Although they formed in 2011 in Melbourne, Australia, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard's sense of unfettered sonic exploration makes them easy to mistake for a long-forgotten relic of the psych explosion of the '60s. With a far-out sound that, at times, feels barely held together, King Gizzard evoke the eclectic rock experimentation of Frank Zappa's early work with the Mothers of Invention as they follow their musical flights of fancy wherever they might go, and let the rest just fall into place on its own. In 2012, King Gizzard released 12 Bar Bruise, which they followed up just five months later with 2013's Eyes Like the Sky, which the band somewhat enigmatically described as a "spaghetti western audio book." A third full-length, Float Along, Fill Your Lungs, was released in 2013 and was quickly followed by 2014's Oddments and I'm in Your Mind Fuzz. Still working fast, they released an EP in early 2015. Titled Quarters, it featured four trippy songs that each timed out exactly at 10:10. Later that same year they released yet another album, Paper Mâché Dream Balloon.
After signing to ATO Records, their sound took a detour from expanded jams and fuzzy freakouts to tightly constructed, but still weird, pop songs played exclusively on acoustic instruments. The follow-up album, Nonagon Infinity, was recorded at Daptone Studios and featured some of the band's heaviest, most forceful psych rock to date. The 2016 release was recorded so that one track bleeds into the next, then jumps back to the beginning after the last song. They tout it as the "world's first infinitely looping album." The band spent time after the album's release touring, and getting five albums ready for release in 2017. On the first of them, Flying Microtonal Banana, King Gizzard decided to investigate microtonal tuning, a non-Western way of tuning that involves intervals smaller than a semitone. They had a custom-made guitar gifted to them, and the bandmembers bought new gear and altered the instruments so they could be microtuned in a way that made them compatible. The group's second album of 2017, Murder of the Universe, arrived two months later in March. It was broken into three long sections, each one telling a different apocalyptic tale of the human race being taken over by cyborgs and AI, while featuring heavy use of synths and spoken word narration. ~ Gregory Heaney