Review of King Tuff's 'Black Moon Spell', by Northern Transmissions,

Sub Pop Records


King Tuff

Black Moon Spell

Crafted in the hazy cauldron of winter-bound Los Angeles, King Tuff’s Black Moon Spell is a necromancer – divining the spirit of rock & roll to inevitably cast it into this loaded psych album.

Touted as the album you’ve “been begging for all year; a heavily weird, heavily dark, hysterically magical Rock & Roll Sexperience,” Kyle Thomas’ efforts to solidify his King status in this years rock & roll revival (with Ty Segall, White Fence, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, etc., all releasing celebrated jams over the past year) are not in vain. Pitching the perfect balance between lo-fi reams and clean production, Black Moon Spell is the ultimate compliment to a night drinking tequila out of slurpee cups and playing ouija or, a hot thick day at the baseball field in wizard robes beside the town graveyard.

After reaching cult-like appeal with the release of his self titled album, King Tuff places himself uniquely in the heat of the artists of the rock & roll revival by building a kitschy mythology of vampires with fake teeth and werewolves with zip up fur. The resulting simulacrum is somewhat of a mind-fuck. The appeal to this well-crafted image is the effortless indulgence in sounds that are reminiscent of October 22, 1969 (the release of Zeppelin II) with the afforded advantages of modern technology.

The title track and album opener “Black Moon Spell” is a sticky invitation to witchcraft and chicanery. The track, which features the rock & roll goblin king himself, Ty Segall, on drums, pitches you into the opening scene of a 1970’s B-Movie whose plot unfurls throughout the album. Darting through the scene is the main character of the album – which is manifested in the form of wailing guitar solos. There’s never a point where I find myself shaking my head at his expertly executed guitar riffs which are formless and coherent simultaneously – Thomas’ skills as a guitarist don’t ghost.

In the midst of killer guitar solos and stabilizing riffs, King Tuff keeps relatively simple, almost formulaic lyrics. During this ironic display of ‘dad rock for people who aren’t dads’ an accidental sincerity emerges because, when you apply post-psychedelica to an already post-psychedelic pallette an antithesis is conjured; creating accessible, ‘glory days’ style anthems. With that being said, it’s hard not to get stoked like a fire on this album. m/

Hailey Celesse McCarthy


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