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King Tuff, 'Rock River'

King Tuff's Kyle Thomas gave himself license to be weird on his latest album. He also recognized that filling your band's ranks with a calvary of women only makes it better; housemate and connoisseur of didn't-think-that-was-going-to-work rock mishmash SASAMI co-writes, co-produces and harmonizes across the board on Smalltown Stardust.

The album's beating heart is Thomas' love for his hometown of Brattleboro, Vt., set alight on the foot-tapping deep cut, "Rock River." With guitar lines that race and tumble like water over rocks in the song's eponymous river, King Tuff conjures a season spent enveloped in foliage, skinny-dipping and staying up late laughing with friends. One can imagine an old boombox planted on the silty bank and hot to the touch, dialed in on an oldies station; "Rock River" sounds like Creedence Clearwater Revival filtered through a memory, as if you rewrote your own story on top. Sometimes you're looking for corny in your life; King Tuff makes it sound like summer sun in a song.

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