The sixth full-length from The Murlocs, Rapscallion is a coming-of-age novel in an album form, populated by an outrageous cast of misfit characters: teenage vagabonds and small-time criminals, junkyard dwellers and truck-stop transients. Over the course of 12 hypnotic and volatile rock-and-roll songs, the Melbourne-based five-piece dream up a wildly squalid odyssey partly inspired by frontman Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s own adolescence as a nomadic skate kid. The most magnificently heavy work yet from The Murlocs, the result is an endlessly enthralling album equally steeped in danger and delirium and the wide-eyed romanticism of youth.

Self-produced by the band in the early stages of the pandemic, Rapscallion was recorded remotely in the home studios of Kenny-Smith (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Callum Shortal (guitar), Matt Blach (drums), Cook Craig (bass), and Tim Karmouche (keys). In a departure from the effusive garage-rock of 2021’s Bittersweet Demons, the album’s musical DNA contains strains of stoner-metal and the more primitive edge of post-punk, thanks largely to Shortal’s influence as the primary composer on Rapscallion. But despite that darker and more formidable sound, The Murlocs instill every track with the freewheeling energy they’ve brought the stage in supporting such acts as Pixies, Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks, Ty Segall, and Thee Oh Sees. (A truly dynamic musical collective, all five members also perform in other bands: Kenny-Smith and Craig each play in the globally beloved King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Shortal plays guitar in ORB, and Karmouche and Blach are frontmen for Crepes and Beans, respectively.)

Naming Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian among his inspirations in crafting Rapscallion’s high-tension narrative, Kenny-Smith deliberately challenged himself to stray from the more introspective songwriting of The Murlocs’ past work. “The way we worked was Cal would send off demos for each of us to build from, which allowed me to really focus on the lyrics and write more conceptually,” he says. “I ended up coming with a story of a teenage boy who’s the black sheep of his family, and one day decides to leave home and travel to the city on his own. It was a nice way to escape at a time when we couldn’t go anywhere, and made me feel like I was a feral kid again.”

After kicking off with “Subsidiary” and its brooding fantasy of breaking free, Rapscallion charges into the gloriously raw intensity of “Bellarine Ballerina”: a three-minute epic that finds its protagonist hitchhiking on Australia’s Bellarine Highway, where he’s soon picked up by a truck driver. From there, Rapscallion follows its nameless hero through an ill-fated adventure as a train stow-away and a violent encounter at a truck stop, then arrives at the lonesome reverie of “Compos Mentis.” “At this point he’s woken up in an abandoned junkyard, and he’s starting to question his own mental health,” Kenny-Smith explains. The most tender moment on Rapscallion, “Compos Mentis” sets that unraveling to a delicate piece of psychedelia, lit up in sweetly lilting harmonies and luminous electric piano. Within the next few tracks, our hero has fallen in with a gang of young bandits—a turn of events that leads into to “Virgin Criminal” and its frenetically giddy, fuzzed-out account of his initiation into their crew. “It’s about him doing his first crime, ripping off a convenience store, and getting off on the thrill of being an outlaw,” says Kenny-Smith. Later, on “Wickr Man,” Kenny-Smith’s voice slips into an irascible drawl as he narrates a sordid moment in the burgeoning love affair between the protagonist and a fellow criminal called Bowlegged Peg. “He and Peg have developed some habits together, and ‘Wickr Man’ is the two of them waiting to hear back from their dealer—you can sense that they’re starting to treading on some very thin ice,” says Kenny-Smith. By the time Rapscallion closes out, Peg has lost her life to an overdose, leaving the lead character alone and shattered but graced with a newfound wisdom about the ways of the world.

For The Murlocs, the making of Rapscallion marked both a major creative leap and a welcome reminiscence of their own youthful exploits. “As a kid I was out the door as soon I could, just chasing new experience, and it felt good to look back on all these wonderful memories of that time—although there were certainly a lot of very dicey moments too,” says Kenny-Smith. “It was exciting to write in a different way rather than coming up with 12 songs about my anxieties, to live vicariously through that character and get back to a feeling of exploration. I hope when people hear the album they really dig deep into the world of the story we’ve created, and it gives them that same sensation of traveling into the unknown.”

News

The Murlocs Keep Glam-Psych Sounds Rolling On For Sold-out Crowd in Portland, OR (SHOW REVIEW)
Glide Magazine

“Opening with the punk-blues intensity of “Living Under a Rock,” the band put forth an immediate wave of energy that set the tone for everything that would follow. As one might expect, much of the set focused on Rapscallion. “Virgin Criminal” and “The Royal Vagabond” each tapped into the band’s droning jangle pop with the latter seeing Ambrose Kenny-Smith bust out his harmonica for a solo finale”

The Murlocs Unleash Electrifying “Living Under a Rock” (Live at the Forum
Vents Magazine

Melbourne’s 60’s tinged psych-rock punks The Murlocs brought their outrageous live show to euphoric crowds at LEVITATION festival last weekend and will perform at Red Rocks Amphitheatre tomorrow alongside King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard with whom they share several band members. In celebration of their national headlining fall tour kicking off a week from today, the band has unleashed the “Living Under a Rock” (Live at the Forum) video.  The electrifying video gives fans and critics an early taste of their explosive live performance.

Watch The Murlocs Perform “Living Under A Rock” Live At The Forum
Wildfire Music + News

“Melbourne’s 60’s tinged Psych-Rock outfit The Murlocs recently played at Levitation and will perform at Red Rocks Amphitheatre today alongside King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard with whom they share several band members. In celebration of their national headlining Fall tour kicking off soon, the band has unleashed the “Living Under a Rock” (Live at the Forum) video”

The Murlocs’ Ambrose Kenny-Smith Talks Red Rocks, ‘Rapscallion,’ & New Directions
The Aquarian

“Australian-psych rockers The Murlocs have steadily accrued a dedicated following over the past decade and have largely stepped out of obscurity and into the indie spotlight. With six studio albums and a rigorous touring schedule – including tours with fellow Melburnians King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Uncle Murl are about to embark on a headlining U.S. tour. They glimmer on stage and riff around gloriously. We chatted with the Murlocs’ lead vocalist, harmonica player, percussionist, keyboardist, guitarist, and all around mastermind, Ambrose Kenny-Smith, before they hit the road”

“Living Under A Rock” By The Murlocs
Northern Transmissions

“Australian psych-rock band, The Murlocs will perform at Red Rocks Amphitheatre tomorrow alongside King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard with whom they share several band members. In celebration of their national headlining fall tour kicking off a week from today, the band has unleashed the “Living Under a Rock” (Live at the Forum) video. Frontman Ambrose Kenny-Smith shares, “Some people live a sheltered life by choice and some people are born into it. ‘Rapscallion’ has had enough of living under a rock. It’s time for a fresh start.”

The Murlocs release live video, announce Reddit AMA
Full Time Aesthetic

“Fresh off of performaning at LEVITATION in Austin and with a show at Red Rocks Amphitheater with King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard (with whom they share several members) tonight, 60s psych twinged punk band, The Murlocs, are kicking off their headlining North American tour with a bang and bringing their energetic and outrageous live show on the road, heading to Philadelphia on 11/7 and criss crossing the continent over the next three weeks”

The Murlocs’ Tour Bus Playlist Featuring The Modern Lovers, Randy Newman, and Willie Nelson
Bandsintown

“The Melbourne-based band has put out five studio albums, but their latest is perhaps the most impressive both in music and creativity. Rapscallion, which was released on September 16th on ATO Records, is a 12-track coming-of-age novel in album form. It depicts a wildly squalid odyssey featuring various peculiar characters, partly inspired by frontman Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s own adolescence as a nomadic skate kid. The band self-produced the album at their home studios during the pandemic which helped maintain their DIY approach while applying darker, more primitive themes to their music. Kenny-Smith said that he hopes “when people hear the album they really dig deep into the world of the story we’ve created, and it gives them that same sensation of traveling into the unknown.”

The Murlocs: Rapscallion [Album Review]
The Fire Note

“Rapscallion touches down in a wide spectrum of rock musical genres that nicely harnesses their energy. The tempos can be up or down, but The Murlocs completely control your experience here that will leave a lasting impression. At the end of the day, sometimes you just want a rollicking rock n’ roll record that is pick up and play. Rapscallion from The Murlocs is that album!”

New Music Reviews (09/19)
KEXP

This Australian band’s sixth album is a solid set of ‘60s-steeped garage-rock inflected with psych-rock, post-punk and other styles, combining fuzzy guitars, keyboards, energetic rhythms, occasional harmonica and catchy song hooks

The Murlocs Share New Single and Video for “Bellarine Ballerina”
Under The Radar

Melbourne psych punk greats The Murlocs are back this week with a new record, Rapscallion, arriving September 16th via ATO Records. Recorded over the pandemic, the record sees the band diving into their stoner metal and hard-edged post punk influences, tracking misfit coming-of-age stories inspired by frontman Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s youth as a skate kid.

The Murlocs Debut “Bellarine Ballerina” Video
Concert Addicts

This Friday, September 16, Melbourne’s 60’s tinged psych-rock punks The Murlocs will release their brand new studio album Rapscallion via ATO Records. Strapped with fuzzy guitar licks, feverish bass and psychedelic brightness, it is a 12-track coming-of-age novel in an album form. Today, they share the final single from the collection, “Bellarine Ballerina,” alongside a music video created by Guy Tyzack

Next Week in Music | Sept. 12-18 • The Short List: 17 Titles You Want to Hear
Tinnit

“The sixth full-length from The Murlocs, Rapscallion is a coming-of-age novel in an album form, populated by an outrageous cast of misfit characters: Teenage vagabonds and small-time criminals, junkyard dwellers and truck-stop transients. Over the course of 12 hypnotic and volatile rock ’n’ roll songs, the Melbourne five-piece dream up a wildly squalid odyssey partly inspired by frontman Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s own adolescence as a nomadic skate kid. The most magnificently heavy work yet from The Murlocs, the result is an endlessly enthralling album equally steeped in danger and delirium and the wide-eyed romanticism of youth.”

Love, Death And Trucker Speed: The Murlocs Get Adventurous On Rapscallion
Spin

When your primary band has released 20 studio albums in 12 years (with three more to come in the next six weeks), it seems a bit preposterous to also have a side project with five albums and two EPs of its own. Such is the state of affairs for ever-prolific King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard multi-instrumentalists Ambrose Kenny-Smith and Cook Craig, whose sixth album with the Murlocs, Rapscallion, arrives Sept. 16 on ATO Records.

Review: The Murlocs – Rapscallion
Nanobot Rock

If you haven’t started to pay attention to the Australian music scene this is your heads up. Whatever is going on within the confines of the country is shaping a musical landscape that cannot be ignored any longer.

THE MURLOCS’ AMBROSE KENNY-SMITH ON NEW ALBUM, RAPSCALLION: “I WAS HAVING A LOT OF FUN REMINISCING ABOUT GROWING UP SKATEBOARDING”
Gimmie Zine

The Murlocs’ upcoming new album Rapscallion sees them forging into new territory with a playful mix of drama and effervescence as they give us a loosely conceptual coming-of-age story of searching, love, loss, independence and belonging. There’s effortlessly catchy garage-rock groovers that we’ve come to love from The Murlocs, along with detours into chaotic heavy moments and unabashedly cool drifts into fruitful synth work that will pleasantly surprise listeners.

All The New Albums Coming Out In September 2022
Uproxx

Keeping track of all the new albums coming out in a given month is a big job, but we’re up for it: Below is a comprehensive list of the major releases you can look forward to in September. If you’re not trying to potentially miss out on anything, it might be a good idea to keep reading.

THE MATINEE ’22 V. 106 – LIZZIE REID, MADELINE FINN, ALVVAYS, YEAH YEAH YEAHS, THE MURLOCS, GAWJUSS, ANNA MIEKE, SLANEY BAY, BELLS LARSEN
The Revue

Why We’re Digging It: Australia has no shortage of great bands with outstanding songwriters, which explains why The Murlocs have and currently are touring with King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and have a solid following across the world. Ambrose Kenny-Smith, Cal Shortal, Cook Craig, Tim Karmouche, and Matt Blach are not the types to take shortcuts, choosing instead to use every second to entertain and provoke. With “Compos Mentis”, they deliver a slice of Americana, southern-rock made for road trips.

The Murlocs Shares Video For Latest Single ”Compos Mentis”
Ghettoblaster

Melbourne’s 60’s tinged psych-rock punks The Murlocs showcase their softer side with new “Compos Mentis” single & video. Speaking with FLOOD which debuted the track, frontman Ambrose Kenny-Smith explains: “After a long day of truck stop fights, hitchhiking and getting kicked off trains, our beloved rapscallion protagonist decides to spend the night in an abandoned junkyard. Finding peace within the garbage that surrounds him, he begins to question his purpose in life and whether or not he’s in control of his own mind.”

@skopemag news – thursday – august 11, 2022 @ 6 am est
Skope Mag

Today, Melbourne’s 60’s-tinged psych-rock punks The Murlocs (including members of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard) have shared “Compos Mentis,” the second single from their upcoming album Rapscallion, which is set to release on Sep 16 via ATO Records. The track, which was debuted by FLOOD Magazine this morning, shows the band’s softer side and plays into the introspective story-book feel of the record.

Midweek Mixtape | 120 Songs That Just Keep Getting Better (Side 1)
Tinnitist

Some days are better than others. Today is so great it’s almost ridiculous. In fact, if you don’t fall in love with at least 20 of these new singles, videos, cover tunes, remixes and unburied classics, I seriously think there might be something wrong with you. As always, there are dozens of gems here you can’t dig up anywhere else. Your Tinnitist-approved tracks are tagged with

NEW VIDEO: THE MURLOCS SHARE SLOW-BURNING AND PENSIVE “COMPOS MENTIS”
The Joy Of Violent Movement

The Murlocs’ sixth album Rapscallion is slated for a September 16, 2022 release through ATO Records. Self-produced by the band during the early stages of the pandemic, Rapscallion‘s 12 songs were recorded in the home studios of the band’s Kenny-Smith, Shortal, Blach, Cook Craig and Karmouche. Conceived and written as a coming-of-age novel in album form, the album’s material is partly inspired by Kenny-Smith’s adolescence as a nomadic skate kid.

33 New Songs Out Today
Brooklyn Vegan

“After a long day of truck stop fights, hitchhiking and getting kicked off trains, our beloved rapscallion protagonist decides to spend the night in an abandoned junkyard,” says Murlocs frontman Ambrose Kenny-Smith.

VIDEO: The Murlocs Debut ‘Compos Mentis’ Video
Broadway World

Melbourne’s 60’s tinged psych-rock punks The Murlocs showcase their softer side with new “Compos Mentis” single & video.
Speaking with FLOOD which debuted the track, frontman Ambrose Kenny-Smith explains: “After a long day of truck stop fights, hitchhiking and getting kicked off trains, our beloved rapscallion protagonist decides to spend the night in an abandoned junkyard. Finding peace within the garbage that surrounds him, he begins to question his purpose in life and whether or not he’s in control of his own mind.”

The Murlocs Find Peace Within the Garbage in Video For New Single “Compos Mentis”
Flood

While Austin has long been keeping things weird with a healthy psych-rock scene, the Australian city of Melbourne has been creeping up as the psych capital of the world in recent years. Although The Murlocs came up at the same time as groups like The Black Angels and Night Beats, the band has consistently been winning over more listeners as they benefit from the wild success of groups like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, with whom they have overlapping members.

Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – July 19
Riff Magazine

The Murlocs, “Virgin Criminal” — The start of a life of crime is chronicled in The Murlocs’ ’60s-inspired psychedelic punk rock tune from their next album, Rapscallion, due Sept. 16. Frontman Ambrose Kenny-Smith describes the song as being about the protagonist breaking his first crime and getting off on the thrill of being an outlaw.

NEW AUS MUSIC PLAYLIST: Our Favourite Tunes Of The Week
Music Feeds

Music Feeds’ New Aus Music Playlist is updated once a week with all of our favourite Australian releases from the preceding seven days. This week’s playlist features the first taste of The Murlocs’ upcoming album, Rapscallion, Anna Lunoe’s latest rave-bait, alt-pop excellence from Keelan Mak, Eluera, Northeast Party House’s ZHR and loads more.

NEW VIDEO: THE MURLOCS DIVE INTO A SEEDY AND GORY WORLD OF CRIME IN “VIRGIN CRIMINAL”
The Joy Of Violent Movement

With the release of their first four albums, the Melbourne-based outfit The Murlocs — King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Ambrose Kenny-Smith (vocals, guitar, harmonica) and Cook Craig (bass) along with ORB’s Cal Shortal (guitar) and Crepes and Beans’ Matt Blach (drums) and Tim Karmouche (keys)— established a reputation for crafting fuzzy and distorted psychedelic blues, which they supported as an opener for the likes of Gary Clark, Jr., Mac DeMarco, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Pixies, Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks, Wavves and of course, Kenny-Smith’s and Craig’s primary gig, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard — and as a headlining act, as well.

The Murlocs’ psyche nostalgia with “Eating At You”
Rolling Stone France

‘Hot in front! The Murlocs – the Melbourne band, led by Ambrose Kenny-Smith and Cook Craig of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – have shared their new single “Eating at You,” the final single from their upcoming fifth studio album, Bittersweet Demons , which will be released on June 25 (via the label Flightless Records).’

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