21 in a list of the world's hardest working musicians.[5] This was earned due to the amount of live shows they played from January 2018 to August 2019-- totaling to 113 live performances both domestically and internationally. [6]

Throughout 2020, the band released several live albums, a concert film, a double compilation of demos, K.G., their 16th studio album and a compilation of early singles and all the tracks on the Anglesea EP called Teenage Gizzard. In August, Eric Moore (the band's second drummer and manager) left the band to focus on running his record label, Flightless. In February 2021, the band released L.W., their third microtonal album, which was followed by the synth-based dream pop album Butterfly 3000 in June. These albums were released independently rather than on Flightless. The band's twentieth studio album, Omnium Gatherum, was released on 22 April 2022.

History[edit]

Formation, early releases, and 12 Bar Bruise (2010–2012)[edit]

The band members all grew up and went to school in the Deniliquin, Melbourne, and Geelong areas of Australia. Mackenzie, Moore, and Walker met studying music industry at RMIT,[7] with the other members being mutual friends. The band started off as an informal jam band, with the eventual lineup becoming Mackenzie, Walker, Moore, Kenny-Smith, Cavanagh, Craig, and Harwood. The band's name was created "last minute". Mackenzie wanted to name the band "Gizzard Gizzard" while another band member wanted Jim Morrison's nickname "Lizard King". They eventually compromised with King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.[8] Melbourne artist Jason Galea has created all of the band's album art, and a majority of their music videos.

The band's first releases were both singles: "Sleep"/"Summer" and "Hey There"/"Ants & Bats", both self-released in 2010. The band's next release, 2011's Anglesea, was released as a four-track EP on CD. It is named after Anglesea, the coastal town where Mackenzie grew up. These early releases did not become available digitally until the inclusion of their tracks on the Teenage Gizzard compilation in 2020.

The band's second release of the year, Willoughby's Beach, was released by Shock Records on 21 October 2011.[9] Beat Magazine described the 9-track garage rock EP as "filled to the teeth with consistently killer hooks."[10] In December 2011, the band appeared at the Meredith Music Festival for the first time.

The band's first full-length album, 12 Bar Bruise, was released on 7 September 2012.[11] The 12-track garage rock album was self-recorded, and several tracks used unconventional recording methods. For example, the vocals for the album's title track were recorded through four iPhones placed around a room while Mackenzie sang into one of them.[12]

Eyes Like the Sky, Float Along – Fill Your Lungs, Oddments, and I'm in Your Mind Fuzz (2013–2014)[edit]

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard's second full-length album, Eyes Like the Sky, was released on 22 February 2013.[13] Described as a "cult western audio book",[13] the album is narrated by Broderick Smith and tells a story of outlaws, child soldiers, Native Americans and gun fights, all set in the American frontier. The album was written collaboratively by Smith and Stu Mackenzie. When asked about the album's influences, Mackenzie said: "I love Western films. I love bad guys and I love Red Dead Redemption. Oh, and I love evil guitars".[14] Mackenzie also stated, in a 2020 Reddit AMA, that Eyes Like the Sky was written as a response to being typecast in their previous releases- a reaction that "irks" him to this day.

The band's third full-length album, Float Along – Fill Your Lungs, was released on 27 September 2013.[15] King Gizzard shifted from garage rock to a more mellow folk and psychedelic sound on this eight track album.[16] This album also saw Eric Moore start playing drums, after previously playing theremin and keyboards.[17]

Float Along – Fill Your Lungs was followed by Oddments, released on 7 March 2014.[18] Over the course of this 12-track album, the band takes a more melodic approach, and Mackenzie's vocals are more prominent.[19] Oddments has been described as being "recorded through a woolen sock in an adjacent room".[20]

The band's fifth full-length album, I'm in Your Mind Fuzz, was released on 31 October 2014.[21] The 10-track album touches on elements of fantasy[22] and lyrically delves into the concept of mind control. This was the first time the band took a "traditional" approach to writing and recording an album; the songs were written, the band rehearsed together, and they recorded the songs "as a band" in the studio.[23] Pitchfork described the album as "open[ing] with a sprint" and ending "with some of their best slow jams."[24] In 2019, I'm in Your Mind Fuzz came at no.6 on Happy Mag's list of "The 25 best psychedelic rock albums of the 2010s".[25]

Quarters!, Paper Mâché Dream Balloon, Nonagon Infinity, and Gizzfest (2015–2016)[edit]

Mackenzie performing in 2016

Quarters!, King Gizzard's sixth full-length album, was released on 1 May 2015.[26] The album features four songs, each running for ten minutes and ten seconds,[27] making each song a quarter of the album. Drawing upon jazz-fusion and acid rock, the album's more laid-back sound was described as "unlike anything they've released before" and as "an album more likely to get your head bobbing and hips shaking as opposed to losing footwear in a violent mosh".[28]

Later in the year, on 13 November 2015, the band released its seventh full-length album, Paper Mâché Dream Balloon.[29] This "concept-less concept album" features only acoustic instruments and was recorded on Mackenzie's parents' farm in rural Victoria.[29] The album features "a collection of short unrelated songs"[29] described as "mellow, defuzzed psychedelia".[30] The band released a music video for the song "Trapdoor".[31] It was the band's first album to be released in the United States via ATO Records.[32]

2015 saw the band launch Gizzfest in Melbourne, a two-day music festival that has since been held annually and toured Australia, featuring both local and international acts.[33]

The band's eighth full-length album, Nonagon Infinity, was released worldwide on 29 April 2016.[34] Described by Mackenzie as a "never-ending album", it features nine songs connected by musical motifs which flow "seamlessly" into each other with the last track "linking straight back into the top of the opener like a sonic mobius strip".[35] On 8 March the band released a video for the first single, "Gamma Knife".[36] It contained a riff from the song "People Vultures" which was premiered on 4 April[37] with a music video released on 6 May.[38] The album received high praise from critics, with Pitchfork's Stuart Berman writing it "yields some of the most outrageous, exhilarating rock 'n' roll in recent memory."[39] The album also received glowing reviews from numerous other publishers, Happy Mag's Maddy Brown described it as "an intensely striking, ferocious sound that gets the blood flowing and heart racing,"[40] while NME's Larry Bartleet wrote that "If you wanted to, you could listen to it forever in one unbroken melody."[41] The band earned its first ARIA Award when Nonagon Infinity won the 2016 ARIA Award for Best Hard Rock or Heavy Metal Album.

Five albums in one year (2017)[edit]

We had this random batch of songs. It was not a cohesive record at all. So we thought we'd split it up, and split again until it became five. We worked on Nonagon Infinity pretty intensely in 2015 and 2016. We came close to burning ourselves out, or at least wringing each other's necks. We took a break, and then all these random, disparate song ideas came out of that void of not recording for a little while. Then we worked on everything one album at a time.

Stu Mackenzie, November 2017[42]

The band's ninth full-length album, Flying Microtonal Banana, was recorded in the band's own studio[43] and released on 24 February 2017.[44] Originally conceived as a record to be played on the Turkish baglama (a stringed instrument with movable frets), the album was recorded using custom microtonal instruments, using a 24 TET scale. Flying Microtonal Banana has been described as "a soaring take on microtonal music".[45] Three tracks were issued in advance: "Rattlesnake,"[46] the opening track, in October 2016; "Nuclear Fusion" in December 2016; and "Sleep Drifter" in January 2017.[47][48] The band released a music video for "Rattlesnake", directed by Jason Galea,[49] a video which Happy Mag's Luke Saunders described as "a masterclass in hypnotism."[50]

Another full-length album, Murder of the Universe, was released on 23 June 2017.[51] Described by the band as a "concept album to end all concepts",[52][53] it is divided into 3 chapters: The Tale of the Altered Beast; The Lord of Lightning vs Balrog; released 30 May 2017; and Han-Tyumi and the Murder of the Universe released 11 April 2017. The Spill Magazine explained that the album "describes the impeding doom of the world in a dark fantasy genre kind of way."[54] It is narrated by Leah Senior[55] for the first two chapters, and a text-to-speech program for the final chapter. The band made their international television debut on 17 April 2017 performing "The Lord of Lightning" on Conan on TBS in the United States.[56]

King Gizzard's next full-length album, Sketches of Brunswick East, a collaboration with Alex Brettin's psychedelic jazz project Mild High Club, was released on 18 August 2017.[57] Taking inspiration from Miles Davis' 1960 album Sketches of Spain, as well as the band's base recording location of Brunswick East in Melbourne, it is a jazz-improvisational album. Mackenzie described the record as "perhaps representing greater changes that are happening in the wider world, and (this is) our attempt to find beauty within a place that we spend so much time", referring to the constant changes in their neighbourhood.[57]

Polygondwanaland, the fourth of the band's five 2017 albums, was released into the public domain, inspiring many independent labels throughout the world to issue unique versions of it.

King Gizzard's twelfth studio album, Polygondwanaland, was released as a free download on 17 November 2017. The band encouraged fans and independent record labels to create their own pressings of the album, stating that "Polygondwanaland is FREE. Free as in, free. Free to download and if you wish, free to make copies. Make tapes, make CD's, make records . . . Ever wanted to start your own record label? GO for it! Employ your mates, press wax, pack boxes. We do not own this record. You do. Go forth, share, enjoy."[58] The album was promoted with the release of the first track, "Crumbling Castle", on 18 October 2017. The track received better reviews than their preceding releases of the year, with The Needle Drop describing it as "one of the most epic, multi-faceted, and mystical tracks the band has delivered thus far." A music video created by Jason Galea accompanied its release on YouTube.[59] As of March 2022, 325 different versions of the album have been recorded on the physical music database Discogs,[60] and it has been called "the ultimate vinyl release".[61]

Mackenzie confirmed in early December that the fifth and final album of 2017 would be coming "very, very late in the year".[62] Two singles were digitally released less than a week later: "All Is Known", which had previously been performed live; and "Beginner's Luck", an entirely new song.[63][64] These singles were followed by two more, "The Last Oasis" and "Greenhouse Heat Death", both released on the 20th. On 30 December, the band posted on Facebook that Gumboot Soup, their fifth and final album of the year, would be released the following day.[65] Mackenzie explained in an interview that the songs on Gumboot Soup are "definitely not B-sides or anything. They're more songs that didn't work in any of the rest of the four records, or they didn't fit into any of those categories that well, or they came together slightly after when those records came together."[66]

In December, Consequence of Sound named King Gizzard Band of the Year, praising both the quantity and quality of their 2017 releases.[67]

Reissues, Fishing for Fishies, and Infest the Rats' Nest (2018–2019)[edit]

Throughout 2018, King Gizzard continued to perform live shows, but did not release any new material. Instead, they re-released five older records, the Willoughby's Beach EP (2011), 12 Bar Bruise (2012), Eyes Like the Sky (2013), Float Along – Fill Your Lungs (2013) and Oddments (2014), on CD and vinyl.[68] They also released an official pressing of 2017's Polygondwanaland.[69]

On 21 January 2019, the band announced on their Instagram page that new music was in the works, with an image in a studio of Gareth Liddiard (The Drones, Tropical Fuck Storm) flipping the bird as members of King Gizzard play in the background, which led to some speculation as to Liddiard's possible involvement in the band's new material.[70] On 1 February, the band put out a music video for their new single "Cyboogie" and released the song as a 7-inch single backed with "Acarine".[71] A week later, they announced another North American tour[72] and a show at Alexandra Palace in London which they promised would feature "a new set, new songs and a whole new visual experience", and described as being their biggest ever.

In early March, details of the band's at-the-time announced fourteenth album, Fishing for Fishies, were seemingly leaked onto webstores. The album title, cover and track listing were leaked, as well as 60-second previews and the entirety of the title track, and a release date of 26 April. The band then confirmed this leak on 11 March by officially announcing the album through their Facebook and Instagram accounts with the same release date on 26 April 2019.[73] A day later, the band officially released and uploaded a music video for the title track to YouTube.[74] Later that month, the band released another single from the album, "Boogieman Sam",[75] and on 24 April, two days before the album release, the band released a final single, "The Bird Song". Two days later, Fishing for Fishies was released.[76]

On 9 April, the band released a music video for a new song, "Planet B", a thrash metal song regarding the environment and a distinct departure from the softer sounds of Fishing for Fishies. As this song did not feature on the track listing for Fishing for Fishies, it led to fans speculating it was a selection from a second album to be released in 2019 prior to Mackenzie's later confirmation.[77]

During a Reddit AMA on 30 April, Mackenzie confirmed that the next King Gizzard album was being made and would include "Planet B", but the band had not decided whether or not it would be released in 2019. The album was initially believed to be titled Auto-Cremate due to the band's ambiguous response to a question regarding the use of the title as their username in the AMA, but was later confirmed to be titled Infest the Rats' Nest. Mackenzie also said that the band planned to release a sequel to Eyes Like the Sky featuring a new story written by Broderick Smith and that their Gizzfest festival would be held outside of Australia for the first time in 2019.[78]

The 2019 Gizzfest never occurred. With the Gizzfest taking place in 2018, the band announced on their official Instagram page that the festival would be cancelled. Some fans think this was due to their heavy touring schedule. Walker jokingly said on their Instagram, "Gizzfest is never happening again because it was always a piece of sh*t. I was embarrassed to be apart of [sic] it." But the band promised in an interview with KEXP that the festival would make a return in 2020. Of course, 2020 had other COVID-19 related plans and the band has yet to host a Gizzfest since. [79]

Almost a month later on 29 May, a week after a teaser on social media, the band released the music video for a new song, "Self-Immolate", which incorporates a thrash metal style similar to "Planet B".[80] On 18 June, the band posted a teaser on social media that confirmed their new album's title as Infest the Rats' Nest, which was officially announced three days later for a release date of 16 August.[81][82]

On 25 June, they released the single "Organ Farmer", another thrash style similar to "Planet B" and "Self-Immolate". Its music video included fans as extras.[83] Infest the Rats' Nest was later released on 16 August 2019. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2019, Infest the Rats' Nest was nominated for ARIA Award for Best Hard Rock or Heavy Metal Album.[84]

On 12 November, the band announced two 3-hour live shows for 2020 whose set lists will contain elements of their entire discography, the first of which was to be performed on 18 April at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, California. The second marathon show would have been performed on 6 May at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. The band however was quick to announce on 22 November that another marathon show would have been performed at Red Rocks on 5 May, a decision made shortly after the Red Rocks show sold out within four days of its announcement.

Live albums & compilations, Chunky Shrapnel, K.G., the bootlegger program, and the departure of Eric Moore (2020)[edit]

In January 2020, the band released three live albums as downloads on Bandcamp, pledging to donate 100% of the proceeds towards relief for the 2019–20 Australian bushfire season.[85] Live in Adelaide '19, recorded at Thebarton Theatre on 12 July 2019, and Live in Paris '19, recorded at L'Olympia on 14 October 2019, were released 10 January; while Live in Brussels '19, recorded at the Ancienne Belgique on 8–9 October 2019, was released 15 January. The albums' sales benefit Animals Australia, Wildlife Victoria, and Wires Wildlife Rescue, respectively.

In the first months of the year, the trio of Stu Mackenzie, Joey Walker, and Michael Cavanagh, who composed and recorded the material for King Gizzard's latest album Infest the Rats' Nest, teamed up with previous collaborator Leah Senior and others to create a new soundtrack for the classic horror film Suspiria by Dario Argento, with the previous soundtrack created by himself with the progressive rock band, Goblin. Later on 18 April, in an interview, Stu Mackenzie revealed that the soundtrack would be released under the moniker, "Professor of the Occult".

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the band postponed their Greek Theatre and Red Rocks marathon shows for later in the year. The band had also produced a film to be released, entitled Chunky Shrapnel from a lyric of the song "Murder of the Universe", from the album of the same name; however, also due to the outbreak, the initial viewing was postponed for a later date and then canceled. The film was directed by John Angus Stewart, who also directed the music videos for the singles from Infest the Rat's Nest, and was recorded during the band's 2019 tour in Europe. The band decided to stream the film live for 24 hours from 17 April 6 PM to 18 April 6 PM (U.S. Eastern time zone). The film eventually screened on 8 May 2021 at the Astor Theatre.[86] A double-live album of the concert film would also be released with physical pre-orders starting on 10 April and available for streaming on 24 April. The band released three different limited edition copies of Chunky Shrapnel for pre-order. One of the editions, the "Copper Nitrate" wax pressing edition, sold out on the Flightless website within three minutes of being posted. The other limited edition copies sold out within an hour.

In April, the band stated that, during lockdown, they had worked on new material for upcoming albums. Mackenzie reported that one will be "pretty chill", another "kind of jazzy", and "some of it is microtonal" with the possibility of a sequel to Flying Microtonal Banana, and the band also experimenting with electronic music and "messing around with some more polymetric stuff".[87] In the same interview, when asked about more live recordings, Mackenzie also said that the band had recorded every show they played in 2019, and may release them in a similar fashion to Pearl Jam's official live bootlegs.[87] June saw the release of RATTY, a short documentary about the making of Infest the Rat's Nest.[88] The film was made available to rent online with all proceeds going to The Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR), BlaQ Aboriginal Corporation, Djirra, and Indigenous Social Justice Association Melbourne. After $20,000 had been raised, the film was then made free to watch on YouTube. Also that month, in celebration of Love Record Store Day, the band released a limited print of eco-friendly versions of ten releases dating from between 2014 and 2017.

After releasing a snippet of a new song, the music video for "Honey" was released, incorporating an acoustic microtonal sound and themes centered around the COVID-19 pandemic.[89]

On 21 July, Aaron Grech of music.mxdwn.com released an article about the band's upcoming events. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the band postponed the marathon shows and North American tour for a second time, with the new dates being for October 2021. A statement he received from the band confirmed the new tour dates and additional confirmation that the band will release some new albums before said tour.[90]

On 12 August, the band issued a statement on Instagram with the words "Midnight Thursday", along with a picture with fiery text with the words "SOME OF US", hinting at a new song on the 13th. The music video for "Some of Us" debuted on YouTube the next day, continuing the themes of the COVID-19 pandemic from "Honey" but with a heavier feel than the previous acoustic tune. After the release, multiple sources mentioned a statement from the band that they have "made heaps of tunes lately".

Moore left the band in 2020 to focus on running Flightless.

On 25 August, Eric Moore announced via Instagram his departure from the band as both an active member and the band's manager without citing any direct reason,[91] stating he was "deeply saddened by the decision" and "[doesn't] have any regrets". The band further elaborated, also via Instagram, that he was stepping away from the band "to focus solely on Flightless Records."[92]

On 28 August, the band, through the first instance of their Gizzymail newsletter, confirmed that an album will be released in 2020, alluded to the possibility of another live album in 2020, and announced their intent to release at least three studio albums in 2021.[93]

On 15 September, the band released their third single for the upcoming album, "Straws In The Wind". Like "Honey", the single was another acoustic microtonal song with lyrical themes surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and many were quick to note that musically, the song transitions directly into the previous single "Some of Us".

On 28 September, the band announced via Gizzymail that two "MEGA DIY" releases were coming on 2 October on Bandcamp. These were suspected to be a live-album, as they had asked fans for footage of their 2019 US tour.[94] They also announced they were building a new "studio/HQ".

On 2 October, the band released two albums via Bandcamp. The first, Demos Vol. 1 + Vol. 2, includes 28 demos of songs spanning the band's entire career. This included older songs like "Footy Footy" from 12 Bar Bruise, along with songs like "Straws in the Wind", which had only been released less than a month prior. The second album released was a live album of the same variety as the three released in January, Live in Asheville '19, recorded live at New Belgium Brewing Company on 1 September 2019.

On 20 October, the band teased the release of their sixteenth studio album K.G. and another live album, Live in San Francisco '16, with both albums released on 20 November. It was announced that some limited edition versions of the records would be available. Alongside this, the band released the fourth single from K.G., "Automation". This single was released for free on their website in a similar manner to their 2017 album Polygondwanaland. In addition to the raw audio files for the song as a whole, the band also included the files for separate audio channels within the song such as vocals, violin, clarinet and flute.[95] They also released the video files for the song's music video, of which the band states: "If you'd like to create your own music video for Automation, we have supplied you with the raw video files to do so."[96] All of these files require a torrent client to be installed on the user's device. Since the release of "Automation", there have been many remixes and music videos edited by fans and posted on sites like Reddit and YouTube.[97]

The band released a final single and music video on 19 November called "Intrasport". K.G. and Live In San Francisco '16 were released the following day.

On 10 December, the band released a new single called "If Not Now, Then When?", continuing the microtonal and electronica styles of K.G. Some fans have pointed out that the new single continues where "The Hungry Wolf of Fate", the last track on K.G., left off, with the band in a press release saying it was part of a bigger musical picture. Dr D Foothead, an animation director for shows on Adult Swim who had previously directed animated music videos for other rock bands like Osees and Melody's Echo Chamber, said in an interview with Live For Live Music that "the song made me consider how individual action or inaction effects the world" and put those feelings to form in the music video. Also, in an interview with NME, Joey Walker said that 2021 would be a big year of output with some of their most divisive music yet, claiming "Part of me thinks this is the best we've ever done. And part of me thinks it's the worst." He also talked about making a sequel to Chunky Shrapnel.[98]

On 24 December, or "Gizzmas", the band released two new "bootlegs". Teenage Gizzard, a compilation of songs from the early years that included the early non-album singles, the tracks from Anglesea and a couple other rare tracks. The other, Live in London '19 is another performance during the 2019 European tour, recorded on 5 October. With the release of these albums, the band launched the "bootlegger" program. This program allows anyone to create physical versions of certain albums of theirs, including all of the live albums released in 2019, the compilation album Teenage Gizzard, and their two part demos album, in addition to their previous free album, Polygondwanaland. On their website's bootlegger page, the band said, "If anyone wants to release these albums, you're free to do so. Below you'll find links to audio master files and cover art. Feel free to get creative with it if you like - it's yours. Only deal is you've gotta send us some of them to sell on GIZZVERSE.COM - whatever you feel is a fair trade is cool with us."[99]

The band had also confirmed they would not release a Christmas album.[100]

In 2020, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard were listed at number 47 in Rolling Stone Australia's "50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time" issue.[101]

2021 Projects (L.W., Butterfly 3001 and more)[edit]

News about the seventeenth studio album, L.W., was discovered on the website for the music store Elusive Disc. Information included the track list, names and numbers as well as the release date of 26 February. The album is a direct sequel to the previous album K.G. and the third installment in the "Explorations into Microtonal Tuning" series.[102]

On 28 January, the band released the second single for their upcoming album called "O.N.E." The track's themes continue those of "If Not Now, Then When?"; environmentalism, impending doom, and how the inaction of humans is damaging the earth. A number of articles released that day featured an official statement from Stu Mackenzie saying, "King Gizzard's new album (y'all know what it's called) is definitely not coming out in February".

A countdown timer was discovered on the band's website, that would reach zero on 25 February at 7:00 AM (CST). On 18 February, the countdown page changed revealing the album cover and track list for L.W. This information was also revealed on their iTunes page except for a different release date of 27 February. It is presumed that the official statement from Mackenzie was only made because Elusive Disc spoiled the surprise.

The third single and music video for L.W., "Pleura", was released the same day as the album reveal. The music video featured the band performing the song live, and was recorded, mixed, and produced the day before it was released.

On 22 February, the band released a trailer for the upcoming L.W., which featured a snippet of the song K.G.L.W.. At the very end it showed another differing release date, this time being 26 February (the same as Elusive Disc).

On 25 February, the band released L.W. when the countdown timer ran out. This revealed the other two release dates as false flags. Their website changed again revealing a statement that said, "One dollar from every download of L.W. will be donated to Greenfleet, who plant native biodiverse forests in Australia and New Zealand." With the pandemic lockdown in Australia loosening, the band played several shows in the Melbourne area to promote tracks from both K.G. and L.W.

The album cover for King Gizzard's Live in Sydney album. It shows a musician, crouched down, holding his guitar over his head while playing it. There is a yellow border showing the band and album name.
The cover of Live In Sydney '21, one of the 2021 bootleg live albums. The entire setlist consisted of microtonal songs.

On 19 March, the band released Live in Melbourne '21, recorded from one of their first shows since the pandemic. This album because part of the band's bootleg program, with accompanying video footage. The band also released their 13th Gizzymail newsletter coinciding with Live in Melbourne '21 release; in the mail there was a statement that read, "We've been having heaps of fun cooking up NEW STUFF in the studio. Can't wait to share new music with you", suggesting that the band had new music in the works.

The band's 18th full-length album, Butterfly 3000, was announced on 11 May. The band stated that the album would be due 11 June, and would have no singles leading to release.[103] It was also revealed that the album had 10 tracks, and was built around modular synthesizer loops. The album art was to feature a "cross-eyed" autostereogram by long-time collaborator Jason Galea.[104]

On 24 May, the band announced that they would be postponing their 2021 tour to 2022. This was the second time these dates were moved, originally being planned for mid-2020.

On 29 May, a 15-second snippet was released by the band, and believed to be a clip from the record. However, the music in the clip did not end up appearing anywhere on the record. The same day Live in Sydney '21 was released through the band's bootleg program, the 7th live recording in the program, and the 9th album overall.[105] A video recording of the performance was also released. The band announced that they would be performance a series of 5 concerts at Sydney's Carriageworks. Each concert will have a different, pre-planned setlist, themed around a different style of music, including acoustic, "jams", microtonal, garage rock, and heavy metal.[106]

Butterfly 3000 was released on all streaming platforms on 11 June 2021. The album received generally positive reviews,[107] with reviewers commending the album on its "sonic adventurism"[108] and describing the songs as "pop-oriented additions [that are] are a perfect pairing to their existing sound.", while some critics said that the album's "formulaic approach lacks surprise".

On 14 June, the band released the music video for "Yours", the first track on Butterfly 3000, directed by previous collaborator John Angus Stewart. A few days before the release, the band stated that every song on the album will have a music video. Later they released videos for "Shanghai", on 21 June and "Dreams", on 28 June, and "Blue Morpho" on 6 July. Later in the month they released videos for "Interior People", on July 12 and "Catching Smoke", on July 26th.

In the midst of the Butterfly 3000 videos being released, tour photographer and collaborator Jamie Wdziekonski announced a photo book via his Instagram including photos from the band's 2019 European tour. The book's title, Chunky, is a reference to the concert film Chunky Shrapnel, which chronicled the same tour and was released in the spring of 2020. The book's first printing was available on the band's webstores in the United States, Europe, and Australia, and sold out within the day.

On 2 August, the band released the video for "2.02 Killer Year", and later on 10 August, announced via Twitter that they had finished their next album, and included emojis of a diamond and a pickaxe.[109] The next day, the band released the video for "Black Hot Soup". Then, on 15 August, the band tweeted 2 more emojis; a drop of water and a faucet filling a glass,[110] leading to speculation that these emojis were related to a future album. On 24 August, the band released the video for "Ya Love", and on 31 August, the final video, "Butterfly 3000" was released. Seven out of the ten videos for Butterfly 3000 were directed by artists that the band had not previously worked with, and all of them were animated in various styles. This was unusual, as the band had previously only worked with a few select artists and directors to create their video clips.

On 31 August, the band released the "Ocular Edition" of Butterfly 3000, featuring all ten music videos on Blu-Ray, as well as behind the scenes content. Later on 8 September, the band announced that their Brisbane and Perth residency shows would be postpones, with dates to be announced. On 30 September, the band announced the release of a limited deluxe edition of their 7th LP, Paper Mâché Dream Balloon, a double LP featuring an instrumental version of the album, as well as a new Lenticular cover. On 31 September the band released another bootleg live album, Live In Milwaukee '19 via Bandcamp.

On 30 October, the band played an unreleased track from an unspecified album at Melbourne's "Play On Victoria" event at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. The next day, the band released the lyrics to the song, "Gaia", via a screenshot posted to twitter.

On 23 November, the band announced the Timeland music festival, which was to be hosted by Boogie Festival and would have been headlined by the band.[111] Alongside it, the band teased the release of their 19th full-length album, titled Made in Timeland, which was to be available at the festival.[112] However, on 30 December, the day before the festival was scheduled to begin, its cancellation was announced, citing COVID-19 concerns.[113] On 6 December, the remix album Butterfly 3001 was announced, containing remixes of songs from Butterfly 3000. Just four days later on 10 December 2021, the band, along with The Reverberation Appreciation Society released the Live at Levitation '14 and '16 compilation, which combines the shows the band did at the 2014 and 16 Levitation festivals.[114] The two shows were also sold seperatly by the band, as well as being put in the bootlegger program.[115][116]

Butterfly 3001, Made in Timeland, and upcoming projects (2022–present)[edit]

A music video featuring DJ Shadow debuted on YouTube 6 January. Butterfly 3001 released on 21 January featuring 21 remixes of Butterfly 3000 songs.[117]

On 27 January 2022, the band released Live in Brisbane '21 to their Bandcamp account and the Bootlegger program.[118] Recorded on 19 December 2021, the show was entirely acoustic and was the first night of a five night residence in The Princess Theatre.

In February 2022, the band announced a three-hour marathon set in Melbourne, naming the one-off show as Return Of The Curse Of Timeland, set to take place on 5 March.[119] Made in Timeland could be bought at the show, and was made available on the band's website the same day.[120]

On 8 March 2022, the band announced their twentieth studio album, Omnium Gatherum, which was released on 22 April.[121] They also released the eighteen-minute track "The Dripping Tap", their longest to date, as a single.[122] Six days later on 14 March, the band released a joint EP alongside Tropical Fuck Storm titled Satanic Slumber Party. The EP originated during the recording sessions for Fishing for Fishies, during which the two groups collaborated on a jam section titled "Hat Jam". Sections of both The Dripping Tap and Satanic Slumber Party were adapted from these sessions, with a special limited-edition 12" vinyl Hat Jam released containing both releases.[123]

The band is set to fulfill their promise of the North American three-hour marathon sets in October 2022. They will perform at The Greek Theater in Berkley, Californina on October 2. [124] They will play three of the special marathon sets at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado on October 10 and 11 as well as a final show on November 2. [125]

Musical styles and the "Gizzverse"[edit]

The band has explored a wide range of genres, including psychedelic rock,[127][128] garage rock,[128] acid rock,[129] progressive rock,[130][131] psychedelic pop,[34][132] indie rock,[133] neo-psychedelia,[134][135] doom metal[136][137] and thrash metal (on Infest the Rats' Nest).[138]

Unusually in western rock music, starting in 2017 with album Flying Microtonal Banana, the band have experimented with microtonal music using custom built guitars in 24 TET tuning, as well as several other modified instruments.[45][139] This was inspired by Middle Eastern and Turkish music, including Anatolian rock, and their customised guitars were modelled off the bağlama.[45][140][141] Mackenzie described it as "kind of a Dorian mode with a half flat sixth and a half flat second, because that was the way my baglama was fretted".[45] After Flying Microtonal Banana, the band went on to create two more albums utilising this scale, K.G. and L.W., while also utilising it on other one-off songs. Many of the band's songs feature unusual time signatures, such as 7/8 and 5/4, and frequent time signature changes.[142][143] Their albums Polygondwanaland and Butterfly 3000 feature polyrhythms and polymeter in several songs.[144]

Many of the band's releases are based on a unique concept, yet share lyrical themes and feature characters that form a recurring cast, the most frequent being Han-Tyumi, a cyborg character who appears across multiple albums. Their songs also tell stories of people-vultures, bushrangers and Balrogs, as well as "lightning gods, flesh-eating beasts, sages and space-faring eco rebels".[145] Members of r/KGATLW, a subreddit dedicated to the band, popularised the term "Gizzverse" to describe the overarching narrative of their discography, about which many theories have been propagated. In a 2017 interview, Stu Mackenzie confirmed that the band's releases are all connected, saying, "They all exist in this parallel universe and they may be from different times and different places but they all can co-exist in a meaningful way". In the same interview, drummer Eric Moore joked that even prior to the band's formation, they decided how the story will end.[146]

The band's lyrics often have environmental themes[141] - topics include pollution, environmental degradation and climate change, particularly on the albums Infest the Rats' Nest, Flying Microtonal Banana, Fishing for Fishies, K.G., and L.W.. Mackenzie has said "We've got a lot of things to fear... I spend a lot of time thinking about the future of humanity and the future of Planet Earth. Naturally these thoughts seep into the lyrics."[147][148][149][143]

Band members[edit]

Current members

  • Stu Mackenzie – vocals, guitars, keyboards, flute, bass guitar, percussion, sitar, piano, violin, clarinet, saxophone, zurna, drums
  • Ambrose Kenny-Smith – vocals, harmonicas, keyboards, percussion, piano, saxophone
  • Joey Walker – guitars, vocals, bass guitar, keyboards, piano, setar, percussion
  • Cook Craig – guitars, bass guitar, piano, keyboards, percussion, vocals
  • Lucas Harwood – bass guitar, piano, keyboards, percussion, vocals
  • Michael Cavanagh – drums, percussion, vocals

Former members

  • Eric Moore – drums, management, vocals, theremin, keyboards, percussion (2010–2020)

Collaborative members

Timeline

Discography[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

AIR Awards[edit]

The Australian Independent Record Awards (commonly known informally as AIR Awards) is an annual awards night to recognise, promote and celebrate the success of Australia's Independent Music sector.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
AIR Awards of 2013[150][151] 12 Bar Bruise Best Independent Hard Rock or Punk Album Won
themselves Carlton Dry Global Music Grant Won
AIR Awards of 2014[152] Oddments Best Independent Hard Rock or Punk Album Nominated
AIR Awards of 2015[153][151] I'm in Your Mind Fuzz Best Independent Hard Rock or Punk Album Won
AIR Awards of 2018[154][151] Murder of the Universe Best Independent Hard Rock or Punk Album Won

APRA Awards[edit]

The APRA Awards are presented annually from 1982 by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), "honouring composers and songwriters".[155]

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2015 "Cellophane" (Stuart Mackenzie) Song of the Year Shortlisted [156]
2018 "Sleep Drifter" (Stuart Mackenzie) Song of the Year Shortlisted [157]
2019 "Greenhouse Heat Death" (Stuart Mackenzie) Song of the Year Shortlisted [158]
2020 "Self-Immolate" (Stuart MacKenzie, Michael Cavanagh, Joseph Walker) Song of the Year Shortlisted [159]

ARIA Music Awards[edit]

The ARIA Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony that recognises excellence, innovation, and achievement across all genres of Australian music. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard has won 2 from 15 nominations.[160]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2015 Quarters! Best Jazz Album Nominated
2016 Nonagon Infinity Best Group Nominated
Best Independent Release Nominated
Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album Won
Nonagan Infinity Tour Best Australian Live Act Nominated
(Danny Cohen & Jason Galea for) King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – "People-Vultures" Best Video Nominated
2017 Flying Microtonal Banana Best Group Nominated
Murder of the Universe Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album Nominated
The Lizard Wizard Gizzfest Best Australian Live Act Nominated
Sketches of Brunswick East Best Jazz Album Nominated
2019 Infest the Rats' Nest Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album Nominated
Fishing for Fishies Best Blues & Roots Album Nominated
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard Australian Tour 2019 Best Australian Live Act Nominated
2020[161] Chunky Shrapnel Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album Won
St Jerome's Laneway Festival Best Australian Live Act Nominated
2021 Micro Tour Best Australian Live Act Nominated

Australian Music Prize[edit]

The Australian Music Prize (the AMP) is an annual award of $30,000 given to an Australian band or solo artist in recognition of the merit of an album released during the year of award. They commenced in 2005.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2016 Nonagon Infinity Australian Music Prize Nominated
2021[162] Butterfly 3000 Australian Music Prize Nominated

J Award[edit]

The J Awards are an annual series of Australian music awards that were established by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's youth-focused radio station Triple J. They commenced in 2005.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
J Awards of 2014[163] I'm in Your Mind Fuzz Australian Album of the Year Nominated
"Hot Wax" Australian Video of the Year Nominated
J Awards of 2016[164] themselves Double J Act of the Year Won
"People Vultures " Australian Video of the Year Won
J Awards of 2019[165] themselves Double J Act of the Year Nominated

Music Victoria Awards[edit]

The Music Victoria Awards are an annual awards night celebrating Victorian music. They commenced in 2005.[166][167]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
Music Victoria Awards of 2013 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard Best Band Nominated
"Head On/ Pill" Best Song Nominated
Music Victoria Awards of 2014 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard Best Band Won
Oddments Best Album Nominated
Music Victoria Awards of 2015 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard Best Band Nominated
Music Victoria Awards of 2016 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard Best Band Won
Best Live Band Won
Nonagon Infinity Best Album Won
Music Victoria Awards of 2017 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard Best Band Won
Best Live Act Won
"Rattlesnake" Best Song Won
Music Victoria Awards of 2018 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard Best Band Nominated
Best Live Act Nominated
Music Victoria Awards of 2019 King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard Best Band Nominated
Best Live Act Won
Stu Mackenzie (King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard) Best Male Musician Nominated
Music Victoria Awards of 2020[168][169] King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard Best Band Nominated
Stu Mackenzie (King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard) Best Musician Nominated
2021 Music Victoria Awards[170][171] King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard Best Group Nominated
Stu Mackenzie (King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard) Best Musician Nominated

National Live Music Awards[edit]

The National Live Music Awards (NLMAs) are a broad recognition of Australia's diverse live industry, celebrating the success of the Australian live scene. The awards commenced in 2016.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
National Live Music Awards of 2016[172] themselves Live Act of the Year Nominated
International Live Achievement (Group) Nominated
Victorian Live Act of the Year Nominated
National Live Music Awards of 2017[173][174] themselves International Live Achievement (Group) Won
People's Choice - Live Act of the Year Nominated
National Live Music Awards of 2020[175] Stu Mackenzie (King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard) Live Guitarist of the Year Won

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