RULERS OF THE IZZ
WHO DEM MURLOCS
If you’ve ever spent much time along the Victorian surf coast, you would know that it’s a pretty quiet place with not a whole lot going on – frankly, it’s dead boring. This makes it all the more surprising that it has served as the breeding ground for some of Melbourne’s most interesting bands. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, along with labelmates The Murlocs, are perhaps the two most well-known bands to emerge from the garage rock renaissance that’s been brewing in the region over the past four or so years. Always unpredictable and absurdly prolific, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are going from strength to strength. The band have released four LPS and two EPS since 2011, each remarkably different – where 2012’s snarling 12 Bar Bruise synthesised the best bits of San Francisco garage stalwarts Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall, 2013’s follow up Eyes Like The Sky, a spaghetti-western-influenced concept album, seemed to owe more to ‘60s instrumental rockers The Shadows. Album number three Float Along – Fill Your Lungs, released later that year, marked a dramatic evolution in the band’s sound: the album is funky as shit, sitar-laden and smoothly produced, alternating dreamy soul-inspired tracks with more insistent psychedelic rock. The band’s most recent record Oddments, released in March this year, combines all the elements that made their first and third records so compelling: some songs take the same forceful blown-out approach that made the former so vital, while others maintain the same groovy swagger introduced on Float Along. It’s shaping up to be a big year for the seven-piece, who are touring the United States for the first time in May, and are also
set to play the Iceland Airwaves festival in November alongside The Flaming Lips and Unknown Mortal Orchestra – exciting times! While not as experimental as King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, The Murlocs are far from boring – and although frontman Ambrose Kenny-smith also plays harmonica in King Gizz, they are definitely not a simple sideproject.
The Murlocs traffic in blown-out, jaunty blues rock that inhabits a sonic territory redolent of the brilliant Nuggets compilations released by Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye in the early ‘70s – it’s psychedelic rock ‘60s-style, with all the electric blues influence safely intact. Here, Kenny-smith’s mouthharp playing truly comes into it’s own, complementing the guitar work and his own wailing vocal style.
Produced by King Gizzard frontman Stu Mackenzie, the band’s debut album Loopholes continues where their two previous EPS left off (The Murlocs and Teepee EP, both released in 2012). Adding some extra reverb to their sound, the album features some slower-paced soulful jams alongside the sorts of rollicking blues-tinged bangers that they’ve built their reputation on – it’s music that begs you to smoke a few cones and dance jelly-legged around the lounge room. ‘Oddments’ by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and ‘Loopholes’ by The Murlocs are out now via Flightless/remote Control Records.
TWO BANDS RULE THE ROOST WHEN IT COMES TO GARAGE ROCK FROM GEELONG, KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD AND LABEL MATES THE MURLOCS. JAMIE WDZIEKONSKI MONTAGES THEM UP AND MICHAEL WALSH WONDERS HOW TWO GREAT BANDS CAN COME FROM SOMEWHERE 'SO BORING'...