13 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The second King Tuff record is a vaguely lo-fi, distorted one-man-band garage-pop album. Unlike the dozens of similar efforts released around the same time, King Tuff heralds the arrival of a major alt-rock talent on par with Jay Reatard, Chris Knox, or Ty Segall. Each song is a genre exercise of sorts, but Kyle Thomas (a.k.a. King Tuff) isn't a showoff. When the guitar riff doubles into a Sweet-style heavy glam-fest halfway through the first song, “Anthem,” it’s clear that the dude's doing this at the service of a great little pop number. The insanely catchy “Swamp of Love” mixes the campfire-folk vibe of The Fruit Bats with the outsider garage of The Strange Boys. Thomas is already in at least three other bands; here’s hoping the fellow quits his day job and devotes all his time and effort to King Tuff.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The second King Tuff record is a vaguely lo-fi, distorted one-man-band garage-pop album. Unlike the dozens of similar efforts released around the same time, King Tuff heralds the arrival of a major alt-rock talent on par with Jay Reatard, Chris Knox, or Ty Segall. Each song is a genre exercise of sorts, but Kyle Thomas (a.k.a. King Tuff) isn't a showoff. When the guitar riff doubles into a Sweet-style heavy glam-fest halfway through the first song, “Anthem,” it’s clear that the dude's doing this at the service of a great little pop number. The insanely catchy “Swamp of Love” mixes the campfire-folk vibe of The Fruit Bats with the outsider garage of The Strange Boys. Thomas is already in at least three other bands; here’s hoping the fellow quits his day job and devotes all his time and effort to King Tuff.

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About King Tuff

King Tuff is the neo-garage alter ego of multifaceted musician Kyle Thomas. Adopting the moniker in his teens as a play on his initials and the name King Tut, Thomas wouldn't begin playing as Tuff until 2006, when he self-released an album via CD-R between playing with freaky folk revivalists Feathers and J. Mascis' stoner metal band Witch. His full-length debut, Was Dead, arrived in October 2008 for the Colonel label, introducing his anthemic lo-fi sonics to the masses. Touring with Hunx & His Punx and Witch, and releasing an album with his off-kilter power pop band Happy Birthday, put the Tuff project on the back burner until 2011, when a split single with Hex Dispensers arrived. A year later, he teased his follow-up album with the Wild Desire single for Suicide Squeeze before offering the full monty, simply called King Tuff, which made the jump to the revered Sub Pop label and found Tuff expanding the musical palette to show his yen for retro-pop melodies. He returned in 2014 with third album Black Moon Spell, a fuzzy eruption of glam rock and funky garage pop produced by the Go's Bobby Harlow. ~ Chrysta Cherrie

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