I first heard King Tuff on a mix, where his infectiously catchy “Connection” stood out among the summer jams and classic rock my friend had curated. Tuff’s breathy, almost sarcastic-sounding vocals put the perfect pinch of punk edge on an otherwise poppy synth line, and I still can’t get the stuttered chorus “c-c-c-c-connec-shuuuun” out of my head when I hear it.
It makes sense that a singer dubbed “one of the best guys going in the good-time rock ‘n’ roll department” by Vice is so great at creating party anthems, the kind of songs that sound just as good at a lazy afternoon BBQ as during one of his raucous live shows.
You’ll have a chance to see for yourself — King Tuff hits Austin for two shows on Monday, July 9. He’ll be doing a free in-store at Waterloo Records at 5 p.m., and at 9 he’s at Red 7 with Natural Child, The Best, The Vomettes and DJ Ben Tipton.
King Tuff’s alter ego, Kyle Thomas, is also a member of Witch (the stoner metal band that also features Dinosaur Jr. alum J Mascis), and Happy Birthday (singalong-inspiring pop punk), and formerly played with Feathers (psych-folk from Vermont).
He’s been releasing solo albums under the KT moniker since 2006’s now hard-to-find Mindblow; since then, LP Was Dead has been re-released through three different labels, and this year’s self-titled album — out now on Sub Pop — has been earning some serious critical acclaim.
(Also! Last year, Scion / Vice put out a split with King Tuff and Austin’s own Hex Dispensers.)
You won’t want to miss either of his July 9 shows, both at fairly intimate venues you’ll be psyched to say you saw him at, back before he blew up (which, judging by his album’s success and his exhaustive tour, should be any day now).
Check out his latest video, “Bad Thing,” and stream King Tuff’s full self-titled album below.