Inhuman Headbanger

King Tuff’s coming to town under a sinister Black Moon Spell.
  • King Tuff’s coming to town under a sinister Black Moon Spell.

When asked what inspired the title of his new album, Black Moon Spell, Kyle Thomas, aka King Tuff, tells the Reader he doesn’t know. “It just appeared there one day and forced me to use it,” the garage-rocker says.

In that regard, the entire album seems to have divine origins.

“I didn’t really have songs going into it,” Thomas says of the recording process. “Then some of these songs started to appear. But even until the final days of recording...we didn’t know what direction the album was going.”

Perhaps it’s fitting that one of Thomas’s first shows of his tour for Black Moon Spell is at the Irenic in San Diego, a church by day, music venue by night?

“I hope to have some nice church vibes...and hopefully the show is satanic,” Thomas says with a cackle.

Black Moon Spell has a lot of the rock anthems heard on King Tuff’s self-titled debut, but the collection sounds fuller, darker, recalling 1970s metal bands like Black Sabbath. More guitars and vocals helped create the bigger sound. There are layers of each on every track, with tight harmonies and female vocals. There are also creepy, nonhuman vocals on several songs, including “Headbanger” and “Black Holes in Stereo.”

Past Event

King Tuff, Feels, Grand Tarantula

  • Thursday, September 25, 2014, 8 p.m.
  • Irenic, 3090 Polk Avenue, San Diego

Besides unearthly voices, the instrumentation and lyrics lend themselves to the spookiness of the record. The guitar licks are hypnotic like on “Black Moon Spell,” or heavy and distorted like in “Magic Mirror.” The lyrics touch on mystifying phenomena such as black holes, spells, and UFOs.

Thomas’s producer, Bobby Harlow, helped Thomas achieve this new sound. Harlow owns Studio B in Los Angeles and performed in the Go with Jack White. “It’s pretty hard pressed to find a producer willing to go that deep with you because he genuinely cares about making a good record, not just paying bills,” Thomas says.

Black Moon Spell drops via Sub Pop on September 23. King Tuff hits town a couple days later, at the Irenic on September 25.

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