KING TUFF with THE INTELLIGENCE at the Garrison (1197 Dundas West), Friday (October 12), 9 pm. $13.50. RT, SS. See listing.
Bubblegum-garage-punk outfit King Tuff are making their Toronto debut Friday at the Garrison, but main man Kyle Thomas already has a strong impression of the city based on previous visits as a member of bands Witch, Feathers and Happy Birthday.
"Every time I go there, I seem to end up in some crazy situation with crazy people, so that's what I'm looking forward to this time," Thomas says on a pre-tour stop from his parent's home in Vermont.
He's probably best known for his work with stoner-metal group Witch, whose drummer is Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis. Nevertheless, the glowing critical reception his second King Tuff album (Sub Pop) has enjoyed since its spring release has expanded that project's reach far beyond the garage punk underground. Even Rolling Stone is creaming its jeans over the self-titled album's combination of sugary-sweet hooks and snarling edginess.
"This project has had quite a few rebirths over my career. It was my first band, and then I brought it back after not doing it for a while and recorded my first full-length album, which is why I called it King Tuff Was Dead. Then I stopped doing it again and came back with this album. This feels like a new beginning, like I'm starting over again."
Paying his dues in other bands has paid off: King Tuff is remarkably flab-free and packed with high-energy bratty attitude and high-octane hooks. It probably helps that he'd amassed about 30 songs before going into the studio, which meant that the dozen that made the final cut were the cream of the crop.
But as prolific a songwriter as Thomas is, he hasn't cranked out many tunes since that 2011 writing binge.
"I need to disappear for a little while in order to write, which has been hard. I can and have written songs with other people around, but it's a lot easier when I'm by myself in the middle of the night."