Essential Albums: King Tuff

Frontman Kyle Thomas pulls from his hardcore-punk past and nods to musical legends.

- Oct 10, 2012

In an ongoing effort to better understand the musical influences behind new music, we’re asking artists to tell us about their be-all-end-all essential albums of all time ever forever. This week we spoke with King Tuff frontman Kyle Thomas and the results pull from his hardcore-punk past and musical legends. You can grab King Tuff’s self-titled full-length now via Sub Pop.


John Coltrane – Giant Steps

I like drinking coffee and just chilling with that kind of shit. I love that feeling… When I was eighteen, I worked at a record store and we used to play it in there all the time. And my dad was super into jazz stuff, so that was kind of played to me that way. It’s just nice to take a break from listening to – most of the time I listen to rock and pop. But, you need to take a break from people singing songs for a while and listen to childish stuff.

Listen: “Giant Steps”


Chris Weisman – Beatleboro

He’s a guy that was in Happy Birthday with me and I wrote a lot of songs with him. He’s a super prolific songwriter. He has no… what’s the word? No filters. He puts it all out there, and it goes from perfect pop songwriting to terrifying otherworldly shit. He’s one of those people that might not be appreciated in his own time. I don’t know if some people are ready for it.

ListenBeatleboro A-side, B-side


Grateful Dead – American Beauty

You know, me and my friend were just listening to Grateful Dead American Beauty last night, and Grateful Dead is one of those bands that you grow up seeing with a super stereotypical attitude towards them, especially if you’re a punk rocker. Then when I was in my twenties I opened myself up to it and I was like, “There’s gotta be at least one song that I like.” And I heard this one really weird song called “Rosemary” that’s a really strange song. Then I just got super into Grateful Dead and I kind of like. They’re one of the most badass bands, because… it’s almost like, you listen to it and they’re not just playing chords, it’s just like a lot of notes. It’s sort of like an amorphous blob of notes that somehow all work together. It’s really strange. And I’m a huge fan of Pig Pen.

Listen: American Beauty


Bob Dylan – Jon Wesley Harding

It’s probably my favourite album of his and I just like it because it sounds different from all the other ones. And it’s so simple. There’s not much going on and the songs are all just really strange stories. I think storytelling is kind of a lost art, especially in songs nowadays. That used to be the main part of a song, that it told a story. I think that album has really weird stories.

Listen: “The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest”


This is Boston, Not L.A. Compilation

It’s a hardcore punk compilation of bands from Boston in the early eighties. It’s got Jerry’s Kids, Gang Green, the Freeze, The F.U.’s. Bunch of a shit that I grew up listening to and I still listen to that sometimes and want to smash a fucking wall down.

Listen: This Is Boston, Not L.A.

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