Lizard Music, the New Jersey-born rock quartet featuring Mikael Jorgensen of Wilco, Chris Apple, Craig Smith, and Erik Paparozzi, is set to release their first new music in more than 25 years with a new album, Arizone!, out October 8th on digital and CD and December 10th on vinyl via Omnivore Recordings.
In the summer of 2020, while the world was in lockdown, the Lizard Music text chain crackled to life as the idea of working on new music was unanimously embraced. The only “rule” set forth was that any idea presented had to be brand-new and created in the moment. The tracks flew back and forth from coast to coast over the next three months as each song morphed into existence during what could be described as a slow-motion improvisation.
And thus, Arizone! was born. The excitement of working together again on something positive during such a dark time, coupled with creatively reconnecting after a break of over two decades, is baked into this remarkable album.
The band’s three-decade history began in Atlantic Highlands, N.J. in 1989 when high-school friends Jorgensen and Paparozzi started learning and writing songs with a four-track cassette machine. Pillaging their parents’ record collections, the two discovered the musical universes of the Beatles, Captain Beefheart, XTC, the Meters and many more. Soon after, Chris Apple and Craig Smith joined the band, forming the classic lineup.
Their harmony-driven, surreal pop sensibility stood in stark contrast to the grungy, testosterone-addled sludge rock oozing all around at the time. After two self-released EPs, Lizard Music and Lobster T, Dave Allen (Gang of Four, Low Pop Suicide) signed them to his Los Angeles-based World Domination Records in 1993. The band released two LPs and toured extensively in the U.S. and U.K., opening for Pere Ubu and Yo La Tengo, before taking a hiatus in 1997.
Jorgensen moved to Chicago in 1998, and joined Wilco in 2002 before landing in Ojai, Calif. in 2012. In addition to his solo projects Quindar and Expandards, Jorgensen has worked with Ray LaMontagne, Stereolab, and the Mother Hips. Paparozzi moved to Los Angeles and is a member of Cat Power, a composer for RuPaul’s Drag Race and has worked with Brian Wilson, Denny Laine, the Monkees, and Lana Del Ray. Smith relocated to Pennsylvania, while Apple remained in the band’s native New Jersey, founding Little Rockers music school with his wife Jessie as well as playing bass with Joey Molland’s Badfinger and Latin Rock band deSoL.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the official video for the band’s first new single in almost three decades, “The Mixtape,” which is an autobiographical recollection of getting a junior-high mixtape — after waiting for months — containing British and American New Wave music. Steeped in nostalgia, the song indeed showcases the foundations of the band and their inspiration as a whole. In a way that is humorous and upbeat, the song takes a trip down memory lane with a frenetic, pop-infused rock and roll soundtrack. Funnily enough, it also draws from the real experience of getting your mixtape rejected when you think it totally kicks ass. With quick acoustic guitar strumming and a wonky synth, the song captures the excitement of young musicians thinking they are going to conquer the world. From the video, it is also clear that these guys are still having a ton of fun after three decades.
“It is a profoundly rewarding experience to work with people you know and trust. Lizard Music lurched into existence 30 years ago and you can hear the joy of these four old friends creating new music while having a ton of fun doing it.” —Mikael Jorgensen, Lizard Tapes
Arizone! will be out on CD and streaming services on October 8 from Omnivore Recordings. A full double vinyl release of the album is set for release on December 10 and available for pre-order now.