Tuff Sunshine are punky and funky. Jay Rawley listens to a band full of enough primal energy to make Jack White smile.
The first thing I realized when listening to Tuff Sunshine is how hard it is to put a label on them. Is it punky? Yes, but with a funky edge to it and smart chords that make it fun and interesting to listen to. With just enough carefully placed backup vocals, and some tasty sound effects, they’ve made a great recording, but I’m sure they can pull all of this off very well live.
The Brooklyn based trio is led by Johnny Leitera on guitar and vocals with Ani Cordero on drums and vocals and Turner Stough on bass. Their new EP, Kids Know is due out in June, and is chockfull with enough primal energy and fuzzed out guitars it’s sure make Jack White smile. The EP was recorded and mixed by Martin Bisi, whose credits include projects with Sonic Youth and Brian Eno, but this project smacks more of the former than the latter.
The video for “All Hail The One That Got Away”, is kind of an actual panic attack set to music. This is the kind of video that every film student tries to make, but usually with not very interesting results. Perhaps it’s the self-made voodoo doll, but I find it very weird and cool, and is worth checking out. The band has also gotten some good press of late, with Time-Out New York declaring the band as ‘cool, emotive indie fare that skillfully fuses funky soul with wiry postpunk’. My Old Kentucky Blog, The Huffington Post, and Tom Tom Magazine have also had great things to say. Nic Harcourt recently featured the band on his nationally syndicated show Connections.
The band members also fill in their dance cards with various side projects, with Ani touring with Brazilian psych-rockers Os Mutantes and Turner touring with at least 10, (count ’em) 10 other bands. That’s left Johnny to write enough new material to spawn a side project of his own called Ideal Fire. Needless to say, if you ring one of them up, I bet you might just have to settle for their voicemail. Being from Brooklyn, the band has a lofty reputation to uphold. They do that, and maybe even nudge the bar just a little bit higher…
Their bio asks ‘have you seen us’, and I’m pretty sure that with what I’ve heard so far, it won’t be too long before you’ll be saying ‘hell yeah.’
All words by Jay Rawley. More work by Jay on Louder Than War can be found here.