Thursday, March 22, 2012

Record Review: King Tuff - Was Dead

Every time I blink my eyes the Uptown grass seems to get greener, and the quick approach of summer has motivated me to write about one of my favorite albums for the season: King Tuff's Was Dead (released in 2008, TeePee Records).  King Tuff is Kyle Thomas, from Brattleboro, Vermont.  He is recognized by some as member of the folk band Feathers and J Mascis' project 'Witch'.  He recently decided to make a fuzzy, freaked-out album by himself, under the name King Tuff.  This, of course, is the result.  As much as summer itself, what this album represents to me is the cross pollination between punk and power pop, in the incubator that is modern indie/garage music.  It is certainly not new territory to be explored these days, but I have not heard a more authentic, refined version of it than what is on display on Was Dead.  The melodies and progressions are instantly reminiscent of the 60s rock explosion, but the context they are placed in, equal parts fuzzy garage recklessness and fuzzy psychedelic weirdness, thrust the whole thing too far "out there" for it to be anything but modern.  The production is sparse and tinny.  The guitars are clean, but certainly fuzzy.  The vocals crack and clip.  Everything is drenched in reverb.  The overall commitment to a specific vibe is admirable, and with perfect execution it makes this album nothing short of an experience in weightlessness.

Thomas has since been involved with another project called Happy Birthday, and later this year will make a re-appearance as King Tuff with a self titled album on Sub Pop Records.  

Check it Out

*Shout out to he who shall be known as Shock_Troop, who brought this album to my attention.  - Check out his blog here

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