King Tut
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King Tut

Band Alternative Rock

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Mar
07
King Tut @ Mount Dungeon (recording)

Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Mar
05
King Tut @ The New French Bar

Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Feb
14
King Tut @ Jack Sprat

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


The entrance to Apple Alley (a diminutive performance space located behind BookWorks in West Asheville) is a garage door. There among the hipsters and scenesters stands local duo King Tut, poised between the opposing forces of their own studio sound versus their live performance.


While King Tut’s MySpace page (http://www.myspace.com/kingtutband) hints at a band that in the studio relies more upon electronic beats and samples, the six available tracks show a group suspended between techy experimentation and warm washes of acoustic guitar. The space around the notes seems every bit as important as the vocal chants and samples that are woven into each song.

King Tut live is a different beast entirely. Built around the towering drumbeats of Drew Veres and the droning guitar of Mark Boyd, the band is less like the soundtrack to a marathon Saturday night and more like the echo-laden compunction of a Sunday morning hangover. Within the tiny walls of Apple Alley, the band’s cavernous din, copious reverb and string dissonance rattle around the room with the brains of the listeners.

Still, King Tut seems to make ambiguity work. Nestled in the nether region between the harsh fluorescent glow inside the club and the crisp autumn air outdoors, the beauty of what King Tut creates becomes apparent. Echoing off the metal doors and into the clear night, the band balances the drone of modern psychedelic music with the more humane vibe of indie rock.

Though King Tut is only a two-piece, together its players are more than the sum of their parts. The drumming and guitar strumming (a combo proven fruitful by the likes of The White Stripes, The Black Keys and The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players) combine with walls of repeating (and at times chaos-drenched) sounds. The effect is disorienting at first, but after a while it imparts a sense of drifting out to sea.

But instead of remaining pleasantly adrift, listeners are pummeled back to shore with every crash of Veres’ cymbals and shred of Boyd’s ax. In fact, Veres’ steady drumming is what keeps King Tut’s live show grounded. Boyd’s forays into guitar pyrotechnics may not scream Eddie Van Halen to purists, but the sharply played riffs and arpeggios help lead King Tut’s songs. This is, perhaps, most apparent on “When the Sun Goes Down,” the best example of the marriage between the sample-happy studio performers and their ear-destroying live act.

Within that song however, there’s a moment when the two personalities of King Tut come together. During a lull in the music, the guitar quiets down and the drums are but a whisper. It’s that precise moment when the audience falls in love with King Tut. Somewhere between the laptop rock and the dollar PBR psychedelia there’s magic happening in Apple Alley. - Mountain Xpress


The sign on their Myspace says Asheville, North Carolina, but King Tut’s pyrotechnic psychedelia might be more at home in Scandinavia. An understated yet frenetic fusion of acoustic instrumentation and electro beats, Tut are perhaps closer to Sigur Ros or even Aussie improvisationalists Architecture in Helsinki, than American contemporaries ‘Explosions in the Sky’. From Appalachian guitars plucked over heavily sampled vocals on ‘Alone Together’, to cathedral electronica on ‘Luke’s Hymn’ - a slow-burning forest fire of a track, reminiscent of Agaetis Byrjun’s ‘Staralfur’, to the shoegaze theatre of ‘Somehow I Found You’, and the 8bit electroclash of ‘The Ocean of Motion’, Tut’s debut album ‘Chopping Wood and Carrying Water’ is an acid mouthful of fruity originality.
King Tut are Mark Boyd and Drew Veres, school friends out of Bay Village, Cleveland, who’ve taken time off from college to live and play music together. Tut are currently signed to Amaro Dolce, a tiny Boston indie label. Their upcoming album will be the label’s debut release. In July 2006 the boys struck out for Asheville, NC; a manicured Tuscany of the Mid-East, drawn by the area’s artistic community and outstanding natural beauty. The ’self-consciously amateur’ music that’s emerged since, and from months before spent trading loops in isolation, is a complex fusion of folksy improv and electronic experimentalism. ‘Chopping Wood and Carrying Water’ was laid down in bedrooms, dorms and college studios, in Garageband on an aging Macintosh; while Mark and Drew worked minimum-wage jobs to fund recording. The album’s rustic origins, its stylistic variety, raw layered harmonies, and epic refrains (Mark calls them ‘Peak Moments’), bring to mind Mirah’s collaboration with Ginger Brooks Takahashi, 2003’s ‘Songs from the black Mountain Music Project’; and indeed Carrying Water shares the sizzling fury of Phil Elverum’s discordantly thrilling Microphones productions. Says Mark of such moments - “When it’s done right it’s a kind of holy thing to me, it really reaches out to you and into you and surrounds you and you just understand. There is a clear open channel of communication between you and the musician and it’s beautiful.”
There’s so much variety here that it’s hard to draw general comparisons, but fans of Mogwai, Broken Social Scene and even Grandaddy should all find something to enjoy. Likely to draw attention are the album’s spare but intricate drum loops. Drew cites the influence of everyone from John Stanier, to JoJo Mayer and Thelonius Monk. “A good drummer is able to sing through his instrument and compliment the parts of his fellow musicians. John Coltrane is a personal favorite. He literally sings through the tenor saxophone. His playing has influenced me to really hear the tonal qualities of the drum set and fit them with the guitar lines to create a fuller more distinct sound for a song.”
Tut have arrived at an understanding of the contemporary music market that often eludes more established acts. Aware that obscurity is a far greater threat to young artists than piracy, the band have gone beyond using MySpace (where Analogue heard first heard them), and set about directly emailing songs to a growing list of fans. Mark is particularly positive about P2P, “I love peer to peer sharing. I think it’s got corporate big guys in a bundle and that’s great. At least some of the reason people don’t buy records any more is that they know it’s not going to the band. Why should we require people to toss some paper with imaginary value into our hat? Music has real value. Emotions have real value. That’s what matters.”
I ask him to explain how the birth of the net and the drawn out passage of the ‘industry’ proper have affected the bands promotional decisions.
“Being able to spread music so easily and to such a large audience is a beautiful thing. We have the ability to play our music for someone on the other side of the world, by just clicking away from the comfort of our own home. As for the death of the major labels? Well it’s about fucking time… It’s so easy for people to overlook one of the true meanings of making music, self expression. The idea that there are corporate know-it-alls deciding what the general public should be listening to is a joke. Now there’s finally a way for damn good musicians to get their music out, and it has these big types on edge.”
Mark is similarly dismissive of Radiohead’s latest foray into digital marketing, ‘In Rainbows’.
“I think what Radiohead did was great, but it’s by no means revolutionary. Big bands in Japan and other countries had done this years before, figuring that if people like them enough, they’ll buy the CD, but they’ll definitely go to see them in concert.”
King Tut are the kind of band we’re seeing more and more right now; a potpourri of influences, keener on developing as musicians than aspiring to a traditional major label recording career. With independent releases this year from everyone from M.I.A to Prince and indeed Radiohead; the group’s independence shouldn’t prevent them from making a splash deserved by this fiery, original and charming release.
It might be a while before they tour, but King Tut release their album ‘Chopping Wood and Carrying Water’ (title taken from ‘Be Here Now’) soon. If you’re in the neighbourhood of Asheville, you would do well to catch them. Otherwise, hit the band up for demos at keepyourkingsinthebackrow@gmail.com or check out their new material on MySpace. - Analogue Magazine


Be prepared!! This is psychedelic!! This is experimental!! This is…well, this is rock of a particular sort.
Check out “1000 Machines ft John Z” if you don’t believe it. Maybe you’ll want to listen to “Our Friday Is Your Wednesday.” Those selections from Amaro Dolce (2008) are not dance music. They certainly don’t qualify, in this writer’s opinion, as road-trip tunes. I guess they are best left as experimental, with both musician and listener engaging in experiments.
King Tut has put together some sounds that won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, so to speak. It’s interesting that they have done this from the beautiful, tree-covered land of Asheville, North Carolina. That’s not surprising, really, because the environment there can be inspiring.
Try on this PR move from the band’s Web site. “If you would like to use our music as a part of a soundtrack to a movie or a skate film, or a part of a dance or art piece, please do! We will not charge you any royalties–you can use any and all of our songs for free. The one condition we have is that you credit us somewhere in the liner notes or, I guess, the credits.”
Who is (are) King Tut? Mark Boyd and Drew Veres.
Some of you will love it. - www.indieupdate.com


"By far my favourite [of the BBC's Next Big Thing contest]: strange, oddly festive, creepy but uplifting, great use of samples as well as live performance, this is a fantastic, esoteric track."
--Miranda Sawyer, writer/music critic

"King Tut – fresh, dark and crazy, these guys are going their own way, they have no rules in creating musical lines and arrangement. It seems to me that they play not for popularity, promotion and the rest of such stuff, but only to express their inner world. Maybe I'm wrong, anyway, I like it!"
--Yan Nikolenko, Lead Singer, Oedipus Complex - BBC


Discography

"Chopping Wood & Carrying Water" LP released Jan, 2008.

All songs off of the album, as well as 34 demos are available for free download at www.reverbnation.com/kingtutband

Photos

Bio

King Tut is a folkpsychtechrock duo based out of Asheville, North Carolina. Mark Boyd, formed the band in the summer of 2006 with a different line-up, though Drew Veres joined shortly afterward.
After writing a year’s worth of material on Mac laptops using Garageband and Reason, King Tut released their first album “Chopping Wood & Carrying Water” on a upstart label from Boston, Amaro Dolce.
When they play live, Boyd uses a looping pedal, building whole songs from scratch on the fly, backed by Veres’s classically trained, powerful jazz drumming. King Tut has consistently been defined as new, fresh, original, uplifting, and exciting.
Alternative Press magazine mysteriously got their hands on a copy of their CD and gave it a 3/5 stars. They recently opened for The Liars on their Radiohead tour. And just a little while ago, they made it into the semi-finals of the BBC’s “Next Big Thing” contest, where they were 1 of 20 bands selected from 2000 entrants from 80 different countries. King Tut currently has plans for 3 new albums (one folk, one electronica, one live) to be released concurrently. Some of their influences include Do Make Say Think, Tortoise, Battles,The Books,Toe, and Mt. Eerie.