Review: King Tuff’s Black Moon Spell

King Tuff. Photo Dan Monick. King Tuff. Photo Dan Monick.

When I first heard someone talking about King Tuff, I expected some gnarly-ass old-school reggae like Lee Perry, instead of this balls-to-the-wall guitar, with the pleading “Teenage-Dirtbag-by-Wheatus”-styled vocals of the white, extremely NOT reggae music of Kyle Thomas, a.k.a. King Tuff.

I can’t decide if this album reminds me of Bat Out of Hell by Meatloaf yet. That title track though, with its repetitive one-liner …with a black moon spell, baby you’ll be dreaming,” really just gave me that same shuddering sensation I got when I saw Meatloaf live that one time.

Black Moon Spell, released on Sub Pop in September, apparently started out as a snaggle-toothed pup and grew into the shit-hound that I’m listening to now. (This, according to King Tuff’s website –

To be honest, I just wasn’t in the mood for the first two tracks; they got on my fuckin nerves. Rainbow’s Run was really more up my alley, with long drawn out jams and signature-King Tuff singing, which is melodic and a bit whiny, but if King Tuff can ever reach vocal and instrumental sexiness, he does that on Rainbow’s Run.

King Tuff, first of all, you’re cool. You got that whole old-Alice-Cooper thing happening. Black Moon Spell does skirt dangerously into Twisted Sister and the aforementioned Meatloaf territory, but hey, some people are into that ironic spandex rock thing. If you’re into ironic music (most of the hippest kids these days are) then put on a diaper: you’re about to shit your pants.

King Tuff is also associated with Burger Records. Burger Records is a fucking great label. Go. Look it up.

The further I dig into this album, the more I fall in love with it. I’m just writing as I listen here, so that you can truly join me on this magical journey of listening pleasure. Mmmmm. So pleasurable.

King Tuff. Photo Dan Monick.

King Tuff. Photo Dan Monick.

Beautiful Thing, I love you Ugly and Magic Mirror. YES! King Tuff, I’m sorry about the Meatloaf reference. Well, actually I’m sorry that the first couple songs on your new album reminded me of Meatloaf. You might need to take responsibility for that one, eh?

Alright, I won’t take the rest of the clothes off Black Moon Spell for you. You gotta undress this broad yourself. And when you do, whew.

If you’re one of those readers who is not merely content with one writer’s extremely bizarre reaction to a particular album under scrutiny, then King Tuff is from Vermont, plays with Magic Jake and Garett Goddard and this is his 5th studio album, if you count the reissue of Was Dead. There.

Instead of cold hard Wikipedia facts, however, this writer suggests going and putting on this album. Maybe even buy it, if you really care, that way the artists you love can eat and go on tour.

King Tuff, not that you give a shit, but I approve this record.

King Tuff’s album Black Moon Spell is out now.

About Ceilidh Michelle

ceilidh michelle is a musician and novelist. She has contributed to CULT Montreal, Vancouver Weekly and Social Coast, among others, and also has a column with Band Mark called True Currency. More Posts