Formed back in 2010, the acclaimed, genre-defying Aussie psych rock and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard — Stu Mackenzie (vocals/guitar), Ambrose Kenny-Smith (harmonica/vocals/keyboards), Cook Craig (guitar/vocals), Joey Walker (guitar/vocals), Lucas Skinner (bass) and Michael Cavanagh (drums)– have developed and maintained a long-held reputation for being a restlessly experimental and prolific act that has released material that has seen them zip back and forth between psych rock, heavy metal, thrash metal, thrash punk, prog rock and Turkish pop.
In 2022, the Aussie JOVM mainstays have added two more albums to their rapidly growing catalog, Omnium Gatherum and Butterfly 3001. Continuing upon their wild prolificacy, the Gizz will be releasing three more new albums in October: Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms and Lava, which will drop first on October 7, 2022; Laminated Denim, which will drop on October 12, 2022, unconventionally a Wednesday; and lastly, Changes, their fifth album on October 28, 2022. Coincidentally, all of this will be happening when the Gizz will be embarking on a North American tour that will see the band playing some of their largest venues to date, including three shows at Red Rocks Amphitheater (two of which are currently sold-out) and Forest Hills Stadium on October 21, 2022. As always, all tour dates are below.
Limited stock of Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava will be available at their Greek Theater show in Berkeley, copies of Laminated Denim will be available at Red Rocks, and Changes can be obtained at the Orpheum in New Orleans. Additionally, bundles of all three albums can be pre-ordered through the band’s homepage: https://kinggizzardandthelizardwizard.com
With an outfit that’s so wildly prolific, things often move very quickly: Before Mackenzie and company had finished work on Omnium Gatherum, they’d started sketching out the next album. Album single “The Dripping Tap” had begun as a handful of ideas and riffs that had arisen at pre-pandemic soundcheck and demos recorded during lockdown. But for Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava, the band didn’t bring in any pre-written songs or ideas; instead, they planned to completely improvise the album’s material in the studio and on the spot. “All we had prepared as we walked into the studio were these seven song titles,” says Mackenzie. “I have a list on my phone of hundreds of possible song titles. I’ll never use most of them, but they’re words and phrases I feel could be digested into King Gizzard-world.”
Mackenzie selected seven titles from this exhaustive list that he felt “had a vibe” and then attached a beats-per-minute value to each one. Each song would also follow one of the seven modes of the major scale: Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydina, Aeolian and Locrian. Over a week-long period, the band recorded hours and hours of jam, dedicating a day to each mode and BMP. “Naturally, each day’s jams had a different flavor, because each day was in a different scale and a different BPM,” Mackenzie says. “We’d walk into the studio, set everything up, get a rough tempo going and just jam. No preconceived ideas at all, no concepts, no songs. We’d jam for maybe 45 minutes, and then all swap instruments and start again.”
The band ended each day with four-to five hours of new jams in the can. Mackenzie auditioned those jams after the sessions were done, stiching them together into the songs that would comprise their 21st — 21st! — album, Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava, a mnemonic for the modes employed in the material’s composition and recording.
Having assembled full working compositions from those jam sessions, Mackenzie and company then began overdubbing flute, organ, percussion and extra guitar over the top. The lyrics were a group effort. “We had an editable Google Sheet that we were all working on,” says Mackenzie. “Most of the guys in the band wrote a lot of the lyrics, and it was my job to arrange it all and piece it together.” The end result off this wildly experimental creative process is reportedly one of the densest, most unpredictable statements from a band, whose work always rockets back and forth in unexpected angles — and accompanied by a wealth of subtext and theorems behind it.
Clocking in at a little over 10 minutes, “Ice V,” IDPLML’s latest single is centered around a tight, shuffling and relentless Afrobeat-like groove, wah wah-drenched guitars, fluttering flute, twinkling Rhodes paired with Mackenzie’s imitable delivery. While arguably being the grooviest track I’ve heard from the Gizz in some time, it also features some of the most infectious hooks as well.