Okay, enough of the folk-rock and alt-country coverage. Summertime is here and it’s time to bust out the Zinka, crack open canned beer and grill some meat. Go ahead and take your shirt off and dust off those jorts because it’s time to rock and roll. Oh, and make some room for King Tuff on your summertime playlists.
Vermont’s King Tuff (Kyle Thomas) has made a splash in the underground rock scene and he’s ready to cannonball into your pool party. He spent some time playing with J. Masic’s band, Witch, before self-releasing an album back in ’08. He’s since been signed to Sub Pop Records and just released a self-titled garage rock album that’s certain to blow your hair back.
The album opens with “Anthem,” a big rock song with washed out vocals and big guitar. “Keep on Movin’” is a summertime jam mixing in surf-inspired electric guitar over acoustic rhythm guitar. It blends sounds of The Ramones and Stones with a dash of Brian Wilson. “Bad Thing” is another highlight of the album with it’s 60′s rock influence and “Loser’s Wall” displays some of Thomas’ influence from J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.).
King Tuff shines on the electric guitar, but “Baby Just Break” shows that he’s equally adept at jamming out an acoustic rock, foot-stomper powered by handclaps. He also takes a stab at sensitive ballads with “Stupid Superstar” and “Swamp of Love.” The songs work, but with so much rock goodness everywhere else in the album, it’s hard not to overlook them.
King Tuff is one of those albums that could go overlooked this year, but that would be criminal. It should gradually creep into those those “best of the year lists” as it sears into your brain. I’m headed to Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri this weekend for a guys weekend and I can assure you that King Tuff will be powering us through some lulls and fueling some good times. If you’re a fan of J. Roddy Walston and The Business, Futurebirds and The War On Drugs, I’d recommend getting into some King Tuff.