King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard released their latest LP, Nonagon Infinity on ATO Records April 29th, and fans have been freaking out ever since.
It's something like Frank Zappa meets Iron Maiden with doses of tongue-in-cheek mysticism and Japanese Tokusatsu TV shows from the 60s and 70s.
The psycho Aussie seven-piece is returning to New York City for three shows, and New Yorkers have been freaking out about that, too.
Monday's show opening for Mac DeMarco at Webster Hall has been sold out for ages. Tickets were $30 at face value, now they're going for over double that on resale sites.
Their headlining gig at Bowery Ballroom this Saturday with the Murlocs is sold out as well.
What was once a $16 ticket was going for $270, and now they're gone. New Yorkers' last chance is maybe the best option: a late show at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday at Baby's Alright, where tickets will be available at the door.
In the past King Giz has put on some unforgettable shows in that little room after an early set elsewhere, and if you can manage to get there directly after the Bowery show this weekend to get a good place in line-- you'll never forget it.
June 24th, 2015 was a prime example, but we'll return to that in a bit.
Take a listen to Nonagon Infinity and you may never forget that either.
Each of the album's nine tracks transition into every other track seamlessly. That is to say, you decide where it begins.
But it doesn't end. The last track ties into the first, as if the album is caught in an infinite loop.
They've released two music videos from the LP so far, and the second picks up where the first left off, just like the tunes. A complete video album for Nonagon Infinity is reported to be due out later this year and if it's anything like the "Gamma Knife" and "People Vultures" videos, it will rule.
I got the chance to speak with singer/guitarist/occasional flautist and frontman Stu Mackenzie over the phone while he was traveling through the Appalachian Mountains where we played Marco Polo with dropped calls.
We spoke about the origins and motivation behind the "circular songwriting" on Nonagon Infinity. We mused about whether Nonagon fits the bill for a concept album. We talked about the band's tendency to perform no matter what despite ridiculous obstacles.
The words "our consciousness" kept coming up in such a way that implied that the seven-piece band has some type of hive mind.
Last June, when the air conditioner broke down during their late show and the temperature inside the sold out venue felt like 130 degrees, they just kept going.
Nobody snitched or abandoned the gig.
"Oh yeah that really hot show," Stu said, "I remember that. None of us will forget that night."
While the band was doling out free water bottles on stage and the crowd busted into a "harmless" battle of ice cubes, Stu said, "You know when you get in the bath and you get all wrinkly fingers? I got that right now!" and sprawled his prune fingers at the crowd.
It was like a concert inside a sponge being microwaved, yet it was a highlight of the summer. And I see a lot of shows.
King Giz also performed a flood relief matinee set at Barracuda in Austin after the same weather system wiped out music festivals from Texas' Levitation to Louisiana's New Orleans Jazz Fest.
But neither mother nature nor technology nor the metaphysical kung fu sorcerers in their videos can stop this band.
Whereas other, lesser acts would tuck tail and move onto the next gig, Stu mentioned that "Not doing it [playing the show] is probably not something that's ever entered our consciousness. We would rather play. When we're touring we try to play everyday because, why wouldn't we?"
"Not doing it [playing the show] is probably not something that's ever entered our consciousness. We would rather play. When we're touring we try to play every day because, why wouldn't we?"
Now fans and critics have been drawing comparisons between Nonagon Infinity and the first four tracks on 2014's I'm In Your Mind Fuzz, which circle upon each other in a similar fashion.
Nonagon also marks King Giz's return to predominantly aggressive grooves in odd time signatures after 2015's acoustic and easy going Paper Mâché Dream Balloon.
Nonagon isn't exactly a concept album, though Stu grants that there are "overarching themes that encompass all the songs and tie it all together." Closer to the truth, Nonagon is a musical concept album more than it is lyrical concept album.
Mr. Mackenzie phrased it best, saying "the record works out very interconnected, more like nine chapters than nine songs."
He even clarified that the fifth track "Mr. Beat," does function like a breath in the middle of the album. It's something different over which the last half of the records pivots symmetrically.
The whole "circular songwriting" thing began in 2014 when the band had been working on intricate medleys for their wild and wacky live shows.
"Linking up songs, tying [together] parts of the show and referencing things from different songs inside other songs," is where they began forming the intent to compose an album in that manner. With I'm in Your Mind Fuzz, the first 20 minute portion of the record functions circularly.
Nonagon Infinity is like the fulfillment of a prophecy teased three albums ago with Mind Fuzz, and fans are adoring it. Stu mentioned that they haven't yet played the new album in its entirety live, and there's only small number of songs off the album that haven't been played live yet: including "Mr. Beat."
But there is evidence that King Giz's sets are no less amazingly designed today than they were two years ago when they began working in their latest songwriting techniques.
For example, the setlist from May 9th's show in Asheville, NC shows fan favorite "Hot Water" bookended by segments of Nonagon's first track, "Robot Stop."
All four circular tracks of Mind Fuzz were played in succession. "Evil Death Roll," which follows "Mr. Beat" on the record and in terms of symmetry acts something like the first track of the second half of the record, enveloped another new track, "Invisible Face," before they encored with the epic "Head On/Pill."
As I mentioned above, New Yorkers have been freaking out in advance of these three shows coming up this weekend.
If we can expect the band to produce more creative ways of reworking new and old material into an ever-changing show that's always badass, then we're freaking out for the right reasons.
Check out King Gizzard's new album Nonagon Infinity available on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon. Check for ticket availability for their Webster Hall and Bowery Ballroom shows in NYC this week.
Check out 20 Concerts You absolutely Have to Check Out This May in NYC.[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]