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Australia’s King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are the only known band with 16 albums, two official live albums, a wide variety of styles, and an entire universe linking them together. Formed in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, each record they make is a new unique take on their sound, starting from surf/garage rock in 2012 and currently landing in the microtonal sounds they tried back in 2017.
King Gizzard is the hardest working band to date. Before 2020, the band was constantly touring, even during their five-record-run of 2017. Each record builds their discography a floor taller, allowing for variety in their already energetic live shows. But not only are they just making the music, they also constantly tie together storylines, create characters, and build worlds inside these amazing records.
Choose your own discography path!
This guide will follow a “choose your own adventure” format. It will start with what is arguably the definitive Gizzard album, I’m in Your Mind Fuzz, and will then allow you to choose which record to go to next. This is mostly dictated by the different sounds of each album, and what can tie them together to create a path. When you’ve completed your path, go to the outro at the bottom! It is encouraged to listen to a couple of songs from each record as you explore your path, have fun!
I’m in Your Mind Fuzz (2014)
Gizzard’s fifth record is where they started to come into their own, combining all their previous psychedelic sounds and mixing it with garage rock jams from their first record, 12 Bar Bruise. The production improved heavily and allowed for them to show what their definitive sound is: psych-rock with enough energy and jams to keep the listener interested and engaged. Each member plays off each other with ease, especially during the long jams of the Mind Fuzz Suite (the first four songs) and “Am I in Heaven?” The last track on the album, “Her & I (Slow Jam 2),” also contributes long jams and provides even more psych-rock texture throughout. Every song is a welcome addition to the record and flows together incredibly well, making it apparent that these songs exist in the same world. Mind Fuzz is what sets the tone for what is to come with the band. The driving riffs and groovy bass lines on the record pave the way for future instrumentals, and the lyrics expanded their ideas and themes. Mind Fuzz marked the time where the band would take off creatively, and dwell deep into other sounds and genres, even though they teased it before.
Key Songs: I’m in Your Mind, I’m Not in Your Mind, Her & I (Slow Jam 2), Am I in Heaven?
Where to go next:
- If you enjoyed the heavy side of the record, go to one of these:
- If you enjoyed the softer side of the record, go down to Quarters!
- If you enjoyed the jamming sounds of the record, go down to Flying Microtonal Banana
12 Bar Bruise (2012)
The first Gizzard record is a joy of a listen. It’s full of incredible raw energy that radiates with each track. The early foundations of King Gizzard are here: wailing guitars, fuzzy pedals, driving bass, and fast drums. “Muckraker” is gritty and noisy, but infectious with its groove and hook. “Cut Throat Boogie,” the first of many Boogies, features keys/harmonica player Ambrose Kenny-Smith on vocals and the best lyrics on the record. “Sam Cherrie’s Last Shot” is the anomaly of the record, featuring a spoken word story from Kenny-Smith’s father, but with western sounding background music, foreshadowing what is to come with their second record “Eyes Like the Sky.” The band is just having fun here, slapping together riffs and drum beats over minimal lyrics. The production is very raw and unpolished, but it works to the album’s advantage, advancing its dirty and energetic sound. “Bloody Ripper” remains one of their most underrated songs with a catchy chorus and the best production on the record. “Sea of Trees,” keeps the surf-rock fun, but also foreshadows the long jams that are to come in future releases. The only negative would be the lyrics. In the future, Gizzard will expand their themes and quality of the lyrics, but for their first record, it’s a bit sparse. The future is bright, but where will they go next?
Key Songs: Muckraker, Bloody Ripper, Sea of Trees
Where to go next:
- If you want a heavier, more psychedelic sound, go down to Nonagon Infinity.
- If you enjoyed “Sam Cherry’s Last Shot,” go down to Eyes Like the Sky
Eyes Like the Sky (2013)
The second Gizzard record is the true oddity in their catalog: a spaghetti western. For a sophomore effort, this is an odd choice, but Gizzard made it work. The same garage rock production from 12 Bar Bruise makes a return. But this time, there is no singing, no melodies, just narration of a western tale from Kenny-Smith’s father, Broderick Smith. “Sam Cherry’s Last Shot” from the first record was a teaser for this unique take on a western. In the liner notes for the vinyl re-release album, Stu Mackenzie, the band’s lead singer/frontman said, “I love western films. I love bad guys and I love Red Dead Redemption. Oh, and I love evil guitars,” which basically sums up the album. The band doesn’t get lost in this style, however. The riffs and drumbeats are a departure from 12 Bar Bruise, but the overall sound is entirely Gizzard. In fact, in true Gizzard fashion, the songs are quite varied, from the exciting opener “Eyes Like the Sky,” the chase sounding banger “The Raid,” to the droning, atmospheric jam “the God Man’s Goat Lust.” The record is a gimmick in and of itself, but Gizzard pulls through and offers a unique listening experience, full of interesting stories and fun, distinctive instrumentals, with a few forgettable songs.
Key Songs: Eyes Like the Sky, The Raid, The God Man’s Goat Lust
Where to go next:
- Looks like you’ve found a dead end, go back up to I’m in Your Mind Fuzz or 12 Bar Bruise and pick a new direction!
Float Along – Fill Your Lungs (2013)
The third Gizzard album opens with the 16-minute live staple, “Head On/Pill,” a psychedelic anthem full of sitars and long jams, with a dreamy production filled with reverb. The song sets the tone for the rest of the album. Float Along follows a psychedelic influence, similar to when the Beatles made Revolver. It offers a completely different side of the band yet keeps the raw production while focusing more on songwriting. The record came about at a time when the band was touring constantly, getting better at jamming and improvisation. Naturally, the instrumentals became more experimental. Float Along offers the best batch of songs from their early records. “God Is Calling Me Back Home,” is a catchy and fun guitar-based tune, and “30 Past 7” brings back the sitar for a trippy, slow jam. But the true highlight is “Let Me Mend the Past,” a poppy, short and sweet song that Kenny-Smith sings on. Overall, Float Along highlights the constant improvements and strides that the band is applying to get better.
Key Songs: Head On/Pill, Let Me Mend the Past, Float Along – Fill Your Lungs
Where to go next:
- If you like the focus on songwriting and varied sounds, go down to Fishing for Fishies.
- If you want a more serious and technical work with psychedelic influences, go down to Polygondwanaland.
Oddments is essentially a B-Sides record. It contains songs that didn’t make it onto the first three records. Mackenzie called it “spring cleaning for the mind” on the liner notes of the vinyl re-release. The songs make for an interesting listening experience. Opening keyboard jam, “Alluda Majaka” sets the tone while “Stressin’” and “Sleepwalker” could easily fit on Float Along. The most notable track here is “Work This Time,” a slow jam written by guitarist Joey Walker. The song brought out the soft and quieter side of the band. Which, oddly enough, is their top track on Spotify! “Homeless Man in Adidas” provides an excellent lo-fi acoustic track, kind of in the same vein as Paper Mache Dream Balloon. The album as a whole isn’t anything too special, but still worth listening to just to hear all sides of Gizzard.
Key Songs: Work This Time, Alluda Majaka, Homeless Man in Adidas
Where to go next:
- If you like “It’s Got Old,” and other acoustic songs here, go down to Paper Mâché Dream Balloon.
- If you want another album full of varied songs and styles, go down to Gumboot Soup.
- If you have not yet listened to, I’m in Your Mind Fuzz, do so right away.
Quarters! consists of four songs that are of equal parts, each song is 10 minutes and 10 seconds long. The band changes their sound yet again, opting for a jazzy, laid back approach that they pull off instantly. But one aspect that still remains is the long jam sessions. Quarters! is one of the more consistent records in their discography, not changing its styles as much as other records. Also, the gimmick of each song being the same length doesn’t take away from any of the song’s impact, only enhancing it. “God is in the Rhythm” harkens back to “Let Me Mend the Past” in its simplicity and songwriting, but the lo-fi guitars and vocals elevate the song and jams to the next level. “The River,” one of their best songs and a fan favorite, it can even be seen as a precursor to their jazz record, Sketches of Brunswick East. The record is an easy listen, but also an essential point in the discography. It has a gimmick, fantastic instrumentals, and a fully realized idea and sound, leading the way for future Gizzard albums just like its predecessor: I’m in Your Mind Fuzz.
Key Songs: The River, God is in the Rhythm
Where to go next:
- If you enjoy the lo-fi and jazz elements, go down to Sketches of Brunswick East.
- If you want more of a variety and less format, go up to Oddments.
Paper Mâché Dream Balloon (2015)
The acoustic album! With this record, Gizzard took a complete U-turn and created a softer, more woodwind approach recorded almost entirely with acoustic instruments. The songs here are also a lot shorter than previous Gizzard albums contain. This album was recorded in a variety of places: homes, sheds, garages, apartments, and hotels, which contributed to its rich texture. With Quarters!, lyrics were not in the forefront, but Paper Mâché offers a multitude of great lines like in the song “Sense,” “But in fact, it’s a pattern/Everything I hear will always make me ashen.” The record also shows how diverse the band can be. “The Bitter Boogie,” the second of many boogies, is bluesier with more piano, while “Sense” brings back jazz roots with acoustic guitar and woodwinds. Paper Mâché also contains a fun side. “Trapdoor” is silly in nature but irresistible, nonetheless. “N.G.R.I. (Bloodstain),” offers a catchy hook, and the title track’s tempo changes fuse well with its use of flutes and acoustic guitar melodies. “Time = $$$” has an interesting chord progression, and when done by the acoustic instruments, it feels a lot more intimate and engaging. Paper Mâché doesn’t get as much attention as their more popular albums, but it is definitely a diamond in the rough. In fact, the final song on the album is a culmination of most of the riffs from the record, which blew me away hearing that.
Key Songs: Sense, the Bitter Boogie, Time = $$$
Where to go next:
- If you enjoyed the acoustic style of the record, go up to Oddments to find more!
- If you have already heard Oddments, head back to your previous album and go in a different direction!
Nonagon Infinity (2016)
This is King Gizzard’s masterpiece, a perfect culmination of all their sounds and styles rolled into one endless trip of garage psych rock. Nonagon is an album that never ends. Each track flows flawlessly into the next, creating an infinite loop. The record is heavier and fuzzier with songs like “Road Train,” and “Evil Death Roll” rocking as if they were AC/DC mixed with Black Sabbath. In fact, these songs tease their thrash metal epic, Infest the Rat’s Nest. Nonagon is the record that set off the “Gizzverse,” a shared universe/storyline between most of the Gizzard albums. Fans started to notice similarities between Mind Fuzz, Quarters, and Nonagon, piecing together similar riffs and lyrical themes. The jamming present on every Gizzard album finds its way here as well, becoming infectious on songs like “Gamma Knife,” “Evil Death Roll,” and “Robot Stop.” Nonagon doesn’t shy away from experimenting either. “Invisible Face” is odd and prog-rock-esque, while “Mr. Beat” calls back to the keyboard sounds of Paper Mâché. The flow of the record is pristine and contains their strongest set of songs since Mind Fuzz. The chemistry coming from the band is strong enough to notice on every track. Every member is getting their moment and space to fill. This album is a masterpiece and a true testament to their ability as musicians and songwriters.
Key Songs: Gamma Knife, Evil Death Roll, Robot Stop
Where to go next:
- If you want simpler garage rock, go up to 12 Bar Bruise.
- If you want a similar album with more story and fast songs, go down to Murder of the Universe.
- If you liked “Road Train,” and want something heavier, go down to Infest the Rat’s Nest.
Flying Microtonal Banana (2017)
In 2017, King Gizzard released five albums, all completely different from each other. The first was Flying Microtonal Banana, yet another change in sound for the band. On this record, the band plays with microtones, which are notes in between notes that are not found on traditional western scales. It sounds kind of middle eastern. In fact, microtones can even be heard on some Nonagon songs. But here, Gizzard uses it to their advantage, and crafts yet another classic. The record has a desert feel, each song flowing into the next with ease and keeping the same themes. The opener, “Rattlesnake,” is a long, drawn out song with long enough jams to remind one of “Head On/Pill.” But it also has this energy of a nonstop motorcycle ride through the desert. Similar tones can be heard in “Open Water,” with hypnotic drum beats and repetitious guitars. Banana is another fully realized Gizzard album. The themes are connected, and the musical tones are kept consistent throughout. While it relies on their jam side, a huge psychedelic influence can be heard on tracks like, “Sleep Drifter,” “Anoxia,” and “Nuclear Fusion.” Kenny-Smith gets a song on this record as well, “Billabong Valley.” The song deals with Mad-Dog Morgan and tells his tale through catchy hooks and a big psychedelic sound. This record set the tone that 2017 was going to be a great year for Gizzard and that it was.
Key Songs: Nuclear Fusion, Sleep Drifter, Billabong Valley
Where to go next:
- If you are loving the microtonal sound, go down to this record’s sequel, K.G.
- If you want more psych-rock songs like “Billabong Valley,” go up to Float Along- Fill Your Lungs.
- If you want more fun and straight-forward songs like “Doom City” and “Nuclear Fusion,” go down to Fishing for Fishies.
Murder of the Universe (2017)
After Banana, Gizzard brought back the narration of Eyes Like the Sky and fused it with the garage rock madness of Nonagon Infinity. Murder of the Universe is a concept album split into three chapters: The Tale of the Altered Beast, The Lord of Lightning v. Balrog, and Han-Tyumi and the Murder of the Universe. The record is very ambitious, 21 songs with many short-narrated pieces by Leah Senior throughout telling the story in each chapter. It isn’t all narration, however. Most of the full-length songs drawback on the fast-paced areas of Nonagon. In fact, the song “The Lord of Lightning,” retraces the same riffs as “People-Vultures” from Nonagon. Musically, Murder is very noisy, repetitive (in a good way), and catchy. The riffs are intricate and loud, the drumbeats are impressive, and when the harmonica comes in on any song, it is a welcome addition. This record holds a very big place in the “Gizzverse” with the introduction of an important character, Han-Tyumi, the Confused Cyborg. The story of the album is gripping and the music accompanying it drives it forward even more. This record contains some of the band’s best songs like, “Digital Black,” and “Murder of the Universe.” But the best song on the album is, “Altered Beast IV,” a culmination of all the songs before in one long, heavy jam. However, if the narration becomes too much for you, then this record might be a bit challenging. But the music and instrumentation of Murder is worth the listen alone.
Key Songs: Altered Beast IV, Murder of the Universe, Digital Black
Where to go next:
- If you liked the story and narration, go up to Eyes Like the Sky.
- If you detect a hint of metal influence, go down to Infest the Rat’s Nest.
- If this album wasn’t for you or if you’ve already heard Eyes Like the Sky, go back to your previous record, or I’m in Your Mind Fuzz.
Sketches of Brunswick East (2017)
Quarters! and Paper Mâché Dream Balloon proved that Gizzard was able to pursue jazz music and put their own spin on it. Sketches of Brunswick East is their third record of 2017 and a collaborative jazz fusion album with Los-Angeles based artist Mile High Club. The title is a reference to Miles Davis’s album Sketches of Spain. Some Fans would consider Sketches to be an underrated record, and they’re not wrong. Recorded in only three weeks, the record is a drastic change in sound for the band, especially after Murder of the Universe. The sound of the record is very laid back and smooth. The production is extraordinary, sounding very loose and dreamy. You can even hear the sounds of East Brunswick in the background, trains, cars, animals, and people talking. Bass player, Lucas Skinner, sticks out exponentially here and gets many moments to shine. Standout songs include, “Countdown,” which utilizes odd time signatures and a falsetto vocal, while “Tezeta ” swings and plays with robot voices (Han-Tyumi?). “The Spider in Me,” provides more funk while keeping its jazz vibe. The drums are consistent and there are a lot of interesting ad-lib moments as well. While it is a great record, it was really hard to get into at first due to how different it is from most Gizzard records. The songs are very different from their usual style, but it becomes appreciated with time. If anything, Sketches is the album that proves how diverse this band really is and is a truly underrated classic in their 16-album discography.
Key Songs: Tezeta, Countdown, the Spider in Me
Where to go next:
- If you like the chill production and vibe of the album, go up to Paper Mâché Dream Balloon.
- If you have already heard Paper Mâché Dream Balloon, head back to your previous record or I’m in Your Mind Fuzz.
The fourth record of 2017 happens to be one of the greats. Polygondwanaland is their prog-rock record and also a key album for the “Gizzverse.” It’s another concept album and divided into four parts: Crumbling Castle (Track 1), Polygondwanaland (Tracks 2,3,4), Horology (Tracks 5,6,7), and Tetrachromacy (Tracks 8,9,10). Polygondwanaland features quieter vocals, more realized themes, and a larger emphasis on the music. Musically, this record is insanely dense and a true testament to how great of musicians they all are. It opens with a nearly 10-minute track, “Crumbling Castle.” The song experiments with polyrhythms, odd time signatures, and unusual song structures while also being insanely catchy. The synth work on “Inner Cell,” and “Loyalty” is gripping and contains some of the best builds they have ever done. It all leads to “Horology,” the final track in the Horology section of the album. It’s a trippy song, with complicated beats and guitar lines, but the story and vocals never get tiring. But the true heroes of the album are drummers, Eric Moore and Michael Cavanagh. Some of the craziest musically mind-wrapping beats can be found on almost every single track. The guitar work is also more intricate than it has ever been. There is barely any repetition, it almost constantly changes. Polygondwanaland is right up there with Nonagon in quality, but it is definitely a challenging album, for the band and for the listener.
Key Songs: Inner Cell, Loyalty, Horology
Where to go next:
- If you liked the musicality of this record, go up to Murder of the Universe.
- If you have already heard Murder of the Universe, go back to I’m in Your Mind Fuzz.
- If you enjoyed this record, then congratulations, you are now a prog-rock fan, check out other prog bands like Yes, Rush, and King Crimson!
Gumboot Soup (2017)
The fifth record of 2017 almost didn’t come out that year, releasing on Dec. 31, 2017. But King Gizzard promised five records in 2017, and they delivered. Gumboot Soup is very similar to Oddments, in that it’s a compilation of songs that didn’t make it onto any of the other four 2017 records. However, the songs provide a wide variety of sounds and somehow manage to fit cohesively. Microtonal songs appear like “Greenhouse Heat Death,” and “All is Known.” But the record also contains songs that wouldn’t fit on any of the four. “Superposition,” one of their most underrated cuts, is a mostly electronic song with excellent production, and “I’m Sleepin’ In” sounds as if it could fit on Float Along – Fill Your Lungs. But the best song on the record, and foreshadow of what’s to come, “the Great Chain of Being,” is a heavy stoner-rock banger that came out of nowhere. Immediately after hearing it, fans knew that a heavy metal album was imminent. Overall, Gumboot Soup isn’t the best of 2017 nor of their discography. But it’s a strong collection of great Gizzard songs with no place to go, making for an enjoyable listen.
Key Songs: The Great Chain of Being, Superposition, I’m Sleepin’ In
Where to go next:
- If you enjoyed “The Great Chain of Being,” then, by all means, go down to Infest the Rat’s Nest.
- If you like the idea of a varied album with songs thrown together, go up to Oddments.
Fishing for Fishies (2019)
Gizz took 2018 off from releasing more albums, which was much needed after putting out five albums in the last year. Releasing in April 2019, Fishies is their bluesy record, with a boogie-oogie kind of vibe. It’s very diverse musically with the acoustic title track, blues heavy “Boogieman Sam,” rocker “Plastic Boogie,” psych-rock jam “This Thing,” and electronic auto-tuned, “Cyboogie.” It’s one of their better-produced records like Sketches, very tight and grooving. It isn’t too out there either, opting for a more accessible sound with songs like “The Bird Song,” and “The Cruel Millennial.” However, they still experiment with eccentric sounds like on “Real’s Not Real,” and “Acarine.” Fishies thematically has a strong environmentalist message, which was always present in their music but not to this extent. Mackenzie once said about the album to Rolling Stone, “This is a collection of songs that went on wild journeys of transformation.” This is how the album’s flow feels, starting from “Fishing for Fishies,” going to “Cyboogie” is a complete transformation in sound and style. It’s an interesting record in their discography, very fun yet reflective on our world and environmental practices with a strong emphasis on boogie instrumentally. Also, if you’re a fan of harmonica, this record is probably the best harmonica playing from Gizzard.
Key Songs: Plastic Boogie, This Thing, Real’s Not Real
Where to go next:
- If you want a similar sound but more psych-rock, go up to Float Along – Fill Your Lungs.
- If you’re looking for something more focused than this, but still intricate musically, go up to Polygondwanaland.
Infest the Rat’s Nest (2019)
“The Great Chain of Being” proved that Gizzard was capable of making a metal album. Infest the Rat’s Nest blew all expectations out of the water and delivered on fusing the Gizzard sound with thrash metal. While musically the opposite of the previous album Fishing for Fishies, the environmentalist themes are still present, but way more extreme. Rat’s Nest is a loose concept album, telling the tragedy of Earth being destroyed from global warming, and the rich and privileged moving to Mars while the poor and underprivileged perish on Earth. A very heavy metal concept. The themes and lyrics are spot on, and hearing Mackenzie scream his head off is an absolute joy. But the real stars here are the instrumentals. They explore all sides of metal from thrash (“Planet B”), to stoner metal (“Superbug”) and power metal (“Perihelion,” “Venusian 2”). You can hear Metallica, Slayer, and Sleep influences throughout, yet it sounds entirely Gizzard. Even the harmonica shows up in “Mars for the Rich,” providing plenty of texture. Although it was made by three members, they’re still playing off each other well and you can tell that they had a vision for what this album would be, and they achieved it. Not a bad song shows up here being enjoyable from start to finish, providing quality songs like, “Planet B,” “Perihelion,” and closing track, “Hell.” If you’re a metal fan, this is the album to listen to!
Key Songs: Self-Immolate, Hell, Mars for the Rich
Where to go next:
- If you’re looking for something that still rocks but with more psych, go up to Nonagon Infinity.
- If you want a record with heavy metal influence, but with a story and spoken word, go up to Murder of the Universe.
For their 16th album, Gizzard decided to take us back to the long-awaited microtones. Where Banana was consistent in tone and style, K.G. goes in plenty of different directions, dark themes, love songs, and an in depth look at the griefs of touring. “Automation,” fuses microtones with a Rat’s Nest style, while “Minimum Brain Size” plays with prog-rock instrumentals. But the diversity doesn’t stop there, “Instrasport” is a Turkish club rager, going in a direction they have never been before., taking the fans by storm. “Ontology” keeps the middle-eastern tones alive and flips them on their head with King Gizzard’s psych-rock sound. The record also has a soft side, however. “Honey” is a sweet microtonal love song and “Straws in the Wind,” brings back the sitar for a foreboding 2020 recap. Their lyrics improve heavily on K.G., becoming more descriptive and diverse. But while the diverse song collection and improved lyrics work, for the most part, it’s hard not to notice that some of the songs here are a bit forgettable. What’s not forgettable, however, is the Black Sabbath worshipping, “The Hungry Wolf of Fate.” They brought back the metal tones and mixed it with microtones!
Key Songs: Intrasport, Ontology, the Hungry Wolf of Fate
Where to go next:
- If you enjoyed “Automation” and “the Hungry Wolf of Fate,” go up to Infest the Rat’s Nest.
- If you somehow haven’t seen Flying Microtonal Banana yet, go there.
- If you liked how diverse this album was, go to up Gumboot Soup or Oddments.
If you’re done:
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard is the hardest working band today. Their constant effort to put out music is appreciated by fans and musicians alike. Across their 16 records, they have something for everyone. They also have plenty of live albums on Bandcamp to listen to, but their official live album Chunky Shrapnel is by far the best. If you have yet to listen to King Gizzard, do that now.
Images: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Featured Image: Rolling Stone Australia
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