King Tuff’s 2007 debut, Was Dead, was once considered a rarity; but now King Tuff is reissuing his first album on Burger Records. Standout track “Sun Medallion” showcases a very specific aesthetic that is more psychedelically intricate than his more recent songs. The common thread throughout all of his work is the ability to transform the seemingly mundane-- the “black coffee, standard transmission” of life-- into moments of pure bliss, a joyful innocence that reflects an “infinitely teenage heart and soul.”
Los Angeles guitarist and songwriter Kyle Thomas, aka King Tuff, brings a charming blend of sharp craftsmanship and good old fashioned heart & soul to everything he touches. He’s a sorcerer of sorts, but less the shifty figure casting dark spells than the wizard's apprentice who injects fresh and forward-moving pop energy into alchemical rock 'n roll strategies. His King Tuff project exemplifies this sound, and Kyle’s past projects diversify his resume-- most notably, the legendary Brattleboro, VT "freak-folk" band Feathers, who gained notoriety half a decade ago upon the release of their self-titled album on Devendra Banhart's Gnomonsong label. As Feathers disbanded, Kyle and two other members formed the pop-rock trio Happy Birthday and released an album on Subpop. Other past projects include Witch, the spacey Vermont metal band he played in with J Mascis.
Rock ‘n’ Roll, in all its snarly pop loveliness, is Kyle’s main focus these days, and King Tuff is steadily growing to epic proportions within the contemporary reprise of well-crafted and danceable garage rock. A few weeks ago, Subpop released his latest album under the moniker unto the world. Applause followed, as well as a tour, and as his journey took off, Kyle and I began exchanging some dialogue about the life and demise of Feathers, overcoming the “freak-folk” tag, and his long-time dream of selling out.