By Luis Castilla
Accepting the limits of pandemic life, Australian rock band King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard released two new albums that perfectly encapsulate the quarantine experience.
Often regarded as one of, if not the most, prolific bands of the 21st century, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have released 16 studio albums since 2012 with almost each one tackling a new genre of music.
“Demos Vol. 1 +Vol. 2” and “Live in Asheville ’19” are now the latest additions to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s ever-growing discography. The band made the release on online music platform Bandcamp.
“Demos Vol. 1 +Vol. 2” is a collection of 28 demos from many of the band’s albums with some new instrumentals sprinkled throughout.
What makes “Demos Vol. 1 +Vol. 2” unique in the band’s discography, or Gizzverse as its fans have dubbed it, is it’s the first time the band has released anything so stripped-back. These tracks are raw and unpolished, but listening to the unfinished product provides a unique experience.
There are seven new instrumentals on this album and in true King Gizzard fashion, each is completely different from the last.
The artwork for “Demos Vol. 1 +Vol. 2” is, fittingly, a collection of unused sketches by Jason Galea, who has designed all of the band’s album covers.
“These are recordings which were never supposed to see the light of day, but here they are: loose as; sloppy as. Hopefully endearing. In truth, an insane amount of effort and love went into these songs and I feel buoyed by sharing them. I’ve shed my skin, I’m a butterfly, I’m on fire,” Stu Mackenzie the band’s frontman, said on Instagram.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s second release, “Live in Asheville ’19” is a live album recorded at New Belgium Brewing Company in Asheville North Carolina last year. Mackenzie said he found the recordings on an old hard drive.
The tracklist for this album is mostly made up of tracks from “Fishing for Fishies” and “Infest the Rats’ Nest,” as the band released these two albums earlier in 2019.
These releases are the skeleton of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s all-encompassing discography.
This is the fifth live album the band has released. Earlier this year, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard released “Chunky Shrapnel,” a live film and album. Last year, the band released three live albums on Bandcamp, with all proceeds going toward Australian fire relief.
During a time when concerts are impossible, listening to a live performance is a bit nostalgic.
While most humans on Earth struggle with living life as it used to be, it feels strangely appropriate that King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard release a handful of old demos, like a compromise between the rapid-fire releases fans are used to and the fact that such releases are impossible right now.
The double drop came on Bandcamp Friday, wherein Bandcamp waives its fees, allowing all money from sales to go directly to artists. This has been an ongoing event from Bandcamp since the pandemic began.