The members of King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard show off their fanciest footwork in the video for their new song “Hate Dancin’,” the lead single from their third album of this month, Changes, which arrives Oct. 28.
Filmed, edited and directed by John Angus Stewart in 2020 at the band’s Australian headquarters, the clip is the first taste of Changes, the genial, methodically composed, soul- and jazz-tinged follow-up to two consecutive jam-based albums, Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms and Lava and Laminated Denim. As he dips into the occasional falsetto, frontman Stu Mackenzie vacillates between retreating from the proverbial dance floor to eventually embracing its delights: “Just jokin’ / I love it / I was just kidding / I love it.”
Each of the seven songs on Changes are built around the same chord progression, a concept fairly common in jazz but unusual in the world of rock’n’roll. This block of music dates as far back as 2017 and represents the longest King Gizzard has ever worked on a project before actually releasing it.
“When Stu started to fiddle with these ideas, he was still trying to wrap his head around them, let alone us,” group member Joey Walker tells SPIN. “We booked some studio time to record the songs, which were potentially going to be the fifth of the five-album year in 2017, but it just wasn’t quite there for various reasons — maybe our technical ability or ability to know when to stop or when it was done. I just don’t think we were quite ready. They were put on the back-burner for a long time, until naturally Stu picked them up again. During the pandemic, we filled out the album a bit more and did some recording. This year, we finished it out on the road with some overdubs when we were in Europe. It’s an interesting one, because every time I think about playing it, literally my brain hurts. Just to re-enter those songs, going in cold, it’s really hard. Not being as confident at that level of theory, you really have to be all in.”
“It’s almost the opposite of what we’ve been doing with Ice, Death…” group member Lucas Harwood adds. “With that, each song is one key, and it’s heavily improvised. I’ve been loving playing those songs live, because you get into this zone where you don’t actually have to think that much. You can just kind of feel it and vibe off of each other. With these Changes songs, you have to concentrate really hard (laughs).”
Asked if this melodic constraint could have resulted in music that was, say, thrash-y or folk-y, Walker answers with a chuckle, “definitely not.” Says Harwood, “It definitely goes different places, but to me, it sounds like pop with jazz theory. None of these songs are really fast either, except for maybe ‘Gondhi,’ and I find that easier, because you have more time to think about the next note (laughs). It’s really cool that this record is being released next to Ice, Death… and Laminated Denim, because it’s almost the antithesis. It’s really structured and constructed. I think the fans are really going to like that as a contrast to these other really jammy records, which are great in their own right and very fun to play live.”
Beyond today’s new video, Gizzard is also teasing a separate short film, Sleeping Monster, with more information coming Wednesday (Oct. 19). The group will play its biggest North American headlining show to date on Friday at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in Queens, N.Y. and will wrap this leg of touring with the third of three “marathon three-hour sets” on Nov. 2 at Red Rocks outside Denver. All three are available for delayed streaming through Nugs.