We don’t use the word ‘obsessed’ around here too lightly, but King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – the Melbourne psych rockers who plan to release not one, but five new albums next year – are a special exception. Their previous mind-bending masterpiece, Nonagon Infinity, made history last year as the first infinitely-looping LP, but it also took up some serious headspace, becoming an addictive, must-spin-daily kind of record for those of us who snapped it up on vinyl. When you suddenly crave milk and honey, wake up muttering “big fig wasp!” in your sleep, and start counting everything in threes, you know it’s serious.
Now, the promise of new music and new shows has us all fired up, wondering what wonderful, gizz-filled melodies will infiltrate the inner workings of our brains for the year to come. The first sneak peak comes with a catchy, psychedelic new single and video, “Rattlesnake,” released just yesterday (catch it up above, man). The song is another Stu-led insta-trip, brimming with promise for the accompanying album, Flying Microtonal Banana, to be released February 24th. The video is what it would look like if you ate some funny plants and drove Willy Wonka’s boat waaay too far into the scary tunnel.
And under its squishy, banana-smothered surface, the album turns out to be another complex musical experiment for the band. Yep, when King Gizz call something “microtonal,” they’re not dicking around. Flying Microtonal Banana marks the band’s first dive into the mysterious world of microtonal tuning, where intervals not found in customary Western tuning octaves run free in the wild. This means, “Rattlesnake” included, the whole album happens in movements smaller than a semitone – on instruments that were custom-rigged by the band.
“Earlier this year, we started experimenting with a custom microtonal guitar our friend Zak made for Stu,” explained drummer Eric Moore. “The guitar was modified to play in 24-TET tuning and could only be played with other microtonal instruments. We ended up giving everyone a budget of $200 to buy instruments and turn them microtonal. The record features the modified electric guitars, basses, keyboards and harmonica as well as a turkish horn called a Zurna.”
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard will kick off their North American spring tour on March 29th at DC’s 9:30 Club – and they’ll be coming our way on 3/31 at Webster Hall in NYC. If you can’t wait to get on the road with ‘em, be sure to check out their new bootleg documentary “Holiday From Hell” below, which chronicles ‘seven tours over two years in two hours.’ Flying Microtonal Banana is available for preorder here – and knowing this band, you oughta get right on that.
Article: Olivia Isenhart