With the release of their first four albums, the Melbourne-based outfit The Murlocs — King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Ambrose Kenny-Smith (vocals, guitar, harmonica) and Cook Craig (bass) along with ORB’s Cal Shortal (guitar) and Crepes and Beans’ Matt Blach (drums) and Tim Karmouche (keys)— established a reputation for crafting fuzzy and distorted psychedelic blues, which they supported as an opener for the likes of Gary Clark, Jr., Mac DeMarco, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Pixies, Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks, Wavves and of course, Kenny-Smith’s and Craig’s primary gig, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard — and as a headlining act, as well.
Recorded at Button Pushers Studio, last year’s Tim Dunn-produced, 11-song Bittersweet Demons found the band lovingly reflecting on the people, who have left a profound impact on their lives — the saviors, the hell raisers and other assorted and mystifying and complex characters they’ve come across. While being among the most personal and complex batch of material they’ve written in their growing catalog, the album saw the band bouncing between and around sun-blasted pop, blues punk and wide-eyed psychedelia.
The Aussie outfit’s sixth album Rapscallion is slated for a September 16, 2022 release through ATO Records. Self-produced by the band during the early stages of the pandemic, Rapscallion‘s 12 songs were recorded in the home studios of the band’s Kenny-Smith, Shortal, Blach, Cook Craig and Karmouche. Conceived and written as a coming-of-age novel in album form, the album’s material is partly inspired by Kenny-Smith’s adolescence as a nomadic skate kid. The album’s world is wild and squalid, populated by an outrageous cast of misfits — teenage vagabonds, small-time criminals, junkyard dwellers and truck-stop transients among others. The end result is an album that thematically — and narratively — is stepped in danger, delirium and wide-eyed romanticism of youth.
Sonically, Rapscallion is reportedly a marked departure from Bittersweet Demons‘ garage rock leanings, with the album’s material featuring strains of stoner metal and post punk. And while darker and more formidable, the album’s songs are still fueled by the same freewheeling energy they’ve brought to the stage.
Rapscallion‘s first single, “Virgin Criminal” is a decidedly post punk-like song centered around buzzing and angular guitar attack and a forceful motorik groove paired with Kenny-Smith’s punchily breathless delivery and the band’s unerring knack for rousingly anthemic hooks. The song’s narrator is initiated into a crew of young criminals and throughout the song, he describes his first crime, an ill-fated convenience store robbery, which ends up with the clerk getting shot to death — and the wild thrill the song’s narrator gets from being an outlaw. And continuing with the album as novel, the song is full of novelistic details that puts the listener right there with the song’s narrator.
Created by Guy Tyzack and featuring cinematography by Lucas Haynes and James Ruse and VHS efforts by Jason Galea, the accompanying video for “Virgin Criminal” is a frenetic and fuzzy account of the song’s narrator descent into a gory world of crime.
The Murlocs will be embarking on a North American tour this fall that will include a November 9, 2022 stop at Webster Hall. As always tour dates are below — and tickets go on sale on July 15, 2022 at Noon ET/9:00AM PT. You can check out the following link for ticket information and to purchase: https://unclemurl.com/shows
North American Tour Dates
10/29: Austin, TX @ LEVITATION ^
Stubb’s Outdoor – Waller Creek Amphitheater
10/31: Oklahoma City, OK @ The Criterion #
11/2: Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre #
11/7: Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts *
11/9: New York, NY @ Webster Hall *
11/10: Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair *
11/11: Montreal, QC – Fairmount Theatre *
11/12: Toronto, ON @ The Axis Club *
11/14: Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom *
11/15: Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall *
11/16: St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club *
11/17: Omaha, NE @ Reverb Lounge *
11/18: Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater *
11/20: Boise, ID @ Neurolux *
11/22: Seattle, WA @ Neumos *
11/23: Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre *
11/25: Portland, OR @ Star Theater *
11/27: San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall *
11/28: Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s *
11/29: Santa Cruz, CA @ Moe’s *
12/2: Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom *
^ w/ King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
# w/ King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Leah Senior
* w/ Grace Cummings