Video: King Tuff, ‘Smalltown Stardust’

King Tuff (Photo by Wyndham Garnett)

King Tuff — Tuffy to fans, Kyle Thomas on his birth certificate — has announced the Jan. 27 arrival of his sixth album (and first since 2018), “Smalltown Stardust,” via Sub Pop Records.

The title track — and its video, directed by Giraffe Studios’ Nicola and Juliana Giraffe — is a charmer, an ode to holding dear his smalltown Vermont roots even as he negotiates the bedlam of Los Angeles.

“The truth is I never really wanted to leave my little town in Vermont,” the songwriter says. “I knew it was something I had to do in order to actually pursue a career as a musician, but I loved my life there, and I cried and cried the day I left on a Greyhound bus for L.A. in 2011.

“In some alternate dimension there’s a version of me still living there, still hanging on the stoop, drawing pictures in the coffee shop, walking the railroad tracks that run along the river … but alas, in this here dimension, I’m nothing but a townie without a town! ‘Smalltown Stardust’ is a song about keeping that little place and all its strange magic with me wherever I go. It’s a portal that I can access when I need inspiration, or when the city feels too big and hot and I need to mentally escape into some dark woods. It’s a place I found myself going to often in the last few years while I was writing this record, stuck in scorched and crispy ol’ Los Angeles, so it felt fitting as an album title as well as the first song to release into the world.”

The album was co-produced by Sasami Ashworth (SASAMI), who co-wrote, arranged and sang and played on many of the tracks. “I tried to follow her vision a lot,” Thomas says. “It helps to open your world to collaborators. You always get something completely different than you would have expected.”

||| Watch: The video for “Smalltown Stardust”

||| Live: King Tuff plays March 3 at the Lodge Room (tickets) and April 7 at Pappy & Harriet’s (tickets).