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

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Anvil – Speed of Sound

(Massacre Records, 1988)

Homepage: http://my.tbaytel.net/~tgallo@tbaytel.net/anvil/

Reviewed by Jimmy "Explosive Diarrhea" B.

This is another one of those reviews that was originally posted on Dave's, now defunct, music review website. I think I wrote this two years ago.

Question: What happens when you mix iron and Viagra? Answer: your erection points north. Get it? It points north like a compass, because it contains iron. All right so I’m not a comedian, but I do know metal music. And for my latest installment I am going to review Anvil’s Speed of Sound album, which always makes my erections point north, toward Toronto, Canada, home of Anvil.

Dave and I went to see the film, The Story of Anvil, a couple of weeks ago. It got me excited about the early years of metal. I have been listening to bands like Exciter, Omen, Attacker, and of course Anvil all week. Sometimes I forget how pleasurable straight ahead, in your face, fuck you heavy metal can be when it is done right. And few bands did it better than Anvil. The early years of Anvil were common in the underground music scene; they blazed a trail, but got trampled by a herd of revisionists.

Would you believe that these guys put out their first album in 1981? I discovered them around ’88; I was enthralled by the song Blood on the Ice on the Pound for Pound album. The most striking thing about Speed of Sound is that it demonstrates Anvil’s musical progression, but retains that simplistic riff mania that is classic Anvil. If you have been in the metal scene for a while you will remember all of those terrible sell out albums in the mid and late eighties – remember Celtic Frost’s Cold Lake album or Stay Hard by Raven. Bad stuff! How bad was it? So fucking bad I could shit! The bands made a few bucks, and suffered the shame of selling out for the rest of their careers. Anvil was different; they NEVER sold out, and judging by Speed of Sound the years have been good to the boys from Toronto.

There are three things that separate Speed of Sound from earlier Anvil albums. The most obvious, which won’t surprise any fan of ‘80s metal, is production. Eighties metal had the worst production of any genre of music ever! Second, there is more emphasis on melody. Yikes! Did I actually say melody? Indeed I did, but we’re not talking about any sissy power metal melody. No, my friends, this is testosterone driven, horns in the air melody. What I am really driving at is that there was a disconnect between the vocals and the music in Anvil’s early years which is entirely absent on Speed of Sound. Finally, Anvil’s lyrics are more socially aware than in the past. The band is no longer simply playing anthem metal. They are talking about social alienation in a world controlled by heartless corporations; they are expressing outrage at terrorism, and they are taking some swipes at asshole fathers who won’t support their offspring.

By now you have probably noticed that I like Speed of Sound. I think it contains some of Anvil’s best work. The songs "Bullshit," and "Park that Truck" are not only my favorite songs on the album, but my favorite Anvil songs period. No Evil is a damn good song as well. But, I do have a complaint; the song "Mattress Mambo" is fucking atrocious. I suspect this song was used as filler. I have no other explanation for why such a shitty song would appear on an otherwise great album. Doesn’t the world already have enough cheesy songs about fucking? YAARRGGHH!!

So, here are my final thoughts on Speed of Sound: it is an updated, slightly polished up version of the Anvil of old. It is raw, angry and fun metal. If you are the kind of person who loves listening to competent furious riff rock with an eighties edge then Speed of Sound is for you, but if you are looking for something progressive or fast as fuck then your dollars will be better spent elsewhere. This gem gets an 8.5 rating; the only thing that keeps it from getting a 9.0 is the awful “Mattress Mambo.”

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dio – Sacred Heart

(Warner Bros., 1985)

Reviewed by SoDak

I must admit that when Ronnie James Dio sang in Black Sabbath (the first time) from 1979 to 1982, I really did not pay attention or care. It was only much later, thanks to Jimmy “Explosive Diarrhea,” that I went back to listen to Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules. Having said that, I was familiar with Dio, as a vocalist. My neighbor listened to the early Rainbow records, which I enjoyed. But, like many people my age, I became a fan of Dio when I heard “Rainbow in the Dark” in 1983. I am still fascinated by this song with the heavy, slow guitar riff and the strange keyboard sound. I fondly remember hearing this song blasting from speakers at the state fair in South Dakota in the early to mid 1980s. Somehow it seemed appropriate given the vibe of the carnival. One thing is certain, Dio can sing. He has a big fuckin’ voice that is quite distinctive. He stands among the best, as far as metal vocalists.

Dio’s third solo album, Sacred Heart, is commonly seen as one of—or being among—his weakest records. I do not dispute this point. It is dismissed as being clichĂ© and filled with weak anthem songs. OK, fine, but this is true of much of rock music. Nonetheless, this record serves as a marker for me. I saw Dio for the first time on this tour. He played July 7, 1986, in Rapid City, South Dakota. As a special bonus, Accept was the opening act, in support of their record Metal Heart. As a teenager in a city where generally only country and metal bands played in the local arena, it was special concert. Both bands were energetic and put on a great show. (While I did not know him then, I believe that Jimmy “Explosive Diarrhea” was also at this concert.)

Sacred Heart is a more mainstream record than the previous releases and most of the albums that he put out after this one. The record starts with the sound of an audience cheering, as the song “King of Rock and Roll” takes off. There are so many songs about rock and roll, and few of them are interesting. This is the case here. It is a forgettable song. “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children,” on the same record, is marginally better, as it speaks of the loneliness that numerous youth experience. Some of the songs on this record are formulaic and plodding, such as “Another Lie.” The only thing that saves many of the songs is Dio’s vocals. He sings as if he believes every word he says. He desperately wanted to reach out and let the scorned and scarred of this world know that he cared. He seemed so earnest, and I value this aspect of his character.

Dio sings about a lot of make-believe shit, such as dragons, wizards, angels, demons, heaven, and hell. I was never really into mystical-fantasy tales. Perhaps it is a lack of imagination on my part. But I can appreciate that he is generally describing a great struggle to survive in an inhumane world and that he wants to offer hope to people. This is all fine. But I have to admit that I never really paid too much attention to the lyrics. I remember the chorus and little parts of the songs. There are a lot of references to dreamers, dancers, and being free. From time to time, he told an interesting story within a song. Often he left me scratching my head, wondering what the fuck he was going on about. In the song “Sacred Heart,” he sings, “You fight to kill the dragon, you bargain with the beast, and sail into a sigh, you run along a rainbow, and never leave the ground, and still you don’t know why.” Ah, OK. I am not sure what to say. I suppose that this is because I have never sailed into a sigh…or sailed at all. I get it, as far as this song is concerned, when you dream you imagine possibilities for the future—or as he puts it: “Whenever you dream, you’re holding the key, it opens the door, to let you be free.”

When this record was released, I bought the cassette tape. I listened to side two (or side B, if you prefer) more often than the flipside. The latter half of the record seemed more cohesive and solid. “Hungry for Heaven,” a song that was used in the film Vision Quest, is the opening track on side two. It is a slower, more melodic song, with a ringing guitar and a decent keyboard part. Of course there is the dancer, who dances on air and is about to fall. The dancer is also a dreamer who is told to “reach for the stars, and you will find, you’re hungry for heaven…but you need a little help.” At times, these lyrics start to sound a like a self-help book. But I must admit that I do like the simplicity of the song. It is a catchy tune.

“Like the Beat of a Heart” has a more driving guitar riff that, along with the vocals, sounds a little foreboding. The song even has a couple stop and start parts and builds in tension as the song progresses. In many ways, these dynamics, which continue on the rest of the songs, are what make side two much better than side one. “Just Another Day” is also a more rockin’ tune, where the guitar and vocals propel the song forward at a nice clip. Dio’s vocals are powerful here. He pleads us to break from the chains that restrict us and make us live our lives as if it is just another day. Is Sacred Heart a great record? The answer is: No. But it does have some good songs that embody many of the things that are classic about Dio.

In 2001, I saw Dio play in a tiny, shitty bar in Springfield, Oregon. Kloghole and I jumped at the opportunity to see him play. I just thought it would be great to see Dio play again. I am not sure what I expected. But I must say that the show was awesome—much better than the concert in 1986. It was very intimate, as the band members and crowd shared sweat. The band sounded incredible and fed off of the energy of the crowd. It was one of the best concerts I had seen in a long time. It reminded me of how great it is to see rock shows in small clubs. In many ways, this event rekindled my interest in Dio. Null, who also posts reviews on this site, only fed this pursuit, when he called a couple years later, asking me what I thought about Dio. He remarked that he had seen some interviews with Dio, who seemed like a good human being. As a result, Null and I have spent countless hours over the last few years talking about Dio. I did not expect this, as I generally associated Dio with my youth. But it has been a real joy to continue to enjoy this music, to discover additional insights about who Dio was, and to appreciate how impressive he was as a singer. He could howl and he could whisper. He made his mark and he did it with dignity.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

D.O.A. - Murder

(Restless Records 1990)

Reviewed by Null

What’s wrong Murder? Nothing.

People often criticize D.O.A.’s 1990 release as being prodding and slower than their other records. I will not deny that this is the case, however I rather enjoy it when bands break from their usual style and expand out a little bit (all rock music is so similar in structure that from an outsider’s view this may seem like a ridiculous statement). Still, I am tired of hearing people slag this great D.O.A. album. Sure, it may not be the greatest D.O.A. release; it may not have the quick tempo tracks that many have come to expect from the legendary Canadian punk rock band but it is a classic punk rock record.

It is true that many of the riffs are slower and more prodding -- think 70’s Aerosmith meets punk rock minus the cocaine and add a brain. The production is a little tinny as well. I picked this record up years ago after falling in love with the great collaboration between Jello Biafra & D.O.A.: the EP - Last Scream Of The Missing Neighbors (Alternative Tentacles 1989). Last Scream… showed a shift in D.O.A.’s sound. The guitars were much more “metal” sounding than on previous releases and the production was very thick…very full. Taking this into consideration it is easy to understand the shift in sound and style upon the release of Murder a year later.

Furthermore, the record is a classic punk rock record because of its heartfelt critique of economic and political systems. The album has several recurring themes including consumerism, imperialism and apartheid. “We Know What You Want” and “Guns, Booze, & Sex,” condemn the consumerism of an irrational economic system. “Boomtown” and “No Productivity” illustrate the results of an economic system in which human beings and entire communities descend into despair as a result of the “market:”

     well the jobs were there, but they ain't no more.
      now your starin' at a closed factory door.
      and the banker, he don't give a damn.
      he'd walk right over a dyin' man

“Banana Land” is a tragic and comedic portrait of deforestation and exploitation:

     welcome to our banana land,
     our representatives exploit the land.
     in the tradition of the father land.
     now there's a land up in the north
     where they work on both sides of the street
     paying workers just enough to live
     and nothin' when they're out of trees

In “African Security” Joey Shithead, in classic punk style, even complains about the stink of the military police and murder squads that regularly break into peoples homes, he “can’t get the smell out of the house!” I could go on and on. D.O.A. have always had great lyrics, although I am not familiar with all of D.O.A.’s work, the songs on this album show a great degree of sophistication. The lyrics I sighted do not do the album justice. It was upon listening to this album that I realized just how informed Joey Shithead is about the trends and results of an economic system that puts human welfare and development at the bottom of the “to do” list. When I was young, it helped me understand and investigate some of the processes inherent in capitalism. It taught me things and pushed me forward and it rocked me the fuck out. Can we ask more of a great punk rock record?

These are only some of the reasons that Murder is a bona fide punk rock classic!Unfortunately, Murder is currently out of print, however, a used copy can be obtained if one seeks it out. Murder also contains the best version of “The Midnight Special” I have ever heard, complete with rattling machine gun fire and a sound bite from Nelson Mandela.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Christ on a Crutch – Crime Pays When Pigs Die

(New Red Archives, 2001)
Reviewed by SoDak
Utah Phillips, the radical folk singer, pointed out that part of the power of Wobbly songs was the directness of the lyrics. For example, “Dump the Bosses Off Your Backs” contained a clear statement in regard to power and exploitation. He contrasted this to poetic protest songs, such as Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” suggesting that much of this music was for middle-class consumption. He was not dismissing Dylan and his music, but he was making the point that blunt lyrics can be important, especially when it comes to assigning responsibility for the state of the world. In the mid-1980s, I was captivated by the energy of punk rock. More than this, I was excited to discover bands such as Crass and the Subhumans that protested the system of class exploitation and imperialism. In many ways, punk rock seemed to address the issues that I was increasingly concerned with at the time. Now there are a slew of bands that I loved, some more musically talented than others, but this issue was never my main concern, as I can appreciate bands for other reasons. I always had a special place for punk rock bands that were very direct, in the same spirit as the Wobblies.
In 1991, Christ on a Crutch floored me with their record Crime Pays When Pigs Die. I thought that their previous record, Spread the Filth, was interesting, but I was not terribly impressed. Nonetheless, I bought Crime Pays When Pigs Die when it was released. The title of the record and the picture of the policeman picking up the little girl on the cover peeked my curiosity. This record is much more powerful and intense than the previous record. Plus the recording is much better. The guitar is very much upfront, and the bass and drums drive every song forward, as if each song is racing against time. Christ on a Crutch was not the most original punk rock band. But they were solid. They played hard-driving, fast-paced songs. The vocals are primary yelling, but the words for the most part are quite clear.
When listening to Crime Pays When Pigs Die, it is immediately apparent that this is a pissed off band. At this point in time, George H.W. Bush was in office, and the United States was waging war against Iraq. Religious fundamentalism, police brutality, poverty, and mass consumerism were just as common as they are today. The songs are filled with images of pigs with guns and badges brutalizing people, of businesses sending jobs overseas to decrease labor costs and to exploit distant lands, of politicians making deals with the rich and fucking over the public, and of the poisoning of the air, land, and water by a system predicated on the constant accumulation of capital.
Rage erupts from almost all of the songs. “Sleep of Reason” addresses the selling of war to the public and the sanitized depiction of war in which the consequences of dropping bombs on cities is not depicted. “You saw destruction from the sky, but never once viewed those who died, the haunting sight of blood soaked sand that never burdened ‘T.V.’ land, watched our nation swallow shit and made the war a prime time hit.” Dutifully people tie yellow ribbons around trees, “no need to watch the senseless slaughter of loving mother’s sons and daughters.”
“North Richland” depicts the toxic legacy of the Hanford plant in Washington state, as radioactive waste pollutes the northwest. “Nation of Sheep” opens “Alienation has become a way of life” in a world filled with minimum-wage jobs. Frustration boils to the surface declaring: “I can’t believe you people don’t fuck it up, start turning up the heat, let’s go trash the homes of those who’ve put two million people on the street.” But folks are too scared to organize and act, and the system rolls on, crushing people underneath the wheels.
July 1991, Christ on a Crutch played with 411 and Spitboy in Rapid City, South Dakota. The show was awesome. I rocked the fuck out all night, enjoying every band. The singer of Christ on a Crutch had a hernia. During their entire set, he had to sing hunched over, with a hand at his groin, preventing his intestines from collecting in this nutsack. When you listen to this record, you will understand that his vocal style, his yell, is one that creates a lot of internal pressure that would result in downward pressure within his body. Nonetheless, he performed beautifully. After almost twenty years, my shirt from this show is threadbare. I wish I had a replacement.
Two of my favorite songs are “Fish People” and “In on Your Joke.” The former is a pissed off number focused on how inhumane Christian fundamentalists are. The latter is a catchy song, as far as this band is concerned. The vocals stand out, clearly articulating anger: “It’s your salvation that leaves me in eternal hell, it’s your complacent life of shit that leaves me choking on the smell of; ruined lives and wasted minds and doomed ideas, that leave people shot down in the street, children cold with nothing to eat, the homeless with their shoeless feet, while fatcats and their wealthy hags pass people living out of bags.” With frustration, the singer asks where can we find hope. While not necessarily identifying a means for change, the song ends on an interesting rant: “When generals are struck dead from the sky, and politicians are victims of their lies, when all cops are locked in jail, and all the priests have gone to hell, when lawyers rot in growing heaps, and all the world leaders are buried deep, that’s the day, that’s the day I’ll find my hope.”
Crime Pays When Pigs Die clocks in at less than twenty-six minutes. Each song is an explosion of energy, releasing pent up frustration. The anger is frank and rather refreshing, given the persistence of social ills and war. I would love to hear a record by a new band erupting with similar sentiments. While not the most innovative band musically, Christ on a Crutch made a classic punk rock record that kicks ass.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Diesto- Isle of Marauder


Reviewed by Dave.

I just got through listening to the latest offering from Diesto- Isle of Marauder. It is a shambling, slightly drunken, bombastic collection of heavy weight cemetery dirges. Diesto has a unique sound that you really love or really hate. The overall feel of the album is incredibly gritty, overwhelming the listener with huge, crashing, slightly detuned open chords and monstrous swinging grooves.

This is definitely a northwest band laying out classic lo-fi sludge with definite nods to bands such as Tad, early Melvins and Karp. It's murky, relentless, unabashed, unpretentious power trash(again something you love or hate). The record reminds me of countless weekends spent in front of bonfires drinking Hamms, daydreaming about escape from the mind numbing boredom of rural Oregon.

Sonicly it's a pretty interesting album, the guitar players prefer a rather subdued scuzzy fuzz over the standard razor sharp distortion most metal guitarists opt for. A lot of the guitar sounds in my mind actually lean more towards a loose raw almost jangly sound along the lines of Mission of Burma, mutated by fuzz and brutally bent notes. The vocals are high pitched howls of fury that are, I think, pretty inimitable and lend a nice contrast the dark tones of the rest of the music. The heavier elements of this album's sound are laid out by the bass and the drums tie everything together solidly. The playing style is kinda rough and jarring which lends to the gritty, salt of the earth, blue collar intensity of this recording.

I also really like the way it sounds at points like the guitar players are trying to bend the life out of each note and then just hang there to create even more tension only to come back with big crashing metal chords. At high volumes stuff like that really gets the hair on the back of the neck standing up.

OK now it's time for the airing of grievances, this is a review not an advertisement. Although the guitarists use interesting chords they don't really do much with them. The riffs on this album seem very generic and there aren't any interesting musical progressions that really reach out and grab me as a listener. Maybe the bass player does some interesting stuff here and there but you can't really hear it because the guitars overwhelm everything else. The album sounds pretty big because of this, but I think it could sound even bigger if more room was made for the powerful accents of the drums and the burly rumbling bass. While the vocal delivery is unique it is rather monotone and seems kind of like a place holder due to the fact that the lyrics are pretty unintelligible. For me it just boils down a band with an interesting sounds that, in my humble opinion, could expand a bit in the song writing department, it gets rather boring and repetitive about half way through.

I really want to like this album, but as mentioned above I just feel there are a couple key elements missing. The murky guitar parts all kind of blend together after a while and bury everything else in the milleau. Regardless I will be interested in seeing what these guys come up with next.

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 6.7 minutes.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wrinkle Neck Mules- Pull the Brake

(Shut Eye Records, 2006)

Reviewed by SoDak

The band Wrinkle Neck Mules hails from Richmond, Virginia. In 2003, I bought their first record, Minor Enough. Of the new Americana bands that year, they captured my interest. They were obviously talented, incorporating a touch of bluegrass alongside their twang. More than this, they seemed gritty, presenting shadowy images within their catchy songs. I eagerly awaited their next releases. In 2005, they put out a six song EP, titled Liza, followed the next year by the full-length record Pull the Brake. It was immediately obvious that the band had found its stride: great songs and strong production. The band changes pace from song to song, with band members taking turns on lead vocals. As a result, their records remain dynamic and interesting. Wrinkle Neck Mules create a distinctive groove that is easy to settle into when casually listening to a record. There are plenty of choruses that make a listener want to sing along, almost not noticing the dark tales that often lurk within the songs.

“Liza,” the opening song on both the EP and Pull the Brake, kicks off with a pleasant guitar that is then propelled forward by the banjo. “Oh, Liza, oh Liza, it’s time, to make our run in the night.” At first it seems that a young boy wants to escape with the girl that he loves, to flee from their families, so they can be together. But when following the story, a very different picture emerges. The girl knows that the boy is crazy. The father of the girl warns the boy to stay away from his daughter. The boy, however, is obsessed with the girl and nothing will stand in his way. He sneaks up the house to take the girl. He shoots the girl’s brother. It is also suggested that the father is killed. And by the end of the song, it does not seem that all will end well for Liza, who the boy declares is finally his.

Wrinkle Neck Mules follow this opening track with “Okeechobee”—a song that depicts lazy summer days in the South. There is a strong sense of place here—a world filled with snakes and trees. “With a forearm tan and a bottle is where I will be.” One day the narrator brings a woman to this land that he loves. She hates the place. She “couldn’t stand the heat and mosquitoes. Said I had to choose, bet she never thought she’d lose. When it comes to the one that I love, it’s plain to see. It’s my sweet, sweet, sweet Okeechobee.” He is content to stay in his little shack, with pealing paint. He has his “four wheel drive and a three-gun rack.” The windshield on his truck is cracked, but he can see clearly. Whenever he has to leave, he looks back on the land that he loves.

A couple years ago, I saw Wrinkle Neck Mules play at the Berkeley Café in Raleigh, North Carolina. They put on a great show, filling their set with old songs and brand new songs. They played whatever requests the audience yelled. It seemed that they would have played all night, if they had things their way. The members of the band took turns on lead vocals. From time to time, there were blistering guitar leads, bending strings to the breaking point. Band members traded leads throughout songs, pushing each other to tear it up, whether it was on the banjo, mandolin, or guitar. As to be expected there were plenty of songs that spoke of beer, whiskey, methadone, broken hearts, women, being broke, death, and foolishness.

“Lowlight” is an outstanding track on Pull the Brake. A darkness swirls throughout the song. The individual is “digging and scratching,” collecting cans, just to get by. Malt liquor helps pass the time. “I know its you out there in the lowlight.” A special treat of this song is that Bonnie “Prince” Billy sings harmony and a verse. A break in the song sets up the transition for Billy’s lead: “Pennies on the dollar. Shine on boys we’re going to make them scream and holler.” A guitar rings out underneath the song, as the events taking place in a mysterious trailer are hidden from sight. The distance separating people grows as the song slows and fades.

Starting with the drums, “Push the Pedal” glides along on great guitar lines by the electric and acoustic guitars. The vocals and banjo work their way into the song. “I found my demons, caught them where they were sleeping. Now I know that I will never be alone.” An unsteady man seeks solace in drink. His hands tremble and shake. From time to time, the acoustic guitar dances above the rest of the instruments. Down the road the man heads, searching for the next round of drinks. “Push the pedal, pull the break.” Not sure where this story ends, perhaps it does not.

Wrinkle Neck Mules followed this record with the exceptional The Wicks Have Met and Let the Lead Fly. Both of these records continue in the tradition that they established on their first two records. But from time to time, they kick it into overdrive and rock out. Any fans of Uncle Tupelo, Frog Holler, Say Zuzu, and the Backsliders would enjoy Wrinkle Neck Mules. My friend Lulu often gets hooked on them as she makes her commute to work across the high plains of Idaho. We eagerly await another record from this band, and I hope to see them play another show where I live. I have a long list of songs that I want to hear them play.