Archive for king gizzard and the lizard wizard

Slacker Shack’s Top Ten Albums of 2017

Posted in Lists, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2017 by dc

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It seems a fair few years since people were muttering about the supposed death of the album. If streaming has changed anything it’s been an increase in the variety of music people consume nowadays and the choice available. If 2017 is anything to go by the album format is still very much the heartbeat of top quality music in my book.

Over the past couple of weeks as I’ve listened back to dozens of albums from the past year I’ve noticed how varied my favourite albums of the year seem to be. From the urban magpie brilliance of King Krule‘s ‘The OOZ‘ and the concrete post-punk commentary of Idles‘ ‘Brutalism‘, to the quirky folk songs of This Is The Kit‘s ‘Moonshine Freeze‘ and the fresh electronic sounds of Four Tet‘s ‘New Energy‘. It’s been a vast and kaleidoscopic year for music in all it’s forms.

Astonishingly, my current favourite band, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, ended up releasing five albums (FIVE??), and in doing so put the work rate of most bands to shame. I loved all five albums too (and all 5 would be in a top twenty). Their chokka-block year started with ‘Flying Microtonal Banana‘, followed by ‘Murder Of The Universe‘ and then, ‘Sketches of Brunswick East‘, a brilliant jazzy collaboration with The Mild High Club. Then as December progressed and it looked unlikely they’d follow through on their promise of five albums in a year, the brilliant ‘Polygondwanaland‘ popped up out of nowhere and just yesterday they capped things off with another absolute stunner in, ‘Gumboot Soup‘. I’m off to see them in May and it’s been years since I’ve been as excited about a gig.

So, enough gassing, what’s the Top Ten look like?

Like this…

Four Tet – New Energy
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Polygondwanaland
This Is The Kit – Moonshine Freeze
King Krule – The OOZ
Kendrick Lamar – Damn.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gumboot Soup
Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 3
Idles – Brutalism
Chad VanGaalen – Light Information
Spoon – Hot Thoughts

So, that’s mine, what’s yours?

Slacker Shack’s Top 20 Alt’ Tunes of 2017

Posted in Lists, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2017 by dc

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The world may have seemingly teetered on the brink of apocalypse now and again during 2017 but it’s been a pretty good year for music nonetheless. They often say that in times of bleak politics and social division great artistry shines, and whilst it may have been a fairly dull year at the cinema, it was a blockbuster year for TV and maybe even more so for music – or at least I like to think it was as I reminisce over the year gone by.

I love compiling a Top 20 list of tunes each year. I’ve done it since 2008 and it’s started to feel like a nice little time capsule collection and something that helps my middle-aged brain look back and absorb the year.

The ‘Slacker Shack Top Ten Albums of the Year‘ list will appear in the next day or two but in the meantime I want to jot down a handful of my musical highlights from the year:

  • The mighty King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard releasing four albums – and four great albums too – there are very few bands around at the moment who are trailing a blaze quite as fierce as these adventurous antipodeans
  • Another King – this time, Londoner, King Krule‘s album ‘The Ooze‘ – Gilles Peterson described it as the album that best sums up exactly where British music is at currently – it sucks in everything from classic London songwriters like Joe Strummer and Billy Bragg, to 90’s trip-hop, British soul and 2-tone – a real melting pot of brilliance
  • The return of Beck – whilst ‘Colors‘ is not as mindblowingly genre shaking as he’s been in the past, any Beck album beats 99.9% of the music it finds itself surrounded by and singles, Dear Life, Dreams and title track Colors were up there with him at his peak
  • The raw, fat-trimmed post-punk bellow of Bristol’s Idles and their cracking Brutalism album – there’s was something very 2017 about their sound and popularity
  • Four Tet’s ‘New Energy‘ album – it made me reminisce back to my days as a youth in the mid to late 90’s whilst simultaneously sounding like a modern blueprint for progressive electronica and IDM

There’s more of course – I could blather on for hours like a lonely Pitchfork writer with verbal diarrhoea. I could ponder why San Felu‘s ‘How To Build Windmills‘ EP didn’t get heard by as many folk as it’s excellence warranted. Or why I’ve not heard people waffle on about the brilliance of Wovoka Gentle, OCS, Landlady or Snail Mail as much as I should’ve. But I won’t 😉

So, without further-a-do here are Slacker Shack’s Top 20 Alt’ Tunes of 2017 – if you’re on Spotify, get streaming – if you’re not, sorry…

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – The Lord Of Lightning vs Balrog – new video

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , on June 4, 2017 by dc

Dungeons & Dragons-esque psych-rock. Bet their amps all go up to 11…

Slacker Shack’s Top Ten Albums of 2016

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2016 by dc

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As I get older and busier, I feel it is only right I take things a bit easier and just pick ten favourite albums this year. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a great year for music, it’s just that ten seems a bit less daunting than the usual twenty as I sit here arguing with myself.

2016 saw the return of hip hop legends A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul and great new albums from Slacker Shack favourites like Bon Iver, Future Of The Left, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Danny Brown, Aesop Rock and Cate Le Bon. All on fine, fine form.

As far as new artists go nothing’s cracked my top 10. There’s been loads of great music from debutants like Swedish producer sir Was (who’s sound is intriguingly described by his label, “as though D’Angelo and Prince threw David Crosby into the studio with Tame Impala and Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis”), 4AD’s latest quality find, Pixx, Toronto indie-rockers, Weaves and The Magnetic North with their excellent concept album, Prospect Of Skelmersdale. But nothing that quite squeezed in.

So, my top ten. I like to think it’s a vaguely eclectic mix (variety is the spice of life and all that). Firstly, there are brilliant sophomore releases from Morgan Delt (Phase Zero) and D.D Dumbo (Utopia Defeated). The former is a truly joyous album, all psychedelic curiosity and playfulness – a retroist summer of love album that gurgles and floats without ever seeming kitschy or forced.

Two British albums make the cut. Cate Le Bon returned with Crab Day, and I had the pleasure of seeing her live earlier in the year in Manchester. The album is a heady mix of Magic Band jerkiness, Kate Bush meets Nico wonderment and gloriously skew-whiff melodies, and I’ve had it on heavy rotation for months. The second British pick is The Future Of The Left’s latest, The Peace & Truce of Future of the Left. Lead Leftie, Andrew Falkous remains not only one of my favourite current lyricists but one of the best of the past 15 years. A sardonic wit underpinned by a chugging post hardcore malevolence, his band’s latest album, might not quite reach the dizzying heights of a couple of it’s predecessors, but it’s a fascinating and humorous growl of a record nonetheless.

As far as rock music goes the real stand out album this year was King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s psych-rock chug-a-thon, Nonagon Infinity. I’ve loved their last three albums (particularly last year’s Paper Mâché Dream Balloon), but Nonagon Infinity just turns the amps up to 11 from the off and stays there.

2016 been a good year for hip hop too. Albums by Kool Keith, De La Soul, Pusha T, Kendrick Lamar, Anderson Paak, DJ Shadow, Open Mike Eagle, clipping. and London’s very own, Skepta, were all whiskers away from my top ten. Three albums did make it onto the shortlist though.

Firstly, Danny Brown’s Atrocity Exhibition – an album that widens his sound palette further, pulling in everything from trap to free jazz, and from grime to dubstep – all of it smothered in Brown’s nasty rasp and hyperactive flow.

My next pick is the latest album from one of my favourite rappers of the past fifteen years, Aesop Rock. The Impossible Kid is probably Aesop’s most accessible album to date without losing any of the verbal dexterity and poetic wordplay that have graced his previous albums. This time though there’s less abstract thought and surrealism and something all together more autobiographical.

My final hip hop choice is A Tribe Called Quest’s glorious return, We Got it From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service. With the untimely death of founding member, Phife Dawg, the album was always going to come with a lump in the throat and a tear in the eye, but what gets you is the overwhelming joy of it all from start to finish. The people making this album clearly loved being involved, everyone just bounces and buzzes off each other and it acts as a mighty epitaph to Phife.

Penultimately, one album I’ve only really found and got into over the past month is Nicolas Jaar’s, Sirens. It’s a fairly sprawling affair but after a few listens it becomes a wide-eyed and cinematic landscape of an album. Cherry picking all kinds of influences it’s held together with a kind of electro-jazz wizardry. It thrills both the beard stroker and foot tapper in me simultaneously. Given a few more months of frequent listens and it might even have grabbed Slacker Shack’s coveted (pfft) top spot!

So, onto the winner – Bon Iver’s 22, A Million Slacker Shack’s album of the 2016. It was a far odder album than I expected. Something more experimental and abstract than I’d envisaged and in many ways it’s a beautiful album of opposites and gentle curveballs. Justin Vernon’s lyric’s are oblique and obtuse but there are pockets of tender, personal snapshots and warmth. Vernon even manages to make his heavily processed vocals sound touching and soulful like an alien Neil Young. Some reviewers have compared it in spirit to Radiohead’s Kid A and I can see the comparisons. Both have an electronic, experimental and alien approach but both have a real soulfulness and soft underbelly too. At times I’ve listened to 22, A Million on repeat, getting gently hypnotised by it all and lost in all the strange glitches and gurgles. I love it.

Bon Iver – 22, A Million

Nicolas Jaar – Sirens

A Tribe Called Quest – We Got it From Here… Thank You 4 Your service

Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid

Morgan Delt – Phase Zero

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity

Cate Le Bon – Crab Day

Future Of The Left – The Peace & Truce of Future of the Left

Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition              

D.D Dumbo – Utopia Defeated

King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard – Rattlesnake – new video

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , on November 16, 2016 by dc

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – People-Vultures – new video

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2016 by dc