GG King


GG King Esoteric Lore LP reissue

Originally released in 2011, GG KING’s seminal album is back in circulation with a freshly remastered pressing, courtesy of State Laughter. Esoteric Lore embodies a pivotal moment in the modern history of Atlanta’s punk scene. Emerging from the ashes of the CARBONAS, singer Greg King’s new endeavor would essentially redefine the city’s iconic sound, in which said group had played an outsized role in establishing in the preceding decade. Rather than continuing on in that vein of desperately gritty power-pop-inspired punk, GG KING were to incorporate influences from a far more broad swath of genres. Esoteric Lore is gloriously messy and experimental, at times motorik, noisy, and angular—only to snap back into a familiar mode of melodicism now cracked and damaged. Gurgling up in the cauldron are nods to 100 FLOWERS, WIRE, NEU!, the FALL, and too many more to mention without completely losing the plot. The album is bookended by unstructured soundscapes, and many of the seventeen tracks have endings that fade out, which makes the whole thing feel hazy, fluid, and experiential. Then there are moments where everything suddenly comes into sharp relief, like the whiplash inducing cover of JOHNNY MOPED’s “Incendiary Device.” While Esoteric Lore may be unresolved, it is just as vital as it was twelve years ago. Taking into account how massively influential GG KING has been to punk in the Southeastern US (and far beyond), it’s hard to think of this album as anything short of a bona fide classic.

GG King Evoker Tape 12″

I am super late to the GG KING party. I liked the CARBONAS but just never followed up on singer Greg King’s projects afterwards. My loss. If you are not a genre purist, get on this right now. GG KING takes the basic template of garage punk and cosmically melds it with the far reaches of the rock umbrella to create a delicious mix. Each song is basically an exercise in a new subgenre, and against all odds, it flows perfectly. Good songwriting is good songwriting. “Evoker 1 (Hellslime Radiating from the Basement)” opens the record with menacing bass, chopped windchime samples, dub drums, and ominous German spoken word, which leads right into “Evoker 2 (Circling Starmount),” a blistering, WEAKLING-style black metal assault, complete with blastbeats and shrieked vocals. “Trudging Towards Twilight” delivers a perfect stoner riff, which leads to the crypt-crawling deathrock of “Evoker 3 (Wotever Happens Next).” And so on, all incredible. The final track, “Leigh’s Castle,” stands out as a strong point, with gauzy guitars and keyboard arpeggios that sound like the dreamiest moments of DEERHUNTER meeting the looping shoegaze of MY BLOODY VALENTINE. Unbridled experimentation that pays off with a very weird, satisfying listen. I am going to make up for lost time and check out GG KING’s other records, and I recommend you do the same.

GG King Remain Intact LP

Have you ever gone into a hippie-ish coffee shop and gotten one of those homemade calorie-dense, no-bake energy bars? They’re full of seeds and nuts and dates and shit and are held together with peanut butter or maybe chocolate. All of the ingredients are unadulterated and easily identifiable but mixed in such a way that you get a taste of every element in each bite, and they combine to make a distinct treat that’s both nutritious and delicious. GG KING albums are kind of like that with their genre influences, and this latest LP, their third, is no exception. Throughout, you can hear KIDS-esque Euro punk, power pop, garage punk, horrorcore, deathrock, metal—but it’s never presented as simply as “Here’s our take on CHRISTIAN DEATH.” All those ingredients appear wholly present and unaltered, but they’re mixed into something rich and distinctly GG KING. This LP maybe feels more mature than their previous efforts—not in a “they’ve finally figured out their sound” kind of way, but more that the record’s tone—sonically and lyrically—feels a bit more grown up…or maybe I’m just being influenced by the fold-out photo of the band and their families on the insert. I was really bummed when Rich from Total Punk announced that he was throwing out his stamp pads and no longer putting out 7″s. But if he continues with this shit-hot streak of LPs, maybe it’s for the best.