Thraft King (TK) recorded 24 full-length lo-fi cassettes between 1990 and 1994, starting when the members (Mike V. and Mike W.) were 12-years-old. The music on these early tapes was clumsy, sloppy, mostly unlistenable, and 100% improvisational. They were frequently trying to emulate their prog rock heroes without actually bothering to compose something before hitting the record button.
From the winter of '90 to the fall of '91 (the Mark I era), they gathered almost every Saturday, armed with Doritos and Pepsi, playing Yamaha and Casio keyboards (remember the days of using Casios unironically?), recording onto a Sony boombox. Every few months they would compile the 'best' of the recordings onto a cassette and erase the unedited masters (d'oh!). A drum kit was acquired in late '92, and they moved the sessions from Mike W's bedroom to Mike V's basement (Mark II). None of these recordings are officially available... sorry kids.
Following the sprawling masterpiece/catastrophe Spermatozoon (1994), they chose to temporarily cease recording. In '96, returning after a year at college, they bought a 4-track cassette recorder (Tascam), started a label (FSR), and began recording hours and hours of (still mostly improvised) material over a three-year period (Mark III), with the help of a third member (Rob). Music for Two Fingers was released in January 1999 following six months later by Carros: Bonitos Buenos Baratos. While still limited to 4-track cassette, they managed to create a relentless, swirling, often beautiful mess of guitars, synths and drum machines.
Immediately after these releases, the three-piece version of TK agreed to (1) begin composing material to supplement the improvisations, (2) start performing live, and (3) change their name to The Research Magnificent.
In late 2003, when it became clear that the Research Magnificent was on an indefinite hiatus, the two Mikes elected to revive the Thraft King name. A duo once again (Mark IV), they gathered in the same basement in which so many of their early cassettes were recorded a decade earlier, and quickly produced The Rockypee. The EP contained three simple and mostly instrumental hard rock songs, leading to confusion among fans and critics. "Whatever", said TK.
Although none of the Mark I, Mark II, Mark III or Mark IV albums are currently available, the group has been working on new material.
MARK I (cassette releases, all out-of-print)
People I Hate (1990)
The Evil Ways of Gumby (1990)
Night Shift (1990)
Rock You (1991)
In Your Face (1991)
Green Goats from Hell [compilation] (1991)
Time for Terrorizing (1991)
The Endless Road (1991)
...With Twinkies (1992)
Acid Fascism (1992)
MARK II (cassette releases, all out-of-print)
Thraft King (1992)
Thraft King II (1992)
Greatest Hits [compilation] (1993)
The Essence of Madness (1993)
Stomach Acid (1993)
Music to Abuse the Elderly By (1994)
MARK III (CD-R releases, all out-of-print)
Music For Two Fingers (1999, F07)
Carros: Bonitos Buenos Baratos (1999, F08)
MARK IV (CD-R release, out-of-print)
The Rockypee (2004, F19)