Photo by Dan Monick
Behind the bat devils and fist-pumping guitar solos, King Tuff loves a great hook. Under his various guises, Kyle Thomas has taken bits of rock history–’60s pop, amped-up punk, Southern rock–and combined them with gleeful abandon, like a kid in a sandbox. Thomas first started turning heads with his King Tuff debut, 2008’s Was Dead. The self-recorded songs were a little rough around the edges, but they had choruses that would rattle around in your head for days on end–a particular Thomas specialty.
In 2012, Thomas graduated to the (relative) big leagues of Sub Pop, a label known for rock/pop blenders like Nirvana and Mudhoney. King Tuff showed off Thomas’ frontman skills, made powerful after years of slogging through the club circuit with his band in tow. At SXSW that year, I remember being impressed by how they could get a crowd new to their music to go crazy. In retrospect, it’s easy when you write something as immediately satisfying as “Bad Thing.”
On September 23, King Tuff returns with Black Moon Spell, and we’ve got a taste from it as today’s song of the day. “Eyes Of The Muse” dials up the psychedelic touches, but not at the expense of that almighty hook. Thomas is an heir to Marc Bolan, sharing both the shaggy hair and the adenoidal voice. And just like T. Rex, King Tuff finds joy in putting hard rock and pop under the same roof.
Catch King Tuff at Fun Fun Fun Fest on Saturday, November 8