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

Monday, January 15, 2018

Gusty Bellows’s Favorite Music of 2017

By Gusty Bellows

Here are my favorite records of 2017:
Pissed Jeans, Why Love Now
Afghan Whigs, In Spades
Ron Gallo, Heavy Meta
Black Lips, Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art
Ty Segall, Ty Segall
LCD Soundsystem, American Dream
Electric Wizard, Wizard Bloody Wizard
Guided by Voices, How Do You Spell Heaven
Truck Stop Love, Can’t Here It: 1991-1994
Spoon, Hot Thoughts

I saw some great shows in 2017 with great friends:
Samiam, Armchair Martian
Bret Netson/Clark, The Himselfs
Black Angels, Ron Gallo
Afghan Whigs, Har Mar Superstar
Ty Segall
King Gizzard
The Lizard Wizard
Plus I was glad I finally got to see The Sadies.

In 2017, I revisited this great records a lot:
Constantines, Kensington Heights
Radio Birdman, Radio’s Appear

I was sad for the loss of Karl Hendricks. Many other greats passed, but his music always had a special place in my collection.

I’m looking forward to seeing Luna in 2018 and hopefully Jawbreaker will make their reunion worthwhile and do some more shows this year. I am disappointed that Jesus Lizard has decided that’s it no more.

There are plenty of albums from great bands that I didn’t even get a chance to listen to this past year. This year is looking like I may not even get to them now. Since it looks like there are some good releases coming out as soon as the year gets started.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Look Back on 2016: Bands that I Missed Out On and Those I Underrated

By Jack Rafferty

Now that 2017 is over, I can take a breath and return to some albums from 2016 that I feel or have felt for some time now to be unfortunately neglected or underrated by my original opinion of them. Credit was not necessarily given where credit is due by me for these bands and albums. So, here are some updated thoughts on them.

Infant Annihilator, The Elysian Grandeval Galèriarch
If there is any album I kick myself for not paying more attention to, it’s this one. Infant Annihilator made some stirs with The Palpable Leprosy of Pollution, with the insanity of their drummer, and the remarkable vocals of Dan Watson. They were also one of those bands that made serious (not in all cases) music, but didn’t take it too seriously, while also being passionately nerdy for their genre and what they do. Kind of how I think about The Black Dahlia Murder. After the debut, the guitarist and drummer went on to focus on a ridiculously down-tuned, sludgier deathcore band, Black Tongue, and Dan Watson departed to focus on his new band Enterprise Earth (both earth-shatteringly heavy). So, needless to say, when I heard in 2016 a new Infant Annihilator album was happening, I was both surprised and skeptical. I believed that no one could replace Dan, and shouldn’t even try. Then, well, Elysian Grandeval happened. Enter Dickie Allen, who is one of the more uncompromisingly excellent vocalists I have ever encountered. I seem to detect some Travis Ryan influence in the highs, which is a very good thing. This album improves upon the debut in every way possible. Like Palpable Leprosy, only to a greater degree, this album sounds gruesome. It also seems to have more maturity, experience, direction, and refinement behind it. Especially notable is the seventeen and a half minute (unheard-of length for what is essentially technical deathcore) opus, Behold the Kingdom of the Wretched Undying.

Inter Arma, Paradise Gallows
Aside from the amazing album artwork, Inter Arma left little impact on me in 2016. This was mainly the result of my lack of patience with Paradise Gallows, which requires time and contemplation. This is a cavernous album. It is sonically vast and immersed in tangible weight. It seems as fluid and tempestuous and heavy as the sea blackened by night. “Violent Constellations” stands out as the best track for me, but this is an album that must be experienced as a whole. Inter Arma weighs you down in the best sense, and I now love this album.

Fallujah, Dreamless
Fallujah made it pretty high on my list, but not nearly high enough. Dreamless is a brilliant continuation of The Flesh Prevails in many ways. It is also a subtle departure in other ways, but overall is cohesive and seamless. I had been listening to Fallujah when they released Harvest Wombs, and was impressed, but once The Flesh Prevails was released, I was completely fucking floored and would not shut up about this band. Dreamless saw Fallujah at a critical moment of either following up successfully from what is almost universally considered their opus, or not being able to meet those lofty expectations. I think Dreamless very much succeeds in being another beautiful and excellent release from Fallujah, that doesn’t necessarily surpass Flesh Prevails, but also provides a sense of not having to do so. Few bands meld technicality, brutality, and melody as well as Fallujah.

Anciients, Voice of The Void
This one did not slip beneath my radar in 2016, which makes my lack of appreciation for it all the more damning toward myself. I listened to this album multiple times in 2016, and liked it quite a bit. It even made my list. However, this album deserved mountainous praise, and I let it down in that regard. I have since recognized this error, and it has become an album I listen to regularly with ardor. Anciients have crafted a remarkable album. It is well balanced in its approach regarding melody and heaviness alike. “Buried in Sand” may be one of my favorite tracks to be released in recent memory. Excellent and worthy of dense attention.

Plebeian Grandstand, False Highs, True Lows
False Highs, True Lows is what I was wishing Kwintessens would be. I hear a good bit of Deathspell Omega influence here (also on this list). Plebeian Grandstand execute what I would describe as maelstrom of wrath with this album, only the maelstrom is made of fire. My only criticism would be that it tends to lack variation in the long haul. However, that should not dissuade anyone from this cacophonous gem.

Ulcerate, Shrines of Paralysis
Much like Plebeian Grandstand, Ulcerate required a maturing of my musical tastes to truly enjoy. While I liked Shrines of Paralysis quite a bit in 2016, I never appreciated it to the point I do now. Ulcerate have executed one of the better experimental, inharmonious death metal albums of all time. Ulcerate can penetrate into a nihilistic void in a visceral and genuine way. There is a palpable realness to the density and fear being presented. This is music that is not so much bleak, rather it seems to convey a grander indifference beyond life. It oozes despair but also the utter futility of despair. I think this would have grabbed a top 10 given another go around.

Vektor, Terminal Redux
I didn’t really get this album in 2016, mostly because it’s thrash and that never bodes well in my ears. However, after multiple returns to this album since then, I completely understand both the hype and praise of this album. It is masterful. I originally did not like the (apparent) lack of variation in the vocals, but they have become one of my favorite aspects of it. The slight black metal influence in them is a very nice touch for me when it comes to listening to thrash. The more that I was able to listen to Terminal Redux, the more I picked up on the insane amount of elements and influences being integrated to this 70+ minute monster. It is almost a staggering listen, but it is one that, if given the proper time and attention, can be immensely rewarding. Also, on a side note, I dislike Vektor’s logo and I think it clashes with their cover art. That is all.

Aborted, Retrogore
Aborted was one of those band names I kept hearing in 2016, and have been aware of for years, but I never gave them the time of day. Once I finally did, I realized I had been missing out. Retrogore’s album cover art is so fantastic on so many levels, and the songs peel your face off. I do think that there is a bit of tonal inconsistency with Retrogore, but not overwhelmingly so. “Divine Impediment” is my favorite track, obviously because it features Travis Ryan, but also the title track, “Bit by Bit,” and “Cadaverous Banquet” stand out as favorites on the album. I still need to sit down some day and give their discography a go.

Sumerlands, Sumerlands
Sumerlands always had the strange reaction from me that consisted of me going, “Wow, this is great,” and then not having it proceed beyond that. I can’t imagine why this was the case in 2016, but I should not have dismissed this album so easily. The vocalist clearly has the Ozzy-vibe that everyone pointed out, but goes far beyond a simple comparison, as he has some very unique and rich depth. The riffs are nostalgic as all sorts of hell, but not in a way that comes off as though it is attempting to be, and the songwriting still brings an intensely fresh aura to it. This is music to listen to as one traverses plains under foggy indigo skies.

Be’lakor, Vessels
I painfully underrated this band in 2016. Vessels is one of the best melodic death metal albums released in recent memory. It took listening to this album while trying to sleep in my car during a lightning storm/flash flood in a parking lot in Kanab, Utah, to truly understand and appreciate it. As the power went out, the absence of streetlights amplified the darkness all around me, and each intermittent strike of lightning lit up the entire sky and the waters swelling around me. One of the more powerful musical experiences that I have ever had. However, that experience aside, this album on its own is magnificent.

First Fragment, Dasein
Holy shit the fucking speed and technicality and riffs here are too much to handle. How they don’t become redundant is the sign of the songwriting skill First Fragment have. This was one of the better tech death albums of 2016 that I mostly slept on, which is entirely inexcusable, for Dasein is exceptional. The guitar work is particularly mind-twistingly good. Everything about this is amazing. If you’re a tech death fan, this is a must listen. If you aren’t, it is still worth checking out, if merely for the instrumentation alone.

Imperium, Titanomachy
I didn’t discover Imperium until after my list was complete, to my woe. This fucking band is heavy to an incinerating degree. From the eerie battle-atmosphere intro transitioning into “Castrate the Father of the Sky” (excellent song title), the listener is shown that this band doesn’t fuck around one bit. It is blisteringly fast, and sounds like a fiery cataclysm. While I don’t think this would have broken top twenty on the list, it is still very much worth the listen.

Silent Planet, Everything Was Sound
Another instance where I became aware of this band far too late for it to matter on my list. This recurring theme is one reason I really tried to amp up how many albums I listened to and reviewed in 2017. The resulting nauseatingly gargantuan list is testament to that. Silent Planet is one of, if not the most interesting and powerful metalcore bands currently operating. I put them alongside Norma Jean in my personal preferences, for different reasons. This album improves upon The Night God Slept in every way. Silent Planet is absolutely raw. “Panic Room” is certainly in contention for my favorite song of 2016.

Toothgrinder, Nocturnal Masquerade
After what I considered to be an overall underwhelming 2017 release, I decided to backtrack in an attempt to discover what gave me such high expectations for Phantom Amour to begin with. After re-listening to Nocturnal Masquerade, I was able to say “Oh, right.” Toothgrinder delivers some groovy hardcore goodness. I do have problems with the production that linger, especially in certain moments that feel like they should hit harder than they do. The softer, melodic moments are also a glaring weakness to me. This album conjures mixed feelings from me, but when it is good, it really is good.

Sumac, What One Becomes
I have grown to enjoy the almost improvisational feeling that What One Becomes conveys at times. Sumac achieves wonderful moments of both complete derangement and melodic hooks boring their way into your skull. There certainly seems to be somewhat of a minimalist approach taking place here, and it works well with what Sumac are trying to accomplish sound-wise. It also must be noted how rich and thundering the tone is. The recording quality probably has something to do with the fact that this was recorded in an old, abandoned church. The spaciousness can be felt. This dissonant and meandering album is a massive achievement for this new project, and I look forward to hearing more from them. Fans of more experimental sludge/doom/drone shouldn’t miss this.

Deathspell Omega, The Synarchy of Molten Bones
Some truly horrific experimental black metal that I did not discover until 2017. The atmosphere that Deathspell constructs is oppressing and spastic, and is done so with no time wasted, with the album roughly clocking in around thirty minutes. This is a listen that is indeed visceral and abysmal. It is mortal terror personified. The style that Deathspell are attempting to construct is very much aided by a Gorguts-esque atonality. This is recommended to anyone who is a fan of dissonant, experimental extreme metal. Speaking of Gorguts…

Gorguts, Pleiades’ Dust
Gorguts is one of the most important metal bands today, and their influence becomes increasingly clear each year. I cannot properly express how monumental Colored Sands is. However, I let that infatuation get in the way of truly delving into Pleiades’ Dust and appreciating it to the degree that I should have. It is difficult for me to write any sort of review that can encapsulate the brilliance this band conjures from what must be Stygian mires of another dimension. Gorguts constructs sonic narratives in ways seemingly unique to them. Pleiades’ Dust is saturated with atmosphere, forbidding and spectral, immersed in isolation, in tombs of desert sand. A single, thirty-three minute song that must be experienced in its entirety without interruption or distraction.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Jack Rafferty’s 2017 Best Album Cover Art

By Jack Rafferty

1.         The Black Dahlia Murder, Nightbringers

2.         Pure Wrath, Ascetic Eventide

3.         Havukruunu, Kelle Surut Soi

4.         Xanthochroid, Of Erthe and Axen Act II

5.         Bell Witch, Mirror Reaper

6.         Solstafir, Berdreyminn

7.         Bufihimat, I

8.         Cryptodira, The Devil’s Despair

9.         Caligula’s Horse, In Contact

10.       Fen, Winter

11.       Desolate Shrine, Deliverance from the Godless Void

12.       Unleash the Archers, Apex

13.       Dvne, Asheran

14.       Primitive Man, Caustic

15.       King Woman, Created in the Image of Suffering

16.       Cloak, To Venomous Depths

17.       Ezerath, Overture: The Heir Apparent

18.       Inanimate Existence, Underneath a Melting Sky

19.       Bask, Ramble Beyond