About Us


There is a good chance you found us accidentally by using the word “taint” in your search (If you found us on purpose, you deserve our accolades). Of course we don’t know what you were looking for, but you stumbled on a damn cool project. Look around; let us help send you on a musical journey. Here you will find a number of album reviews from the strange and extreme to the tame and mainstream. Our reviewers are a bunch of obsessive miscreants. Most of us are avid music collectors and have been involved in the music world for decades. A couple of us have been in or are still in bands.

There are no rules on Tickle Your Taint Blog. Our reviewers might make you laugh, or piss you off; both results are legitimate. One reviewer might write a glowing review of an album another might tear it apart. We may end up adopting a single review system, such as five stars, or each reviewer may use his own or none at all. We may have a new review every week or we could end up with one every six months. This blog exists as a social experiment to build community among a diverse group of music maniacs – our reviewers and hopefully you. Pull down your knickers, lube up and join us in tickling yours and our taints.

If you are in a band, have released a physical (rather than an MP3) CD or record, and would like us to review your efforts, contact us at tickleyourtaint@yahoo.com

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Pollution Circus, Destroy Authority Before Authority Destroys You (1990)

By SoDak

While the war on Earth and life in general is a constant part of capitalist development, the scope, scale, and intensity of this assault has been increasing through the decades, especially in the absence of strong social movements that create opportunities for change. These tendencies are being further amped up, under the fascist Trump, who on December 4, 2017, will likely announce that established protections for many national monuments are being erased and the size of these monuments will be drastically reduced, opening up the land in the southwestern part of the United States for an array of extractive industries. The ongoing expansion of national sacrifice zones to maintain profits is maddening and depressing, to say the least.

In the 1980s, punk rock helped deal with anger and similar frustrations, given the downward spiral associated with Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. It was refreshing sing along to songs filled with love and rage—ones that encouraged direct action against oppressive forces. One of the bands that meant a great deal to me is Pollution Circus, an anarcho-punk band from Sacramento, California. My friend Craig introduced me to them, giving me a cassette that contained demo tapes by the band. These late 1980s recordings were very raw, loose, and beautiful. The guitars had very little to no distortion, depending on the song. The vocals were rough, moving between singing and yelling. The lyrics addressed such issues as animal rights, environmental degradation, revolutionary direct action, class exploitation, etc. While Pollution Circus did not sound like other bands in the genre, given their electric-folk sound, they were punk rock, in all of its beauty. For a couple years, I exchanged letters with Todd, the main force behind the band. We exchanged thoughts regarding the struggles we confronted and encouraged each other to keep fighting for a better world.

Unfortunately, most of the songs on the Pollution Circus demo tapes have never been released in another format. The band only put out a single seven-inch record and a few songs on compilation records. As a result, the cassette tape of their demos remains a prized item in my music collection. In 1990, Pollution Circus released Destroy Authority Before Authority Destroys You, which includes four songs: “Destroy What Destroys You,” “I Wonder,” “Values,” and “Scut’s Song.” Each song is moving and still hits me in the heart.



The opening song, “Destroy What Destroys You,” is very energetic, in comparison to most of what they recorded. The guitar has an almost toy-like sound, but it still manages to build tension. The drums and bass provide a cool beat, just before Todd yells “don’t be afraid,” as the opening words to the song, encouraging confrontation with the system. His vocals capture a controlled frenzy, as he spits out his objection to the dehumanizing conditions of society. As silly as it sounds, this song makes me want to jump around, given that this low-fi song is catchy. As I listen to it, I am ecstatically happy to hear such words vocalized on a record. I sing along, wanting to do my part to bring down the capital system.

“I Wonder” and “Values” have always been two of my favorite Pollution Circus songs. The former is a slow song with a dreamy, drifting guitar line, which complements the contemplative lyrics, drawing out tensions and connections.

Sometimes I wonder what we’re all doing,
and how it all affects me and you.
Sometimes I wonder just what’s gone wrong,
and how we’ll ever get through.
Sometimes I wonder how we can survive,
while so many fight to just stay alive.
Sometimes I wonder when I look at the sky,
how and why we don’t just curl up and die.
Sometimes I can’t help but sit back and cry,
and wonder if it’s even worth a try.
To love we must survive; to survive we must fight.
We’ve all got to learn to fight our oppressions,
keep our freedoms in our sights.

I always appreciated how Todd’s lyrics were political, while also being honest, vulnerable, and personal. Latter, he explicitly addresses the class divisions within our society, whereby daily life is organized “for the privilege of a few, who control this planet and just what we will do.” While he advocates for direct action, we recognizes the potential consequences:

Sometimes I wonder just what we will do,
when the authorities come looking for me and you,
to persecute us for what we’re willing to do.
Sometimes I wonder if we’ll ever break through
all the shit’s that built up between me and you.
Sometimes I wonder just what we will do.

As the song meanders toward the end, I am left wondering if we will dare to organize and engage in the necessary actions to make a better world possible.

“Values” is a song capturing some of the spirit of Earth First! in the 1980s; it is a defense of wilderness and a critique of capitalism. The progression of the lyrics in this song always gave me chills:

A redwood tree, a whale, and you and me,
we’re not that different, don’t you see?
We’re all money in corporate eyes,
and none will be free, while the government survives.           
            Why don’t they all just die?

            Five hundred thousand dollars, that’s what they see,
            when they see a whale swim in the sea.
All they see is the money they make,
There’s no respect for the life that they take—
only profits that they make.

            Five hundred thousand dollars, that’s what they see,
when they see all of the redwood trees,
all cut up and all cut down,
to make more money….

What is the value that they see,
when they look at you and me?
Does it come from our slavery in a factory job,
sucking up to some corporate slob?

A redwood tree, a whale, and you and me,
we’re not that different, don’t you see?
We’re all money in corporate eyes,
and none will be free, while the government survives.           
            We got to help to make them die.       
           
The whales and the trees are fucked you see,
because they can’t act against their misery.
So I guess it’s up to you and me,
to do what we can do to set all free….

Todd is clear that the logic of capital is solely focused on accumulating ever-more wealth for the elite at the expense of exploiting human beings and destroying the planet. But the fight is not over, he pleads, “Everybody please fight back, we’ve got to counter their attack.”

“Scut’s Song” is a simple electric-folk song that also includes a twisted ska guitar part. The song celebrates love and beauty. The Pollution Circus song, “Question of Violence,” on the 400 Day Headache compilation, addresses issues associated with pacifism, direct action, and confrontation with oppressive conditions. It separated Pollution Circus from aspects of the peace punx movement—via a catchy, ska-influenced punk rock song that fortunately sounds nothing like what NOFX would do. Lacking access to the Pollution Circus demos, it is also worth tracking down two additional compilations—In the Spirit of Total Resistance: A Benefit for the Mohawk Nation of Kanesatake and Earth Rapers and Hell Raisers (a double seven-inch record that was a benefit compilation for Earth First!)—in order to hear two additional songs by them.

I still find inspiration in Pollution Circus songs, especially on the eve of President Shitbag Trump opening up more land to be plundered for profit. At a rally in opposition to this anticipated announcement, I crossed paths with members of the Infidel Cowboys, a strange, twisted band from Wyoming. We briefly discussed our love for Pollution Circus, given their unique sound and their refreshingly direct and passionate lyrics. The Infidel Cowboys shared with me some lyrics, they had been working on: “Trump, cut your own throat, not Bear’s Ears. This is the only monumental sacrifice we will accept.” Hopefully, we can organize for the ongoing fight against the reactionary forces and the capital system.







Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Fleetwood Mac, Fleetwood Mac (1975), sometimes known as “The White Album.”

Null:

I am a big Fleetwood Mac fan, warts and all. Of the Buckingham/Nicks line-up of the band, their self-titled record from 1975 might be my favorite. It is a little more humble than the massive Rumors album. It also quietly introduces what was to come down the line. It was a new start for an old band and it felt young and fresh. The Buckingham tracks rock, the Nicks tracks have a depth and mystique that she tried to hold on to for the next 35 years, and the McVie tracks jell in a hypnotic dance between her keyboards and Mick’s ride and John’s basslines. It was the beginning, and the ending, of a particular kind of innocence that this band would never again recapture. It’s almost perfect.



SoDak:

Fleetwood Mac is a strange band. They have several distinct periods of music. Their second eponymous record (which was their tenth studio album), released in 1975, was the first one to feature Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, alongside long-time members Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Christine McVie. The hit songs from this record and the several that followed catapulted the band into the stratosphere. The Greatest Hits collection presents a fairly cohesive band, organized around three primary songwriters—Buckingham, Nicks, and Christine McVie. But many of the studio records from this line up are uneven, featuring a handful of great songs (often the hits), some sleepers, and strange cuts.

For me, their 1975 self-titled record is a case in point. Side A of the album starts with Lindsey Buckingham’s “Monday Morning.” His vocals and guitar are quirky, which is quite typical of his songs. The drums are great, which add an infectious element to the tune. McVie’s “Warm Ways” fails to hold my attention. “Blue Letter,” the only song not written by the band, is catchy. Stevie Nicks shines on “Rhiannon.” Her voice is smooth. It is ethereal in many ways. The song is warm and beautiful. “Over My Head” is a fine, but not remarkable. The same is true of “Crystal,” which has a folk-rock sound and is a little trippy at times. Side B starts off with two good songs: “Say You Love Me” and “Landslide.” The former is McVie’s stand out track on this record. The latter is a beautiful acoustic ballad that still hits me in the heart even after all of these years of hearing the song. It is remains one of Nicks’s masterpieces. In my opinion, the record could have ended here. I really do not care for “World Turning,” “Sugar Daddy,” and “I’m So Afraid.” For me, they are filler tracks. In the end, the record has three or four songs that I really like. In many ways, I think this record was laying the foundation for the following record, the truly exceptional Rumors, which is mostly one great song after another.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Malcolm Young (1953-2017)


Dave:

AC/DC is such a foundational band that it’s easy to just write them off as a cliché from a bygone era. If you listen to any form of aggressive rock music, you’ve heard sooo much AC/DC you could go without hearing a single note from the band for a decade and still be able to rattle off at least a chorus from one of their classics. Malcolm Young was the rhythm guitarist in a band that defined the fundamentals of great rhythm guitar playing for generations of rock musicians. If it wasn’t for AC/DC, my life would have taken a completely different track. I have no idea who I would be. So many rock musicians have died in the last decade, it seems there is a high price to pay for reaching the heights of musical achievement. My heart goes out to the Young family. Too many great musicians have left us seemingly before their time, while too many politicians seem to stick around long after their debt to the world is due.

SoDak:

Malcolm Young was a riffmaster. As the rhythm guitar player in AC/DC he did not garner as much attention as his brother Angus, but his stamp on the sound of the band is unforgettable. He was the punch in the music, with the flick of his wrist. He laid the foundation on which everything rocked. This is because he played guitar in an economic and percussive style, allowing for space between notes, which added to the power of each song. In the late 1970s, my neighbor who was much older introduced me to AC/DC. We would listen to records such as High Voltage, Let There Be Rock, Powerage, and Highway to Hell in his basement. At the time, it seemed like I was hearing music that was forbidden, given the dark and risqué elements in many of the songs. The music seemed dirty and dangerous for a young kid. In the 1980s, I saw AC/DC in concert. The Gretsch guitar that Malcolm played seemed huge compared to his slight stature. Nevertheless, he threw down and played the hell out of it. After all of these years, I remain a fan of the band, in large part due Malcolm’s big, meaty riffs.
   
Null:

Others will be able to praise Malcolm’s place in rock and his important role in the band that put the RAWK in rock. I’ll just say that without skeletons, we would be jellyfish. Malcolm was AC/DC’s skeletal system—unassuming but integral.