King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Murder of the Universe

In this day and age, I’m fairly certain that few bands could make a good concept album.  Fewer still could make one about a cyborg who wants to be fully human while interacting with a wizard attempting to stop a monster from destroying all of creation.  King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have done just that, however, with Murder of the Universe.

In case you’re unaware, this is KGATLW’s second album of the year, and they plan to release three more before the end of 2017.  The first was the excellent Flying Microtonal Banana and the third, a collaboration with Mild High Club called Sketches of Brunswick East is already available for pre-order.

Lyrically and sonically, Murder of the Universe links up well with Flying Microtonal Banana and the outstanding Nonagon Infinity.  It’s like they’re a complete trilogy, and some people have suggested the robot in Nonagon Infinity‘s lead track, “Robot Stomp,” is the cyborg caught up in the Murder of the Universe.  You can also hear the beginning of Nonagon Infinity‘s “People Vultures” on this new record (on “Some Context”).

The album’s intro, “A New World,” has a haunting poem spoken by a young woman describing the aftermath of a nuclear war and how even more horrible things are to come afterwards.  The first is an “Altered Beast (Part 1).”  The band comes out like an angry, roaring bear from of its den.  Parts 2, 3, and 4 of the song alternate with the three-part “Altered Me.”  The war’s survivor realizes he must adapt to the new environment and new beastly overlord to survive (or did the beast alter him for a dark purpose?).  Each song flows seamlessly into the next and KGATLW slays each part.  Guitars assault you from every direction but can still stop on a dime.  The double drumming is insane, and the synths bring a wild, weird 1980’s horror film vibe to the whole thing.

The survivor has become an altered beast by the end of “Altered Beast IV,” feeling nothing but still remembering his humanity and the idea of freedom.  He has lost the concepts of “Life / Death,” but still clings to the idea of revenge.  He finds a possible ally in “The Lord of Lightning” (in which lead singer Stu Mackenzie yells “Nonagon infinity!” a few times).  It’s a wicked song that would leave anyone who’d never heard a KGATLW song before dumbfounded.  It tells the story of an epic mystical battle yet the song blasts by you like something shot from a catapult.

“The Balrog” could be the altered beast, but he is certainly the Lord of Lightning’s enemy.  The song is a sonic fiery claw in your brain with crazy percussion and even wilder guitars.  “The Floating Fire” is all that’s left after the war between the Balrog and the Lord of Lightning.  The Balrog becomes “The Acrid Corpse” by the end of it, but only eternal darkness remains after the Lord of Lightning leaves.

The future is left to the few survivors who have become cyborgs in order to live in the new world.  It’s all “Digital Black” in this new time.  People have willingly given up their humanity (“We’ve turned our bodies into computers…”) in a quest for what they thought was perfection.  The bass riff in this is great, as is the hard-hitting beat throughout it.

One such cyborg is “Han-Tyumi the Confused Cyborg,” the survivor of the original meeting with the altered beast.  All he wants is to vomit and die.  He wants pain, stench, and some sort of end instead of his endless digitized illusion of life and pleasure.  His “Vomit Coffin,” a machine of his own design, might help him do it.  It’s another weird rocker mixed with digitized vocals and synth grooves as Han-Tyumi gives himself over to full digitization in order to free himself (and perhaps the world) from his living death.

The title track has Han-Tyumi expanding far beyond his physical form until he’s traveling at the speed of light and infiltrating every living cell and atom.  The only way for him to find death is to destroy everything, and he does it.

So, yeah, it’s not a happy-go-lucky record.  It’s a crazy concept record about a giant monster attack nearly destroying the world and changing the few survivors left into cyborgs who are left with an even bleaker world after a lightning god battles a giant fire monster, which drives one of the few cyborgs with any shred of humanity left to destroy the entire universe in order to free himself from an eternal life of cold, digital monotony.

Why haven’t you bought it by now?

Keep your mind open.

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“Welcome to an Altered Future,” has the cyborg, Han-Tyumi, describing how the digital age led to the death of the world thanks to artificial intelligence.  “We turned our bodies into computers,” the band’s lead vocalist, Stu, sings on

Comacozer – Kalos Eidos Skopeo

Australian psych / stoner rock powerhouse Comacozer have returned with another instrumental freakout – Kalos Eidos Skopeo.  The name of the album, of course, is a play on the words “kaleidoscope” or “kaleidoscopic,” suggesting that the music can be viewed / interpreted many different ways at once.

Take the opener, “Axis Mundi” (the cosmic / world axis), for example.  It begins with squawking guitars that sound like something from a slasher film soundtrack, but the track becomes almost a meditative piece by the time it reaches the five-minute mark thanks to skillful use of guitar reverb and subtle yet precise drumming.

“Nystagmus” might bring on its namesake (involuntary twitching of the eyes) with its cosmic jam guitars, slightly creepy bass, and doom metal drumming.  I love how “Hylonomus” (the name of the earliest known reptile) starts off sounding like it’s a spaghetti western song and then morphs into a Middle Eastern-flavored dream that might be happening in the mind of an ancient lizard dozing in the stump of a massive, dead tree.  It then morphs a second time into a great groove that belongs in a car chase sequence in a big budget film.  It’s great to hear Comacozer cut loose like this.

Need to knock out a wall in your house to expand your kitchen?  Don’t bother with sledgehammers.  Just play the closer, “Enuma Elish,” and aim your speakers in the right direction.  The song is about the Babylonian creation myth which involves – among other things – the god Marduk defeating the goddess of the oceans and creating the earth and sky out of her body.  Comacozer somehow manages to put all this epic stuff into one song (that last nearly 12 minutes).

You might have noticed that this album only contains four songs.  Don’t let that worry you, because all of them are around thirteen minutes in length.  It’s a full album of instrumental cosmic psychedelia and worth every penny.

Keep your mind open.

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Goodbye Honolulu – No Honey

Toronto garage / psych-rockers Goodbye Honolulu (Max Bornstein – drums, Fox Martindale – guitar and vocals, Jacob Switzer – guitar, bass, and vocals, Emmett Webb – guitar, bass, and vocals) bring infectious energy on their debut EP No Honey.

The EP is five fast tunes starting with the catchy, bass heavy hit “Back to Me” – a clever song about the lead singer realizing everyone he knows hates him.  He’s on a quest for the good ole days when he wasn’t such a hipster elitist, even if that means he’ll just be “drinking beer and smoking lots of weed.”

“Mother to a Brother” hits hard like a long lost Weezer B-side.  The guitars on “Where You Wanna Go” somehow blend garage rock with a bit of reggae chops during the verses.

The title of “Bloody Hands” seems appropriate for how hard the entire band plays on it.  It reminds me of early Wavves tracks with its slight surf-vibe.  “Typical” closes the EP with jangly psychedelia as the singer laments his routine of loser behaviors such as drinking too much and then calling a former lover.

No Honey is too short, but so are all good EPs.  They leave you wanting more.  Say hello to Goodbye Honolulu (Am I the first to make that bad joke?).

Keep your mind open.

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Elephant Stone’s “Remix of Fools” now available for pre-order.

Montreal’s Elephant Stone have a remix album of their Ship of Fools record, entitled Remix of Fools, now available for pre-order.  Two of the tracks are instant downloads once you pre-order the full album.

PRE-ORDER the EP today and get instant downloads of both singles: http://smarturl.it/RemixOfFools

WATCH ‘Love Is Like A Spinning Wheel’ (Xavier Boyer Remix) here: https://youtu.be/teO4UmdGLLQ

WATCH ‘The Devil’s Shelter’ (Young Galaxy Remix) here: https://youtu.be/_cpXRAjRT-U

Don’t forget to catch them on tour across Europe! Paris, Leicester and an Acid House Ragas (check out this live recording) London date just added!

9/16 Angers, FR @ Theatre le Quai TICKETS | FB EVENT (ES + Acid House Ragas classical set)
9/17 Paris, FR @ SuperSonic FREE/GRATUIT FB EVENT
9/18 Le Havre, FR @ McDaid’s Live FB EVENT
9/19 Leiden, NL @ Gebroeders Nobel TICKETS | FB EVENT
9/20 Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso TICKETS | FB EVENT
9/22 London, UK @ O2 Forum TICKETS | FB EVENT
9/23 Liverpool, UK @ Baltic Triangle TICKETS | FB EVENT (ES + Acid House Ragas)
9/25 Leicester, UK @ The Soundhouse
9/26 London, UK @ The Social FREE | FB EVENT (Acid House Ragas only)
9/27 Theossaliniki, GR @ Rover Bar 
9/28 Arta, GR @ Miles Bar 
9/29 Athens, GR @ Death Disco FB EVENT
12/3 Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups TICKETS
12/4 Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall TICKETS
12/5 Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line TICKETS
12/6 St Louis, MO @ Off Broadway TICKETS
12/7 Nashville, TN @ High Watt TICKETS
12/8 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl TICKETS
12/9 Raleigh, NC @ Stag’s Head Music Hall TICKETS
12/10 Richmond VA @ Capital Ale House TICKETS
Om shanti om,
Rishi

ORB releases new single, “A Man in the Sand,” ahead of upcoming album due October 6th.

ORB

‘A Man In The Sand’ single released today
New album ‘Naturality‘, released October 6th, 2017
Performing intimate shows this week
Announced on national ‘Gizzfest’ tour Nov-Dec 

Photo by Jamie Wdziekonski
Geelong’s finest proto-metal band ORB have released the latest single and video clip from their upcoming record ‘Naturality’ out October 6th, 2017 on Flightless Records.

‘A Man In The Sand’ is accompanied by an absolutely stunning clip created by Alex McLaren and starring ORB lead singer Zak Olsen with various stop-motion paper cut outs. WATCH NOW.

ORB are playing some very special intimate shows over the next few weeks to road test new material before they perform on the national Gizzfest run in November-December.

Old Bar, Melbourne: Saturday September 9th
With School Damage & Living Eyes

Freda’s, Sydney: Wednesday September 13th
With Natalie de Silver

Freda’s, Sydney: Thursday September 14th
With GodK

Bar Open, Melbourne: Friday September 15
With Planet Slayer & Girlatones

All shows are $10 on the door only.

PRESS RELEASE #1
ORB
have respawned from last year’s Birth with a further mutated slab of paranoid heavy metal, Naturality’, out 6 October, 2017 on Flightless Records (AUS) & Castle Face Records (USA). They bring the dread with a kinetic muscularity and a pleasantly evolving synthetic strangeness, as if having eaten the wrong part of the garden, familiar things start to seem less so. The effects of these spores on your modern brain, already clogged with a steady drip of zips and zooms, are freshly heard and confusing. ORB are young and fleet-fingered, and certainly know their way around a riff, but they bring everything into an almost alien clarity both blunted and futuristic. ORB, you see, have ripened quite radically, and Naturality finds them sprouting new appendages and clawing at their enclosures. This is potent stuff, be careful. Listen to the first single, “You Are Right” now. Pre-order Naturality here.

NATURALITY Tracklisting

1. Hazlewart

2. A Man In The Sand

3. You Are Right

4. O.R.B.

5. Immortal Tortoise

6. Mother Brain

7. Flying Sorcerer

8. Rainbow’s End

Rewind Review: The Moonlandingz – Expanded (2015)

The Moonlandingz started as a bit of a joke between Sean Lennon and members of Fat White Family when then created a fictional band. That band got so much hype that art turned into reality and the Moonlandingz released Expanded in 2015.

The EP starts with the instrumental “Exorcise Your Mammary Eyes,” which I think is code for “Stop staring at my tits.” A Sean Lennon “de-mix” of “Sweet Saturn Mine” (one of the Moonlandingz biggest hits so far) is next, and the slowing of what is normally a fast, brash tune only highlights the creepiness of the lyrics (which are mostly about having sex while you’re high). “Lay Yer Head Down on the Road” is almost a carnival midway song about getting high to escape reality, even though such an action might be a bad idea.

“Blow Football with J. Carpenter” sounds like something John Carpenter would brew up on his home synthesizers. It’s creepy and futuristic at the same time. “Psych Ersatz” is equally strange, mixing images of spooky things in the shadows with psychedelic loops, beats, and echoed vocals.

The EP ends with “The Man in the Lyfe Suite – Parts 1, 2, and 3.” It’s a wild trip full of fuzzed out guitars, frantic vocals, and rollercoaster beats and loops.

Expanded was a nice appetizer for their full-length follow-up, Interplanetary Class Classics (one of my favorite albums of 2017 so far). Both are well worth your time.

Keep your mind open.

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Dion Lunadon – self-titled

As the story goes, Dion Lunadon, known to many as the bass player and co-mastermind of A Place to Bury Strangers, was feeling restless during a break in APTBS’ tour schedule. So, he poured that restless energy into his first solo album and gave the world a frantic, wild piece of noise-punk that has some fun surprises in it.

The album’s opener is a raging piece against something we all have to deal with – “Insurance, Rent, and Taxes.” The song flattens you with squelching sound and Robi Gonzalez (who used to play for APTBS). Lundaon sings, “Much too young to get any older.” on the swinging “Reduction Agent.” Lunadon reveals his love of dirty juke joint blues in the track in both the rhythm and lyrics (“I’ve got the mark of death. It won’t leave me alone.”). The organ and bass on “Fire” burns as hot as its namesake, building to a crazy blender-like frenzy. “Com / Broke” is your new favorite song for trying to beat rush hour traffic. Just be careful, as Lunadon’s lyrics do involve car crashes, fires, and self-destruction.

“Hanging By a Thread” is a post-punk (and nearly instrumental) surprise with guitars that sound like industrial saws. The industrial grind continues on “Move,” and Lunadon’s vocals sounds like the Borg has assimilated him. The drums blast the doors off the song around the 1:30 mark and you’re holding on for dear life by that point.

“Eliminator” is fierce noise-punk, and “Howl” is about Lunadon’s joy in expressing himself in the spotlight. It’s like something Lou Reed blasted out of his speakers when getting ideas for Metal Machine Music.

Believe it or not, “Ripper” is a psychobilly cut and Lunadon and crew have a blast on it. I couldn’t help but grin through the whole track. “White Fence,” on the other hand, is more fine post-punk with weirdly angled guitars and desperate vocal stylings. The closer, “No Control,” brings Lunadon’s album back into weird psychedelia before a quick, distorted fade out leaves you gasping for breath.

This debut solo record is quite a statement. It’s powerful, brash, and even fun. More debuts need to be this self-assured.

Keep your mind open.

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Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor’s new album, “Lavender Blood,” due October 27th.

Detroit psych-rock trio Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor have announced the release date of their new album, Lavender BloodBandcamp page – October 27, 2017.  You can pre-order the album now and even hear one track, “Milky Water Jesus,” on their Bandcamp page.

The album was at least partially inspired by a trip the band took to Greece during which their plane depressurized during the descent.  The plane landed safely once pressure was stabilized, but an experience like that certainly changes your perspective on things.  Two of the album’s tracks are “Die Die Die” and “Sky Greece,” so it will be interesting to hear the music inspired by their near-death experience.

SOYSV also plan to tour to support the album, starting with shows in the Midwest and Canada.  Keep your eyes peeled for them.  They always put on a great set.

Keep your mind open.

ORB’s new album is due October 9th, but you can hear the first single now.

ORB ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM, NATURALITY, OUT 10/6 ON CASTLE FACE

LISTEN TO “YOU ARE RIGHT

An exciting development from under strange Australian lab-lights: ORB have respawned from last year’s Birth with a further mutated slab of paranoid heavy shred, Naturality, out 10/6 on Castle Face (Flightless in Australia). They bring the dread with a kinetic muscularity and a pleasantly evolving synthetic strangeness, as if having eaten of the wrong part of the garden, familiar things start to seem less so. The effects of these spores on your modern brain, already clogged with a steady drip of zips and zooms, are freshly heard and confusing. ORB are young and fleet-fingered, and certainly know their way around a riff, but they bring everything into an almost alien clarity both blunted and futuristic.  ORB, you see, have ripened quite radically, one can only think at an accelerated pace upon their travels with King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, and Naturality finds them sprouting new appendages and clawing at their enclosures. This is potent stuff, be careful. Listen to the first single, “You Are Right.”

“YOU ARE RIGHT” STREAM
https://youtu.be/cQymyuYSSlQ

PRE-ORDER NATURALITY
https://midheaven.com/item/naturality-by-orb

NATURALITY TRACKLISTING
1. Hazlewart
2. A Man In The Sand
3. You Are Right
4. O.R.B.
5. Immortal Tortoise
6. Motherbrain
7. Flying Sorcerer
8. Rainbow’s End

ORB Online:
https://soundcloud.com/orb-9
https://orband.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/ORB-475112932588695/

Thundercat – Drunk

I don’t remember where I first heard of Thundercat (AKA Stephen Bruner), but I remember being amazed by his bass guitar skills. His fingers seemed to move on his guitar frets as nimbly as a spider racing across a web. I caught him live at Mamby on the Beach earlier this year, keen on hearing him live. He didn’t disappoint. He wowed the crowd with a jazz-fusion set that was unlike anything you heard the whole weekend.

His newest album, Drunk, is also unlike anything you’ve heard in a long while. It blends electronica with jazz, yacht rock, funk, and even a bit of trip hop. “Rabbit Ho” is a quirky intro with Bruner’s falsetto singing about friends coming and going from his life before it slips into “Captain Stupido,” which is a collaboration with one of his best pals – Flying Lotus. “I feel weird,” Bruner sings, perhaps speaking for all of us, as he struggles to get through the odd feelings that surround everyday activities like brushing your teeth. His bass and Lotus’ loops and beats are a killer combo.

“Uh Uh” is an instrumental showcase of Bruner’s stunning bass skills. Seriously, it will leave you dumbfounded. I have no idea how he plays that fast and that well at the same time. “Bus in the Streets” has Bruner watching the world go by and not wanting to get involved in the rat race. “Won’t you leave some things a mystery?” he asks in this age of everyone Tweeting, hash-tagging, and posting everything at every moment.

“A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II)” is perhaps the greatest love song written to a cat of all time. Bruner sings about his admiration for his cat having nine lives, doing what he wants, and lying in the sun all day. “Everybody wants to be a cat. It’s cool to be a cat.” It has a groove as smooth as a cat’s walk, too.

“Sometimes you have to let it go,” Bruner sings in the opening of “Lava Lamp.” The song moves as languidly as its namesake. “I’m so tired. Where can I lay my head?” Bruner asks. It’s a common theme for a lot of us in these times. We’re so overwhelmed that we’re losing time to decompress. Flying Lotus comes back on “Jethro,” and brings wicked beats with him. “Show You the Way” has powerhouse guests Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald, and both men show they can still slay a microphone (and a keyboard, too, in McDonald’s case). It’s a glorious return of yacht rock that you won’t realize you missed until you hear this track.

The special guests keep on coming as Kendrick Lamar drops some guest vocals on “Walk on By” – another groovy, smooth track. “Blackkk” is the smoothest song about overcoming fear of death I’ve ever heard. “Tokyo” would be great to have in your ears as you cruise through the city. Bruner sings about eating too much fish, blowing all his money on anime, and wanting to stay another night there.

“Jameel’s Space Ride” has Bruner dreaming about driving into space as he’s pulled over by the cops. “Friend Zone” is a sharp dis on someone keeping him at arm’s length instead of embracing him as a lover. “I’m your biggest fan, but I guess that’s just not good enough,” he sings as his bass and Mono/Poly’s synths deliver dance beats. “Don’t call me, don’t text me after two a.m., unless you plan on giving me some, ‘cause I got enough friends,” Bruner sings. Ouch.

In contrast, “Them Changes” (the first single) has Bruner singing about heartbreak. “Nobody move there’s blood on the floor, and I can’t find my heart. Where did it go? Did I leave it in the cold?” His bass groove on it gets into your circulatory system and won’t leave until you dance. Flying Lotus’ beats sure help, too (as they do on the next track, “Where I’m Going”). “Drink Dat” is a slow jam for people starting to wind down after partying in the late hours. “Can’t open my eyes, girl, ‘cause I’m just too wasted,” Bruner sings between raps by Wiz Khalifa.

“Inferno” is the most psychedelic track on the record with Lotus’ trippy beats. “3AM” has Bruner still awake despite being (according to the theme of the album by now) drunk and tired. His bass groove in it is something Christopher Cross hears in his dreams. “Drunk” gets as wobbly as its namesake thanks to Bruner’s reverbed bass and Flying Lotus’ melted cheese synths.

“The Turn Down” is a witty song about the aftermath of too much partying. Bruner laments the mess in his house, the location of Captain Planet (who might be one of Bruner’s cats), and guests who have lingered too long. Pharrell teams up with him on the track, and Bruner has said multiple times that Pharrell’s contribution to the track blew his mind. He does nail it.

The album ends with the great, keyboard-driven “DUI.” Bruner’s night went from drowning his sorrows, to a fun time, to exhaustion, to annoyance, and then either back home, jail, or the grave.  “I’m so tired,” he sings again just before the keyboards turn into the sound of screeching tires and then fade into distortion. Did he crash? Did he make it home? Is he in the hoosegow?

Drunk is masterfully crafted, and the best-engineered and mixed album I’ve heard so far in 2017. It’s a stunning, eclectic piece of work. Only good things are ahead for Thundercat. Get Drunk.

Keep your mind open

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