The garage rock resurgence has been a formidable musical force with the likes of Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin, and The Oh Sees putting out stellar work at almost a frenetic pace.  King Tuff, the in-your-face alter ego of Vermont-based, multi-instrumentalist Kyle Thomas, joined the fray with his excellent self-titled debut album in 2012.  Like his peers, Thomas delivers fuzzy guitar riffs a plenty but with an ear for melody and hooks. Thomas’ sophomore album Black Moon Spell is an excellent follow-up, extending garage rock sounds and adding plenty of psychedelia and glammetal attitude.

In the bizarrely playful “Black Hole in Stereo”, King Tuff sings “learned more working at the record store than I ever did in high school”, which almost perfectly sums up the album. Here is a musical junkie that has picked through countless cartons of LPs and listened to endless supply of artist. He has mastered the rock staples and graduated to the more obscure. The Black Sabath and T. Rex influence are clear but so are more modern elements.

The King Tuff is more persona than moniker. This becomes very clear with “Madness”, where he belts out “King Tuff is my name, I got my madness in my brain”.  He is playing and embracing a part that adds a lot of fun to the album and at the same time gives any of the slightly goofy lyrics more context.

The anchor track and lead single, “Eyes of the Muse”, is an instant classic and has my vote for song of the summer. It is equally perfect track to lead us into the fall.  The most hook driven and straight forward rocker on the album it is a timeless peace of work.  The album closes with “Staircase of Diamonds”, a ballad that picks up tempo and ends with some amazing instrumentation that really shows off Thomas’s musical chops.

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Black Moon Spell is out now and can be purchased at Sub Pop, iTunes, Amazon, and eMusic.

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