Posts Tagged ‘Flightless Records’

Grace Cummings’ guttural vocals captivate from the first line. Moving through the volatility and stillness of her lyrics on her self-produced sophomore album, “Storm Queen”, a follow up to her 2019 debut “Refuge Cover”, the Melbourne-born artist is a conduit for her most personal tales, and all the music playing in her head. Starting out as a drummer in rock bands in high schools, Cummings started writing her own songs, pulling inspiration from Dylan, Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly, and a more solemn Irish folk song played by her father. “Irish melodies are some of my favourites,” says Cummings. “They go to such dark and dramatic places.” 

Video for The second single from Grace Cummings debut album ‘Refuge Cove’ out November 1st, 2019.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard member Cook Craig’s solo project has dominated this week’s ARIA Vinyls chart. 

Craig’s Pipe-eye has taken out the top two spots with the extended version of 2015 debut Cosmic Blip and limited edition version of 2017’s Laugh About Life respectively. Cook Craig’s 2017 follow up to Cosmic Blip, “Laugh About Life“, is an album that explored new territory for him aesthetically, moving away from the reverb drenched approach of previous recordings. More tight and succinct in its delivery, the songs were short, snappy and pop oriented.

Still present were interludes peppered throughout the record, however this time they delved into a whole other sphere entirely, sounding like something from a nostalgic other-worldly toy box, bouncing between the songs like a slow paced game of pong. These ‘Acts’ set the mood for the preceding songs, as the album unfolds into a melodious and symphonic play of sorts. Laugh About Life is a humorous and jovial musical campaign, always heading in one direction, yet disappearing swiftly in its conclusion, like a dream or an elusive memory. 

The Pipe-eye debuts managed to hold Artic Monkeys‘ AM at #3 and Skegss‘ Rehearsal at #4 which debuted at #1 on the Albums chart last week.

The news comes a month after King Gizzard’s 17th studio album, LW, debuted in the chart’s top 40, with the vinyl of that record also expected to drop soon.

King Gizzard Lizard Wizard KG album microtonal interview Joey Walker Eric Moore leaves band

King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard return with new album K.G.”, their sixteenth since forming in 2010. In the wake of a global pandemic, it’s a collection of songs composed and recorded remotely after the six members of the band retreated to their own homes scattered around Melbourne, Australia.

“We’ve been busy… I think?”

King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard guitarist Joey Walker is underselling the freak rock band’s pandemic pivot – a year’s output that (so far) includes two concert films, two live albums, four soundboard show recordings slash charity fundraisers, and now their 16th studio album, ‘K.G.’. speaking from his home studio – a prim, soundproofed room with a bookshelf peppered with Penguin classics, and a print of Henri Matisse’s 1910 painting Dance, a once-controversial ode to ecstatic bacchanalia. The fine art is a far cry from the six-piece’s lysergic tour posters, usually made by Jason Galea, and Walker’s listening habits reflect this band-divergent attitude – he says he doesn’t listen to “rock music”, preferring techno, house and “I’m gonna sound like a fuckin’ wanker, but jazz and all that dumbass shit”.

Staring down the void left by the Gizzard’s cancelled tours this year, Walker sank thousands of dollars (“more than I’ve ever spent on any musical instrument”) into learning modular synthesis. He swivels his webcam around to show NME the mess of wires that he’s “just constantly fucking fiddling with”. That feverishness extends to the guitarist’s personality, who in conversation darts between ideas like a moth flitting from bulb to bulb. “My disposition is more traditional, neurotic and shattered as a musician. I question everything,” Walker says.

The room he sits in was one of six home studios in which Gizz recorded ‘K.G.’, thanks to Melbourne’s punishingly strict lockdown. Forced individual home recording scuttled an initial plan to develop the album out of live jams, exploring elements of Afrobeat with acoustic microtonal instruments. Walker and scraggly-haired frontman Stu Mackenzie both had cushy spaces in which the band had previously begun or finished material, but the others didn’t.

“It was definitely a challenge for them,” Walker says. “Cavs [drummer Michael Cavanagh], he’d always had to rely on Stu or myself to record him because he didn’t have the know-how. Forced isolation meant he got a studio going, worked out Ableton and started from zero, recording his drums. You can kind of hear it on the album – there are some songs where the drum takes are a bit ‘how-you-goin’, at least sonically.” ‘K.G.’ is subtitled ‘Explorations Into Microtonal Tuning, Volume 2’ – marking it as a sonic sequel to their first experiment with the notes between the notes, 2017’s ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’. The major change on the new record is the use of acoustic microtonal instruments (“just shitty acoustic guitars with modded frets”) on several songs, bending the record closer to its Turkish and Middle Eastern antecedents. But Walker is careful not to identify any specific point of reference.

“We actively don’t look too much to the microtonal world for reference, because I feel like then it would just be the same as that. At least to us, it’s not as interesting. It’s about using [microtones] as a tool to make music that you would already make,” he explains. Indeed, the result sounds more like the band aggregating their work of the last five years – polymetric rhythms, hard rock, funk and folk – rather than disappearing down a new stylistic hole. The guitarist is responsible for the album’s only step into truly foreign territory: ‘Intrasport’, a “dirty Bollywood” banger Walker fiddled into existence during the early weeks of March. He acknowledges that to some fans, this lack of reinvention is technically a disappointment.

“If we don’t do something different, people are like, ‘What are you doing?’ But that’s always gonna happen, which is cool. It’s cool how divisive Gizz is,” Walker says.

The band’s lyrics have also undergone a subtle shift. The sci-fi apocalypse at the core of their earlier music (think ‘Murder Of The Universe’) has slowly morphed into our real, multi-faceted armageddon: the climate crisis, ongoing impacts of colonisation, and now a global pandemic (“I think you can draw a line through those,” Walker says). It first became more apparent on 2019’s ‘Infest The Rat’s Nest’, which paired thrashy aggression with doom-laden warnings about rising temperatures.

But 2020’s downward force brings the band’s social consciousness to the forefront of ‘K.G.’: Walker’s own ‘Minimum Brain Size’, written following the Christchurch shootings, excoriates the right-wing radicalisation of men on the internet; keyboardist Ambrose Kenny Smith’s goofy ‘Straws In The Wind’ is a self-described ‘Sign ‘O’ The Times’ (“Straws in the wind, is it all ending?… I can hear hell’s kitchen and they’re singing hymns”).

“There’s definitely a social tip to the Gizz thing, and obviously climate change is a big part of it,” Walker says. “We try not to be too didactic in how we go about it, though there probably are times where it [could] be. We try to bury it in metaphor and other shit.” A glance at the band’s dedicated fan pages on Facebook and Reddit (populated by a total of 74,000 users) would suggest the metaphors have the desired obfuscating effect – it’s the science fiction “Gizzverse” fans tend to dissect, not so much the sociopolitical substance.

Gizz fans have earned comparisons to The Grateful Dead’s for their similar breathless devotion to the band’s prolificacy and relentless touring. The combination of both those things, Walker says, “creates two parallel universes whereby a fan of King Gizzard can like and love studio records – or not. For the nots, the notion of us as a live band is a completely different story”.

The band mythologised their own love of the road twice this year – once in the immersive concert film Chunky Shrapnel, and on ‘K.G.’’s ‘Oddlife’: “No concept of geography / I wake up and I’m still fatigued / I’m drinking ’til I’m dead asleep”. But inevitable burnout claimed its first victim this year in second drummer and manager Eric Moore, who stepped away from the band in August to focus on their label Flightless Records. Though vague on the details when pressed, Walker says it was “definitely a group decision” that had actually been made in late 2019.

“It was just the endpoint of a really good conversation we all had,” he says. “[Eric] felt like he was wearing too many hats. Who knows what will happen in the future or whatever. I think he felt that he needed to focus on less than three things that were directly related, but also cancel each other out in a weird way.”

Closing in on their 10th anniversary, the band had previously decided 2020 would mark a final touring push before committing to a couple of years of studio work – but because of the pandemic, they’re calling this year their “hiatus”. Yes, really. The Gizzard machine, as Walker calls it, will have a “big year of output” in 2021 – even by their standards – with what the guitarist believes will be their most divisive music yet.

“Part of me thinks it’s the best thing we’ve ever done. And part of me thinks it’s the worst,” he laughs.

Walker won’t dish on the details, though he uses 2020’s de facto word of the year to describe the material: unprecedented. A spiritual sequel to Chunky Shrapnel is also planned, set to present new versions of forthcoming material: “Everything’s been done in terms of a music documentary and live albums or whatever it’s going to be, but there’s a certain distilled thing we’re trying for that we really haven’t seen.”

Not everyone might love King Gizzard’s music, but the band’s work ethic – and their penchant to laugh in the face of the modern music industry’s highly ritualised album cycle – commands grudging respect. Theirs is an ethos that wouldn’t die with the project, even if the Gizzard machine broke underneath the weight of its own output.

“The sheer fact that we wanted to put out heaps of music meant that we just didn’t work for heaps of people. Labels didn’t want to touch us. And if they did, they would try and put their label-y thing on it. We just operate outside of that,” Walker declares.

Another fantastic Australian band that has set the standard for work ethic in the studio over the past few years, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard kept their fans satisfied with two live albums released their year in Chunky Shrapnel and Live in San Francisco ’16. It was the surprise release of K.G. in late November, however, which reminded fans of how creative and innovative this band can be. The songs heard on K.G. made for a noticeable and enjoyable change-up from the more intense, hard-rock sounds and styles heard on their last few studio projects, thanks in large part to the band utilizing quarter-tone tuning and notation from microtonal scales often heard in Indian classical music. The combination of their psychedelic styles mixed with Eastern influences made K.G. quite the mesmerizing cyclone of peak rock and roll excellence.

“If Gizzard stopped tomorrow, each of us would just make music ourselves the very next day. It’s a full-time job, in a dope way.” King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard’s ‘K.G.’ out now

The Slingers - The Cruellest Cut / Kind Hearts 7"

Off the back of two stellar self released EPs, ‘The Cruellest Cut’ marks The Slingers first release through Flightless Records.
The double A-side 7″ consists of ‘Kind Hearts’, a lonesome cowboy ballad featuring Spike Fuck, and the title track, ‘The Cruellest Cut’.

Bound with charm filled sincerity, ‘The Cruellest Cut’ is a compelling punch of motel-pop. Unmistakable in their love of twang tinged melody, they take this penchant and swing it their own way – as each glistening synth line and reverberant tom hit pulls on our new wave heart strings. Though booming and plush in its production, there’s no taking away from the bones of this 5 and ½ minute crooner. It’s effortlessly tender and timelessly poignant, with the kind of magnetic resonance that lives within the heart beat of country.

The flip side features ‘Kind Hearts’, a lonesome cowboy ballad duet with the inimitable Spike Fuck

New single “The Cruellest Cut” Off the double A-side 7″ – The Cruellest Cut / Kind Hearts with Spike Fuck Available via now

“CHUNKY SHRAPNEL” The brand new double live LP will be available for pre-order 10th April 9AM AEST. This is the first ever official live album from King Gizzard and was produced by Stu Mackenzie in conjunction with the Chunky Shrapnel film. “CHUNKY SHRAPNEL” is a feature length live music Documentary from King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. Literally bringing the audience onto the stages of their 2019 tour across Europe & the UK, Chunky Shrapnel offers a uniquely immersive experience never before captured on film. A musical road movie dipped in turpentine.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are excited to announce Chunky Shrapnel, a feature-length motion picture that follows King Gizzard’s adrenaline-inducing onstage performances from the perspective of the band. The film is accompanied by a double-LP live album featuring the music from the film recorded throughout the band’s 2019 European tour.  The film will premiere worldwide on Friday, April 17th at 6pm EST via an online live-stream — watch the trailer. Chunky Shrapnel album will be released digitally on April 24th and available in US record stores on CD & LP on May 29th.

A musical road movie dipped in turpentine, Chunky Shrapnel is a point of view / on stage experience from the perspective of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard.  Once a song begins, just like the band, you’re stuck in the adrenaline-fueled quicksand that there is no escape from. The film’s contention is clear from the outset, it’s going to be a “journey” not a “lecture”, an incurved experience rather than a linear one.  Exploiting the unpredictable energy of 16mm film stock, the images are searingly psychedelic and aggressive.  Chunky Shrapnel is an experience geared towards not only recreating the energy of a live concert but, creating something tailored and unique to the King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard.

Chunky Shrapnel Track List
1. Evil Star
2. The River (Live in Luxembourg ’19)
3. Wah Wah (Live in Madrid ’19)
4. Road Train (Live in Manchester ’19)
5. Murder of the Universe (Live in Utrecht ’19)
6. Quarantine
7. Planet B (Live in London ’19)
8. Parking (Live in Brussels ’19)
9. Venusian 2 (Live in Milan ’19)
10. Hell (Live in Milan ’19)
11. Let Me Mend The Past (Live in Madrid ’19)
12. Anamnesis
13. Inner Cell (Live in Utrecht ’19)
14. Loyalty (Live in Utrecht ’19)
15. Horology (Live in Utrecht ’19)
16. A Brief History of Planet Earth (Live in London, Berlin, Utrecht, and Barcelona ’19)

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Suburbiopia is an epic exploration of the upside of being in a suicide cult. Below is their new clip; filmed in a parallel universe by Oscar O’Shea, you will be enlightened and inspired once you’ve gazed through it’s glory hole into the third eye of your Raëlian overlords. TFS put out this 7″vinyl which sold out in minutes featuring
Suburbiopia and a cover of The Saints song The Perfect Day with Amy Taylor from Amyl & The Sniffers on vocals and Sean from Surfbort on the tubs

Suburbiopia is an epic exploration of the upside of being in a suicide cult.

Filmed in a parallel universe by Oscar O’Shea, you will be enlightened and inspired once you’ve gazed through it’s glory hole into the third eye of your Raëlian overlords. FiFi sings, RKO helps with the singing Gaz plays guitar and programs beatz Sean Powell plays the drums and monotron synth Amy Taylor plays the OP-1 synth Dan Kelly plays the Protech Kinder Keyboard

The first single off the new 7″ out on Flightless Records 3rd of April

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A year ago, Melbourne musician Grace Cummings started playing her own songs armed with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a harmonica. She has since fascinated local Melbourne audiences as she sings simple and honest songs with a powerful recklessness. Within a year she has shared bills with the likes of J Mascis and Do Re Mi as well as a breakout performance Boogie Festival. Her very first collection of solo songs will be released by Flightless Records in late 2019.

Grace comments ,A little while ago I started playing my own songs and writing more and more of them.
I went over to Jesse Williams’ house and recorded a bunch of solo songs in an afternoon… These have become my first album.

I am lucky enough to have it put out by Flightless Records who are the absolute coolest. The album ‘Refuge Cove’ comes out November 1st.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have announced their 15th studio album (!) in the past 7 years. Infest The Rats’ Nest will be released on Flightless Records on August 16th, 2019 with pre-order for the album going live on June 25th, Infest The Rats’ Nest features the band’s two recent singles Self-Immolate and Planet B, both of which were accompanied by dark, violent John Angus Stewart-directed videos.

The new tracks are evidence that Infest the Rat’s Nest will take a distinctly different track to the band’s recently released album, Fishing For Fishies, which came out on Flightless in late April 2019. That album ended up at #1 on ARIA vinyl charts.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard released a whopping five new albums last year. The Melbourne psych-rock outfit shared their latest LP, Fishing For Fishies, back in April, and now they’ve announced their second album of 2019. Infest The Rats’ Nest will be King Gizzard’s 15th album in the past seven years.

Infest The Rats’ Nest sees the band embracing thrash metal. The press release says it’s their “hardest and heaviest album to date. How metal is it? Very Metal. Maybe even more.” The album was recorded with three of the seven band members. Frontman Stu Mackenzie and guitarist Joey Walker share guitar and bass duty while Michael Cavanagh handles the drums.

“The A-side of the album is set in the near future and is about real shit going on right now – especially ecological disaster,” Mackenzie explains in a statement. “We’ve got a lot of things to fear. The B-side tells the story of a group of rebels who are forced to leave Planet Earth and try to settle on Venus. 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.”

Infest The Rats’ Nest is out 8/16 via Flightless/ATO.

King Gizz will embark on a massive world tour . These shows are not to be missed.

Victorian band Stonefield

The Findlay sisters heavy metal band Stonefield has joined the ranks of Flightless Records, the label owned by the members of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.

Stonefield’s fourth album Bent was produced by Joe Walker and Stu Mackenzie of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and was recorded in between tours in five days. “It’s a culmination of experiences, emotions, and stories collected over time,” explains lead singer and drummer Amy Findlay, “A growth of honest, raw, energy that has been burning within us and waiting for its moment.”

The first single is ‘Sleep’. “ ‘Sleep’ was inspired by the concept of floating in the in-between,” explains Findlay, “An ode to the darkness of not wanting to cross to the other side.”

This is heavier than heaven! Sludgy stoner rock riffs that drag like a 45 played at 33 1/3 speed, guitars de-tuned until the strings hang off the fretboards, keys that ring out like police sirens – this is the type of music that belongs in a vast desert with amps powered by generators and preachers decrying the devil that got in and made it all possible. The vocals are pure Ozzy Osbourne and Jimmy Page rock classicism, with only the slightest inflections betraying that this is actually an Australian girl in her 20s channeling such unholy hell. Even the humming of the amplifier in the opening seconds sounds like a guard dog’s guttural growl seconds before pouncing. If there was any justice, this would be added to rock radio stations the world over and Stonefield would be partying at the Hyatt like it’s 1969.

Stonefield’s new album “Bent” is out on 14th June. on Flightless Records

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Sit back and strap yourself in as the seven-headed Aussie rock beast King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard return with Fishing for Fishies”, perhaps their most perfectly-realised album to date. Here is a world where the organic meets the automated; where the rustic meets the robotic. Where the past and future collide in the beautiful present.

The thirteenth album since their 2012 debut – and their first following the release of five vastly different albums in 2017 – Fishing for Fishies is a blues-infused blast of sonic boogie that struts and shimmies through several moods and terrains. From the soft shuffle Outback country of the opening title track through the sunny easy listening of ‘The Bird Song’ (think the lysergically-soaked Laurel Canyon circa 1973) and on through the party funk of ‘Plastic Boogie’ (which somehow summons the spirit of Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions) the road-trucking, Doors-like highway rock of ‘The Cruel Millennial’ and ‘Real Is Real’ – what The Carpenters might have sounded like had they existed entirely on vegemite and weed – it’s a dizzying, dazzling display.

Hell, The Gizz make it look so easy.

And that’s all before we even get to ‘Acarine’, a futurist blues tune which heads off into previously unchartered territories of shimmering Eno-esque ambient and dark John Carpenter-style electro, and the electro squelch of album-closing single ‘Cyboogie’, on which five of the seven King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard members play synths. It’s a stomping vocoder-lead anthem akin to Georgio Moroder or Trans-era Neil Young and a triumphant conclusion to an album that is as surprising as it is thrilling, as unexpected as it is effortless.

“We tried to make a blues record,” says frontman Stu Mackenzie. “A blues-boogie-shuffle-kinda-thing, but the songs kept fighting it – or maybe it was us fighting them. Ultimately though we let the songs guide us this time; we let them have their own personalities and forge their own path. Paths of light, paths of darkness. This is a collection of songs that went on wild journeys of transformation.”

“I didn’t really know who I was by the end of 2017,” continues Stu, of the band’s never-to-be-repeated year, which concluded with the fifth album being released on New Years Eve 2017. “It was a good kind of spent feeling though, as I like being busy. For most of the holiday period I was in the studio doing the last of the recording and mixing on Gumboot Soup. And as soon as it clicked over to 2018 I stopped worrying about recording for a while and started living instead.”

Out of this period came Fishing for Fishies, an album in which musical motifs recur: lush piano, mellotron and synth flourishes (the bulk of the album was written on piano); Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s distinctive harmonica, which brings to mind sidewinders crossing dusty widescreen vistas; a generous dose of vocoder; and a plethora of creative U-turns that conspire to create a general overall sense of man and machine melding together in a thrilling chrome-covered hybrid.

Because Fishing for Fishies is an album looking out across the horizon through mirrored sunglasses while twenty-tonne juggernauts thunder past. Here, perhaps, is a place where the spirit of two key songs released in the same year – Ram Jam’s ‘Black Betty’ and Kraftwerk’s ‘Trans-Europe Express’ – linger somewhere in the mix. And what may sound absurd on paper is actually the genius work of a band of musicians entirely simpatico with one another after nearly a decade of constant evolution.

“We have travelled a lot – we’ve seen the world – but it all still feels like discovery,” says Stu, in trademark self-effacing style. “We’re still essentially naive kids tinkering around with toys we don’t know how to use in the studio.”

Newcomers to King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard will find an entire self-contained universe awaits them in a thrilling body of work. Here are grand concepts where albums overlap, riffs resurface, circular songs chase their own tails, grand narratives are told, cryptic lyrics endlessly analysed and a whole army of fans regurgitate the band’s output via a deluge of remixes, memes, visual loops, mind-melting cut-ups and just generally pontificate wildly about everything in The Gizzverse, much of it available on Youtube and internet forums.

“I am aware that it exists,” laughs Stu, of the alternative world that exists in their honour. “But I’m completely social media-less and pretty stone-age really. Good on ‘em for digging deep though.”

Because King Gizzard are no longer a band, they are a cult, a youth movement, an exploration, a double-drumming trip, a cottage industry centred around their own Flightless Records. Many milestones have been ticked off along the way: a headline slot at the UK’s Green Man Festival; a huge sold-out US tour; playing to five thousand people at a sold-out Brixton Academy one day…and then 100 people in the Yorkshire hill town of Hebden Bridge the next. Meanwhile their Gizzfest gathering in Melbourne is now in its fourth year. They are a band to give your life to. Perhaps more than anything they provide transportive fun, a valuable and often-overlooked commodity in an increasingly fraught world.

Best of all, anyone can step into The Gizzverse – anytime, anywhere. No prior understanding is necessary. So whether it’s psyche rock played with breakneck precision (2014’s I’m In Your Mind Fuzz), life-giving acoustic folk and Tropicalia (2015’s Paper Mâché Dream Balloon), a three-part sci-fi/prog album (2017’s Murder Of The Universeor an album uploaded on an open license so that budding labels worldwide could press their own copies, which they duly did, currently 240 different pressings according to Discogs (2017’s, Polygondwanaland), King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard provide it. As Pitchfork noted, they have waged war against two tired clichés: “One, that rock is dead; and two, that the album is dead.” More than that, they have staked their claim as one of the most innovative, exciting and productive bands of the 21st century.

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are: Stu Mackenzie (vocals/guitar/flute), Ambrose Kenny-Smith (harmonica/vocals), Cook Craig (guitar/vocals), Joey Walker (guitar), Lucas Skinner (bass), Eric Moore (drums) and Michael Cavanagh (drums).