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, September 26, 2010

Whitesnake - Slide It In

Geffen, 1984

Reviewed by Kloghole

I can't remember when it was, but an Eric Clapton tune came on, and I had to stop what I was doing because I just couldn't fuckin' believe what I heard.  Ok, let me get this straight.  Did I just hear, "don't let my love flow out of you"?  Alright, maybe I am just reading into this.  The chorus of "Easy Now" repeats.  "Easy now, don't let my love flow out of you.  Please remember that I want you to come too."  Nope, that cinches the deal.  He's talking about not letting his fuckin' jiz slide out of her - blazing a snail trail down to her ankles.  No, I got to be some fuckin' pervert.  Let me give this another read.  Let's take a look at the lyrics and start from the top.  "Holding you, you holding me.  Everyone could see we were in ecstasy.  Making love against the wall."  Alright, what the fuck?   Clapton is a sick mother fucker.  Jesus Christ, I like my cock-rock, but I never expected all the fuckin' fluid talk from Clapton.

Oh, that reminds me of an interesting story.  I was working at this pizza joint - stop me if you heard this one.  I was the opening supervisory dude.  I would blast out Maiden and Def Leppard while pressing out the dough, drinking pickle juice to cut the hangover and waiting for the rest of the crew to show.  One morning, the back buzzer emitted its angry, uneven grind that sounded like a short circuited wire.  I open the door to see this dude that I recognized from some parties at friends' apartments.  Didn't know the fucker, but he seemed like a cool dude.  I look at him with my bloodshot eyes and aching head.  He blurts out, "I'm the new delivery guy."  I cut him off, closing one eye slightly in a pained grimace.  Grabbing my ample junk and rubbing it, I inquire, "Don't you fuckin' hate it when you have post-coital drip in the morning and your ball-sack is all fuckin' crusty in your underwear?"  His eyes widen, not sure what the fuck is going on, so I just instruct him, " Just stand over there by the sinks and look pretty.  The delivery dude should be showing up in a bit, and he'll tell you what's up."  From that point on, we got along famously.  Ah, those were the days.

Well, Eric Clapton's "Easy Now" is not the first time I read a little bit into a song.  I had a habit of coming up with perverted lyrics to existing songs.  For Prince's "Kiss," I would shout out in the bars, "You don't have to be rich to be my bitch, you don't have to be cool to be my screw" just to piss off the stupid fuckers listening to that bullshit.  For those fuckin' losers into Bon Jovi, I had a little for them.  "Shot through the dick, and you're to blame, you gave me a bad disease."  Then, I heard this Van Hagar tune, and I didn't have to change a word.  It was fucked up enough the way it was.  "Some kind of alien waits for the opening then pulls a string, love comes walkin' in."  Ok, sex while it is "that time of the month."  I can respect that, but do we really have to sing about it?  Other songs drip with overt references to sex and sex acts - fucking references, if you will.  Sammy Hagar's "Dick in the Dirt," Great White's "Down on Your Knees," and W.A.S.P.'s "Fuck Like a Beast" are pretty clear in their message.  While some bands dabbled in the sexual references or made them part of their kitschy, cock-rock, big hair, vacuous attempts at musical contributions, one band not only perfected the genre, but also set the standard by which none can hope to match - Whitesnake.

David Coverdale did not waste time with subtlety when naming the band.  Whitesnake tells you exactly what you are getting into, and it did not take too long for the cover art to likewise lack subtlety.  The album, Trouble, depicts a snake poised to strike with the unmistakable pink vulva set in the snake's open jaw.  Lovehunter is a little less vaginal, but has a quite pleasing-looking nude woman astride a dragon-like snake.  The vulva theme returns on Come an' Get It with a snake encased in a glass apple.  Whitesnake's pinnacle achievement, Slide It In, moves to more sedate imagery with a snake angling its way into a woman's cleavage.  Enough about the cover art, which I'm sure attracted quite a few horny pubescent males.

I am not sure that it is possible to really distance oneself from an album like Slide It In to give it a fair shake.  Misogyny and objectification of women is a serious problem, especially when we consider the 80's cock-rock genre as a whole.  I tend to avoid the term "butt rock" in that the fuckin' term came out of nowhere and makes no fuckin' sense to me.  Whoever came up with it is a fucking ass, and the people who use it tend to be buck-toothed, jag-offs that can't tell the difference between Warrant, Queensryche and Megadeth.  There are subtle and debatable differences between '80's metal that tends to fall into the big hair category - some of which can be considered cock-rock.  We may leave that to another review, but, in general, I think there is good cheese and bad cheese.  Can I get an amen, Reverend Jimmy!

I've always considered Whitesnake good cheese despite the misogyny.  I guess it is just the fuckin' solid rockin' from the groovin' blues of the early albums to the screaming riffs on Slide It In.  The album starts out with a tempting guitar hook hanging in thin air.  It stalls seductively before the repeat of the riff, then the rest of the band bursts into the song.  Mmmm, mother fucker.  Damn.  "Slide It In" then pulsates with sexual energy.  Just when you think the tension cannot get any tighter, we hear the gentle building of keyboards leading into the opening string-bend of "Slow an' Easy."  "Keep on pushing babe, like I've never known before... You know you drive me crazy child, an' I just wanna see you on the floor ..."  The song builds, and the drum starts pounding out a tempo.  This fucking song got me in a lot of trouble.  Son of a bitch.  You start mixing two-for-a-dollar drinks with $10 dollars, "Slow an' Easy" and a young women I can hardly remember pulling me onto the dance floor, you got a recipe for disaster.  "Rock me 'til I'm burned to the bone."  While I don't remember much of anything else from that night, it is hard to forget the pulsation of that song and a woman who is digging it even more than you.  

Not all the songs on the album are so hideously sexualized.  In fact, the majority of songs on the album avoid the overly sexualized references while maintaining a powerful energy and delivery.  "Love Ain't No Stranger" allows a dumb-ass to wallow in his self-destructed relationship.  "I was alone an' I needed love so much I sacrificed all I was dreaming of."  Perhaps that's why a woman in a bar is alluring enough to flush a relationship down the toilet, especially when I jumped headlong into the relationship I did not actively seek.

The use of timing, Coverdale's wailing voice, and intentional gaps to create emotion and energy all combine to deliver a phenomenal album.  Even the use of keyboards does not detract and actually adds atmosphere to the album.  Keyboards spelled the death of '80's metal as producers forced rock bands to incorporate keys (see Blackfoot's Vertical Smiles for definitive proof of my thesis).  Whitesnake's album is able to avoid that artificialiality since keys had always been a large part of their sound.  Overall, this album is diverse from slow songs to rockers, perverted to tender, and songs that build into a crescendo to those that burst right out the gates.  While I've heard about the debates with respect to the rerecording of the album with John Sykes, I can't compare the European and US versions of the album because I never had access to the European import.  I think it would be an interesting listen.

I still have a mix tape of Whitesnake songs.  I titled it, inappropriately enough, "All you need is a little piece of ass and a lot of Whitesnake."  Wishful thinking I guess, on both parts.  I should bust that fucker out again.

It is no secret that Whitesnake Slide it In has sweet sticky balls to spare.  It is one of those albums that gets regular repeated play.  This is a must have.  I give it three sweet sticky balls.  Now grab this album, crank it up, grab your closest love interest and create some sweet, sticky, post-coital drip of your own!
Sweet Dreams Mother Fuckers

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Knack - …But the Little Girls Understand

 (Capitol, 1980)

Review by Class Warrior

Is it strange that a person named Class Warrior loves power pop?  Strange it may be, but it’s true – I have an unrepentant admiration for catchy melodies and sugary sweet vocals.  I’m not very picky about it, either.  As long as it’s got hooks and a bit of style, I will listen, I will dance, I will sing along, I will play air guitar.  I’m not sure how to define what power pop is, but I know it when I hear it.  And the Knack is it!

Doug Fieger, the lead singer of the Knack, died on Valentine’s Day 2010.  His band deserves the honor of being the first power pop group to have their album reviewed on this prestigious website.  He may not be as famous as Ronnie James Dio in this neck of the internet, but his band’s music has meant as much to me (and many others) as Dio’s has to his vast legion of followers.  I love RJD, but I love the Knack even more.

Everyone knows their first album “Get the Knack.”  I vaguely remember “My Sharona” playing on the radio as a five- or six-year old.  That song was the big hit from the album, but it is filled with awesome power pop gems.  “Good Girls Don’t” is a particularly clever bit of misogyny (not that I condone such feelings toward women, but it’s hard to deny such a rocking song) but has some great lyrics encouraging oral sex – “An in-between age madness that you know you can’t erase / till she’s sittin’ on your face…”  I don’t mean to go on too much about an album I’m not reviewing here, but “My Sharona” contains the absolute best non-heavy metal guitar solo ever recorded.  I have played air guitar to that solo countless times.  Either that or air drums – the drumming on that album is totally intense.  Listen to the record and see if I’m lying or not.  If you’re reading reviews on this site, you’re probably a Hessian or (perhaps) a punk rocker, so you hate this stuff on sheer principle.  Give it a chance.  It might grow on you.  It’s an absolute classic.

“…But the Little Girls Understand,” their second album, isn’t as strong as their first effort, but it still has some very good songs.  It roars out of the gate with “Baby Talks Dirty,” which sounds great even though it’s a deliberate attempt to recreate the magic of “My Sharona.”  A band is allowed only so many strokes of genius, so it falls short of that goal.  Nevertheless, it rocks hard in its own right.  It does a good job batting leadoff on the album, which is all one can ask of a first song.

The three best songs on this album are: “I Want Ya,” a hard rocking hook-filled gem that sort of reminds me of the early Beatles for some reason; “It’s You,” yet another rocker with a very strong melody; and “You Can’t Put a Price on Love,” which is a tuneful ballad.  I’m a soft touch at times, so a good ballad can hit me right in the heart.  It sounds like a song that plays at 2 a.m. when the bar has just about cleared out, and you’re sitting there alone nursing your cheap beer and thinking about lost love and broken hearts.  Somehow the song makes you feel a little better as you stare at the foam lacing the glass.  “When push comes to shove, ooh baby, you gave me enough.”  So you go home and give it another try the next day.

Many of the remaining songs are enjoyable, but none are on the level of the four songs I’ve discussed so far.  At times it seems they are a little too strongly derivative of their influences.  There’s a Beach Boys song, a rockabilly number, a song with a slide blues solo, etc.  They’re well done, but, like I said, either not as rockin’ as the others or a little too unoriginal.

I wouldn’t mind if they threw in an occasional song about the revolution instead of singing about love all the time.  My ideal band would have the music of the Knack’s first album (or the Buzzcocks, take your pick!) and the lyrics of Bad Religion.  What a great fucking band that would be!

This album earns seven and a half (out of a possible ten) skinny ties.  It’s a bit uneven with filler songs here and there, but the best tunes are almost on par with the solid gold power pop nuggets on “Get the Knack”.  Odds are good that you, dear reader, wouldn’t touch this album with a ten-foot pole because you’re a big tough guy.  If this is how you feel, it’s your loss.  (In case you’re curious, “Get the Knack,” the archetypal power pop album, would rate ten skinny ties.)

Power pop rules!

As an aside, I have owned a skinny tie for the past fifteen years, but have not found an excuse to wear it.  Please, dear World, give me a reason.  Maybe I’ll have to create my own occasion.  I guess it won’t be at the next Knack concert.  RIP, Doug Fieger.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dax Riggs, Say Goodnight to the World

Fat Possum Records, 2010


Reviewed by Scott.

A few weeks ago, I made the journey out into a rainy and otherwise pretty shitty Sunday night to see Dax Riggs. He was playing at a tiny venue in New York – the kind of place where you have to carry your gear through the crowd to reach the stage, the best kind of place – and I had never seen him before. Riggs was once the singer for the legendary Acid Bath, and I think his eclectic vocal style – alternating between weird crooning and harsh screams – was the best part of the band’s sound. Since the demise of Acid Bath (tragic -- they broke up after the bassist died), Riggs has moved away from extreme metal and fully embraced the bluesy, rock and roll roots side of his previous band. He formed Agents of Oblivion and released one album of excellent stoner rock, and then Deadboy and the Elephant Men, which seems to have morphed into a Dax Riggs solo career (one album has been released under both the DBATEM and DR names). 

His newest, Say Goodnight to the World, is Riggs’s second proper solo album, and it sounds like a slightly more subdued version of 2007’s We Only Sing of Blood or Love. When I showed up at the venue a few weeks ago, I had only heard some clips of the songs and was planning to get the album that night. I was immediately impressed by the new material, and, looking back, it seemed like he played the entire album, or close to it (DR songs tend to be pretty short – nothing on We Only Sing of Blood or Love exceeds three minutes, and the new album only clocks in at around thirty five). 

But, as much as I appreciate Riggs as a vocalist, or thought I did, I was not prepared for his performance. Dax Riggs can sing like a motherfucker. It was mesmerizing. I don’t think I can describe the noises that came out of that guy, and just listening to the album doesn’t do him justice. That’s why I was so surprised: there’s a real intensity and control behind the voice, and when you hear it live , drenched with reverb, you hear something the recordings only hint at. Although Riggs’s musical style has changed since the Acid Bath days, his lyrical subject matter hasn’t, and when he’s wailing and howling and moaning about skulls, graves, suicide, insanity, demons, blood, and handful of other (constantly) recurring themes – well, it’s kind of creepy. Creepy in the way that certain old blues masters like Howlin’ Wolf can be, which is something I realized while they were playing Howlin’ Wolf between bands. 

Anyway, the album: it’s good. The music is straightforward: bluesy, stripped down, dark, a little hint of psychedelia here and there. There’s a feeling of stagnation in the songs,  in that nothing seems to go anywhere – drowsy riffs loop around themselves, simple bass lines creep along, and the tempos stay fairly constant, at least within individual songs. Overall the album rocks less than its predecessor, and it’s miles away from Acid Bath, but the mood fits Riggs’s voice well. 

If there’s one problem with this album, though, it’s that it occasionally seems like little more than a platform for the vocals. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and, in fact, might be good because it means there isn’t much to distract from Riggs’s singing. But the music can feel bland, and at certain moments you realize that the vocals aren’t just enhancing but sort of redeeming the album. It’s like the power and charisma of the vocals are what keep the music from sliding into mediocrity (not unlike some of Morrissey’s solo stuff).

That aside, Say Goodnight to the World is worth checking out. Along with the original material, there’s a cover of “Heartbreak Hotel” – a risky move, I think, and one that could have easily ended up sounding ridiculous. But Riggs pulls it off, and when he sings that famous line “I get so lonely baby, I could die,” he doesn’t sound like he’s fucking around. Other stand out songs are the title track, “I Hear Satan,” the more upbeat and awesomely named “Gravedirt On My Blue Suede Shirts” (which pretty well sums up the whole DR vibe), and the haunting “See You All in Hell or New Orleans.” Riggs walks a fine line between tongue-in-cheek macabre and genuinely haunting, sorrowful stuff, and you hear all of it on this album. But “See You All in Hell or New Orleans,” the closing track, is some serious shit – a mournful, despairing song that sounds like some of the quieter, more depressing moments on Down albums distilled into a swampy funeral dirge. It’s the song I couldn’t stop thinking about, walking back home through dark and rainy streets after the concert. Even if this ex-Acid Bath singer has left metal behind, he’s only getting better at the doom.

   

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dio - Dream Evil

Warner Brothers, 1987

I awoke in my bed, walked into the living room, and then found myself back in my bed again.  I tried another two or three times to get up, but I found myself back in bed.  The last time I attempted to get up, I ended up in my bathroom staring at my own decaying corpse, hallowed eyes reflected back at me in the mirror.  Terror struck at my very core.  I struggled to wake myself from my nightmare.  These dreams continued for years until I accepted them as simply part of my life.  The dreams dissipated but did not disappear.  The last instance was a morning I found myself paralyzed in my bed watching my girlfriend reading her homework.  I struggled awake, and asked my girlfriend, who was reading her homework, if I opened my eyes.  She said I did not stir.

I came to Dio's Dream Evil after I struggled with these nightmares, but the notion resonated with me.  I knew dream evil firsthand.  I was not dissuaded when the keyboard chugs out the opening cords of "Night People."  "Do you like the dark? ... Do you come alive when neon kills the sun?"  Sleeping was not a high priority when your dreamscape is high-jacked by terror.  I had learned to stay up late and toss restlessly through the morning light.  I was night people.

Dio moves into melodic crushing that he built his career on.  "Dream Evil" speaks of the "dark that you find in the back of your mind."  He implores, "Don't open the door. ... Don't sleep any more."  I could only escape my nightmares when I crossed through a gate, accepting the terror that awaited me.  I did open the door, but I simply did not care anymore.  Something had changed in my life where I was able to allow one part of myself to die and give up.  I no longer felt pain or fear.  Another part of me still beats with compassion, longing and heart, but they were now separated, destined to swing wildly in opposition like two fighters bound together.

The next few songs amp up the emotion and demonstrate the full power of Dio's brilliance.  "Sunset Superman" is one of those songs whose chorus rings through your mind like a metronomic cowbell.  At random times, I find my mind singing out "Sunset Superman."  Such a powerful lyrical melody.  Frankly, I have lost sight of the song, but cannot get the resonant chorus out of my mind.  "Sunset Superman."

"All the Fools Sailed Away" is what a power ballad is all about.  It lacks the full-on cheese the drips out of bastardized publishing company darlings.  And when I say cheese, I am meaning, literally, the desiccated semen and vaginal fluids congealing on one's private parts after an evening of drug and alcohol fueled coitus between two disgustingly whorish partners.  With Dio, the song develops into a crescendo of emotion unhampered by the pretenses of catering to male or female hormones for maximum market share.  Dio allows me to enjoy the mellow lament of the lyric, "I never fail to be astounded by the things we'll do for promises and a song" without feeling like I need to wash the stink of some cock-rock band out of my mind.

I have a special affection for "Naked in the Rain" because I always want to run around naked in the rain.  There is something just damn sexy about the idea.  I am going to have to try it before I begin to look like the Pillsbury dough boy.  I think Dio was talking about stripping away pretenses, but I prefer to think of me dancing around in my altogethers with nothing to hide and a nice downpour tickling my bare ass.

I guess I could go on, but the rest of the album beats out a strong pulse.  "Overlove" is dynamic while "I Could Have Been a Dreamer" laments.  "Faces in a Window" and "When a Woman Cries" closes the album.

Dio's album is meaningful to me in many ways.  It captures the terror of teenage nightmares but also the longing for a different future - an overcoming of fear.  It is also just a solid metal album full of a range of emotions.  I've enjoyed all Dio's albums - some more than others, but only because I have had differing amounts of time to become acquainted with them.  When I heard that DIo had passed, I was taken aback.  I tend to keep the lives and deaths of people in the media in perspective, but some touch me more than others.  Dio was the same age as my mother when she passed, just a number of months before.  I understand how deeply personal such a loss is at that age for family and friends.  As fans, we cannot possibly understand their loss, but we are touched by Dio's brilliance and will miss his contributions to our life.

While it is not the same, we all have shared a bit in his life in little ways.  I will never forget the show Dio played in Springfield, Oregon in a tiny, now defunct, bar.  He was ground level with his band, crow-barred into some nook and cranny in the middle of the club.  My friend (SoDak) and I crammed forward to gaze over the crowd to see Dio just a few feet from where we stood.  At one point, I remember him looking back at his band members, stuffed uncomfortably behind him.  He gave an expression of, "do you believe how fucking crazy this crowd is?" and the band members shrugged.  He turned back and rocked on with renewed vigor.

Rock on Ronnie!  Your music is a buffet of sweet sticky balls.  It was great while it lasted.  Thank you!

Sweet Dreams Motherfuckers,

Kloghole

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New Bomb Turks – Destroy-oh-Boy!

(Crypt, 1993)

Review by Class Warrior

What was the best punk album from the 1990s?  Unfortunately, there are some pretty slim pickings.  Despite a wave of renewed interest in punk rock brought about by various elements (including Bad Religion’s almighty Suffer album reviewed earlier), punks just weren’t making very much good music.  There were some exceptions, certainly, but the ratio of good punk to mediocre/bad stuff was pretty low.

The New Bomb Turks put out this album right after I was really starting to get into the punk underground.  1992 was the beginning year of my discovery of some great music.  I’d been listening to Bad Religion, Black Flag, and similarly well-known bands before then.  When I discovered bands like NBT and Christ on a Crutch and older bands like Blitz, Icons of Filth, and Asta Kask, my mind was blown.  The world of punk rock opened up to me, and it was a lot larger than I had believed previously.

NBT’s songs on this album meet at the intersection of straight-ahead punk rock, early eighties hardcore, and earlier forms of rock from the fifties and sixties.  Tons of energy, hooks aplenty, major chords, an occasional dirt-encrusted guitar lead, and speed, speed, speed.  They went on to craft several more albums, but none of them match Destroy-oh-Boy, their masterpiece.

I am a firm believer that an album’s best song should be second.  The first song should have a “meet the band” sort of feel, if that makes any sense.  In spite of this, I can’t complain about the first (and best) tune, “Born Toulouse-Lautrec”.  Not only does it introduce you to NBT’s sound, but also they begin the long tradition of using clever plays-on-word for song titles.  This song starts off the album right, with big buzzing guitars, galloping drums, and lots of cymbal clashes.  Eric Davidson puts his sneer to excellent use.  He has one of those voices that is instantly recognizable, which, of course, helps to set NBT apart from run-of-the-mill bands.  The lyrics for the song are great too – they feature a nice socialist sentiment and a big jab at artists who think they’re better than everyone else by virtue of their “talent.”  But damn, this song could be about anything and it would still be fucking awesome!  Toward the end of the song it feels like Eric is whipping the rest of the band into a massive frenzy as he shouts “do it boys” and “go!”  This song is a perfect distillation of all the punk rock (and plain old rock) that came before it, while adding NBT’s own fabulous energy to the mix.  Perfect – I do not use this word lightly.  If I made you a mix CD of the best punk songs (hell, the best rock songs) ever, this song would be on there, and it would be one of the first songs I would choose.  It is the Babe Ruth of punk songs.  Heavy, decadent, but it still knocks your ass out of the ballpark every time.

The rest of the album, while excellent, cannot hope to hold up to the heights achieved by “Born Toulouse-Lautrec.”  It is full of great songs, but none of them are quite at that level.  One of my favorites is “Tattooed Apathetic Boys”, which interrupts its speediness with slowed down parts and shouts of “oh yeah, yeah, yeah!”  They also do a half-speed cover of “Mr. Suit” by Wire, which kicks Wire’s ass.

I almost saw this band live in 1994, when they were at the height of their powers, but my ride never showed up.  He was too drunk to function, let alone drive.  An acquaintance of mine saw them that night; he said that they were so good he followed them to their next tour date.  Damn.  I don’t have very many regrets (or at least I don’t have regrets that I’m willing to share here!), but missing NBT is one of them.  This one ranks up there with never having seen the Ramones before they all died.

I used to listen to this album every day during the early and mid 90s.  I don’t listen to it very often anymore, but whenever I pull it out, it still rocks me as hard as ever.  It’s a great album to listen to if you need to get pumped up to do something.  It contains so much energy that it’s hard not to get infected by it.  It is a great sex album if you can find a partner who likes to rock out while between the sheets.  (To those of you who ask if I’m talking about my own love life, I say “no comment”.)  I deem it worthy of 9 out of 10 punk points.  If they had another song that was the equal of “Born Toulouse-Lautrec” on there, it would be a ten point album.

The astute reader will notice that, over the last few months, I have rated a “best punk album” from the 1980s, 1990s, and the 2000s.  “Where is the 70s album?” you ask.  I’m not going to review one because everyone knows the best album is the Ramones’ first LP, which is so well-known they play “Blitzkrieg Bop” at sporting events.  It is my favorite album ever, and it should be yours, too.  I’d rather turn my attention (and yours) to some lesser-known punk and hardcore gems instead of talking about a record that everyone knows is great.  If you don’t have it, go buy it.  You will not regret your purchase.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Triumph – Never Surrender

RCA Records, 1983


Reviewed by, Jimmy “Explosive Diarrhea” B.

Ronald Reagan, the red menace, missiles, wolverines, Reaganomics, nuclear fallout, duck and cover, Brezhnev and Andropov, nuclear winter, certain death…TOO MUCH…TOO MUCH…

…TOO MUCH THINKING. In 1983, the same year Triumph released Never Surrender, I was thirteen years old and was facing imminent destruction at the hands of a senile despot and Hollywood Cowboy named Ronnie. I remember sitting in social studies class in the early eighties reading that brilliantly compiled propaganda news rag called the Weekly Reader about how the evil Soviets were developing nukes that would melt the flesh from my bones when they hit the nearby air force base. I was guilty of too much thinking on the topics of death, and my lack of future. I remember being constantly panicked about nuclear war. Naturally, I went to my equally panicked parents, who were equally subjected to propaganda, for comfort they could not provide.

I have no idea what Triumph’s song “Too Much Thinking” means; the lyrics are a mess, but it really doesn’t matter. The refrain, “Too Much Thinking,” defined the early 80s for me. In fact, Triumph defined my early teen years. They were my first musical obsession, and a first rate distraction from Cold War politics. Within months of being introduced to Triumph by a young hippie dude in the eighth grade, I had all of the Triumph cassettes available from Pamida.

Triumph gets unfairly compared to Rush, primarily because they are a power trio of talented musicians. There are similarities. In their early days Triumph occasionally ventured into prog. territory with some extraordinarily long songs, and like Rush didn’t get much radio play. But unlike Rush, most of Triumph’s music, thanks the limits arising from a merely mortal drummer, are easily accessible to casual music fans, and the vocals are smooth and pleasing to the ears. Triumph also showcases, what I still believe, is one of the great classic rock guitar players, Rik Emmett. Emmett on nearly every album performs either a long solo or rips into a Spanish guitar, or blues solo.

Musically, Never Surrender is guitar rock in the same vein as bands like Styx, and Boston, but unlike the hit-makers of the 70s and 80s Triumph’s catalog offers enough musical prowess, musical oddness, and musical variety to satisfy intellectual music snobs (although they probably wouldn’t admit it). Never Surrender represents Triumph in the early stages of a metamorphosis; they were surrendering their progish roots to become a failed radio friendly hit maker. Two albums later the change is complete, and I caution you to stay away from those steaming piles of excrement. Never Surrender contains a mix of driving rock songs, nice acoustic moments and cheese. Sometimes all three show up in the same song (see the video below). The album overall feels tired and stretched like the band doesn't quite know what do with their musical vision. All the elements that define Triumph's career are present, but they are somewhat lifeless compared to earlier albums. The band, by '83, had become reliant on Emmett's guitar skills rather than on composition and complexity. Gone are the multilayered masterpieces of other albums.

Never Surrender is not Triumph’s best album, it’s not even in their top three, but it will always be my favorite (for Triumph at their best, check out either Play the Game or Rock and Roll Machine). Never Surrender was a gateway album for me. It was one of my first forays into hard rock; it lead me to an ongoing love affair with music, and helped bring me together with a group of oddball music fans/taint ticklers who continue to help me cope with the darkness of life in the modern world.

I tickled my taint for 8.0 (7.0 musically plus 1.0 for nostalgia) minutes. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Facepilot

Myspace:www.myspace.com/facepilot

Reviewed by Dave.

Today I am reviewing the debut self titled full length release from Facepilot. This is a group of solid musicians who don't put any limits on the musical genres they are interested in exploring. If I had to really try to tie it together in a word or phrase I'd say for the most part it's a really hard driving record. In my opinion, the overall vibe reminds me of early Helmet or Tad. It's like seeing crazy ol' Bob come roaring down a back road in his old '82 Ford pickup, with a 12 gauge cradled in his left arm and that frightening gleam in his eyes. You know the man means business, and things are bound to get ugly for anyone in his way.

It would be easy to say this is just another post hardcore album. There are definite nods to the Amprep bands of the nineties in the use of dissonance and jarring time changes. These elements however, are used tastefully to the bands credit.

Most of the songs on this album are really about no frills heavy handed riff rock. The drums pound mercilessly, the bass roars thick with distortion , the guitar rages franticly bouncing from spasms of minor key dissonance to driving classic metal chugging, passages of dirge-like doom and even moments of spaced out psychedelia. The vocals are furious tirades about your garden variety social ills such as people's cats, Alaska and pink bunnies.

One of my favorite things about this record is the fact that the more experimental elements of the songs work well within the overall compositions and things never get too chaotic. This really gives the moments of chaos that much more power leaving a stronger impact on the listener.

I do pride myself in being an even handed reviewer and not some slobbering fan boy so I would have to say this is not the most original material I've heard. While I really do like the clever arrangements and the way the different musical styles are put together in a really focused solid way, there really isn't anything new going on here. It's basically an auditory collage of Botch, the Jesus Lizard, Eyehategod and Acid Mothers Temple which is pretty rad. Besides, part of the original anarchist movement from the start of the 20th century was collage art so I say more power to them.

In spite of the fact this not the most original material, I really do enjoy Facepilot. They play with a lot intensity, raw energy and humor that really comes through strongly on this recording which is not an easy thing to pull off. I do also really like the fact that they maintain an excellent balance between technicality and brute force.

Using Jimmy's time honored scale of 1 to 10 minutes in reference to the auto erotic pleasure produced by this album I'll give 8 minutes.