October 18, 2012

The Daily Choice: King Tuff – Screaming Skull


I haven’t been able to exactly pin down King Tuff yet. In the past the artist has crafted palatable gutter rock. The sort of snot-crusted, infected stab-tat rock and roll that doesn’t leave you with bloody ears and black eye. Blame it on Sub Pop and their fold of polish happy producers, or just call the next step in a difficult-to-classify artist’s musical progression but this track, “Screaming Skull” sounds nothing like the grimy pop King Tuff has put out before. Instead, “Screaming Skull” sounds like the last song played in a John Hughes film from the glory days of teen-comedies. Lessons have been learned, unexpected relationships have happened, and with a slo-mo shot of someone pumping their fist or throwing a gummy bear, this song snaps on in the background, screen cuts to black, credits roll. Which, cinematically, works fine, well even, but in the oeuvre of King Tuff, I can’t say I’ve settled on my thoughts yet. Something about it feels to have the sort of douche-bag sincerity of a The Boss mixed with the sort of cruisey beach rock any hipster worth his/her salt has grown used to in the last two or three years. King Tuff, if this is the next step on your voyage, I don’t know if I’ll be joining you, if instead this is just a dalliance with a bigger label looking to expand the scope of your audience and sound, well, here’s to you coming through at the end.

“Screaming Skull” is a 7″ release from Sub Pop, out now.


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