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

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ancient Sky - T.R.I.P.S.

(Loud Baby Sounds, 2012)

Reviewed by Jimmy “Explosive Diarrhea” B.

Late one night I was more or less randomly searching for samples of progressive and/or psychedelic bands. I found Ancient Sky on the Robotic Empire website – if you are into punk or metal and like independent music, I recommend you check out Robotic Empire. Anyhow, I came across Ancient Sky. I thought the name was cool – it has a postrock ring to it like Explosions in the Sky. Also, I am a sucker for DIY projects. The packaging of this record, yes my friends, an honest to goodness vinyl record, is sparse (the word sparse is not sparse enough). The album sleeve is monochrome and looks like it was stamped on during a very creative and perhaps stoned moment at a stamping party. But, who the fuck cares about packaging, it is the music that matters.

Regular readers of this blog know that I not only take good care of my taint, but I pay great attention to the physical sensations and cues only a well, uh, oiled taint can provide. When I first listened to T.R.I.P.S., I did not have one of those moments where my taint needed immediate tickling. It took a few listens to get a proper feel for what the album was all about. Then my taint began to respond. Each song on the record is superb. Most of the tracks start slow and build up speed before slowing again. Even in their faster moments, the songs possess a depressing bleakness I love. The combination of keyboards, effects, and the vocal style create a feeling or vibe of vastness, which makes the listener feel hopeless and insignificant. I often get this sensation when I listen to space rock, which I believe is the sub-genre that best defines T.R.I.P.S

My favorite track on the album is “Towards the Light.” This track is a good example of what I mentioned above – a feeling of vastness and insignificance. The song is, for lack of a better word, foggy. We have all heard a dense fog referred to as pea-soup. T.R.I.P.S.  is like pea-soup for your ears – if you wait long enough a pea will rise to the top and become clear. The deeper you go into the fog, the clearer the music becomes. The first thing you will notice about “Towards the Light” is the slow and depressed vocals filling the huge gaps between the bass and guitar. Then the drums kick in, and we are launched into space. The guitar begins buzzing and circling looking for someplace to land. Is that hope we feel? No. The drums fall away, and we are once again left as we were found, empty.

I, like a lot of music junkies, often listen to music to fill an artistic or intellectual void. There is no other reason to listen to weird shit like Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum or The Mass. At other times, I listen to music because I need a testosterone jolt. Then there are those moments when I need a different type of stimulation, when I need to feel something. These are the moments when I spin Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” or REM’s “The Wrong Child.” T.R.I.P.S doesn’t give me a testosterone jolt, doesn’t make me tear up, and doesn’t fill an intellectual void. Ancient Sky on T.R.I.P.S makes me feel insignificant, and that makes me fulfilled.

I tickled my taint for eight minutes.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Burning Ships - Empty Hold

(Dreaming Pixel Media 2012)

Reviewed by Null

Let me start out by saying that I have always had a deep love for “homemade” music projects. Now, by “homemade” I don’t necessarily mean low quality production or novelty music. I simply find a wonderful charm in music created outside the hideous and idiotic music industry. Often these “homemade” creations are filled with seemingly new and fresh sounds that only exist because they have not been filtered through popular music industry production that often kills the dynamism of creativity. Such gems are priceless to me and Burning Ships’ Empty Hold is just such a gem.

Burning Ships is essentially a one man band. The man behind the curtain is Fritz Limner, who writes, produces, sings, and plays all the instruments on Empty Hold. Having created albums in a similar way with a good friend, I understand how challenging such an endeavor can be. This is also the reason I was so impressed, not only with the great sound and production of this CD, but also with the execution of the instrumentation. This man, Fritz, or this band, Burning Ships, if you like, is a very creative and talented musician. With Empty Hold, he has created a universe unique unto itself. Whether you are curled in front of a fireplace with headphones on, or driving through the Rocky Mountains at night, you will be transported into his dreamy psychedelic tapestry of sound.

Initially Burning Ships’ music is hard to describe. Although I don’t often like to use a lot of other musical references to describe new music, I find it not only unavoidable but quite helpful in this case because Empty Hold takes one to many different worlds. 

The album is heavy with thick synth sounds. In some ways, one could say it is very much an electronic ambient album; however, such a description would be inaccurate, and not do the album justice. It is filled with brilliant, distorted guitar riffs and bass lines. Furthermore, the synths and ambient music that lives between the more hitting and direct guitar pop songs do not evoke a modern electronic feel, but instead remind me of the thick dreamy and ambient beauty of 1970s Tangerine Dream with repetitive sequences and often beautiful, haunting, and spacy melodies that shed light into the often unseen cobweb filled corners of consciousness. I will do my best to paint a portrait of this most unusual world.

The album begins with a nice ambient intro where the listener is confronted with a digital voice - think Stephen Hawking, talking about “being found out” by mankind. I am not exactly sure what this means, but before I have time to reflect on the meaning of this mystery the second track, “Insecurity Guard” kicks in with some of the best melodic lead guitar I have heard since the Cure’s infectious “Just like Heaven” hit. The guitar sound reminds me of Bob Mould’s distorted sound in Husker Du, but without the “Husker wall of noise” backing him up. After hearing “Insecurity Guard,” I was already in love with this record. This song could hold its own next to some of greatest guitar pop I have ever heard. The vocals are soft and inviting, while the music makes you feel like you are driving through the Rocky Mountains on magic mushrooms after receiving a love letter from the girl you have been in love with since 3rd grade. It is that good.

With the second song, we move deeper and deeper into the Technicolor grooves of this most peculiar world. After the short ambient “Comes and Goes,” we are propelled into the consistent and driving beat of “Hit the Wall,” which is another wonderfully executed pop ditty. I think this song is about atoms breaking across the surface of the space time continuum. Fritz sings, “When I hit the wall / and my atoms split / Scattered about in tiny bits.” These are the kind of lyrics the old Wayne Coyne would write. 

Fittingly, after “Hits the Wall,” we move into “Love and the Painter’s Djinn,” which reminds me of Pink Floyd’s “On the Run” from their Dark Side of the Moon LP. Yet, as mentioned previously, the instrumental electronic-synth tracks on this CD are warm and inviting as opposed to the anxiety I find in much electronic music. 
Next comes, “M’Lady in the East,” which makes me think of New Order’s first album, Movement, which appeared shortly after the death of Joy Division, as Fritz sings in double tracked vocal monotone. “Be the Zero” also makes me think of Pink Floyd, as it is a slow and pleasant drone. Fritz sounds a little like Roger Waters exuding warnings or advice, complete with the sounds of children in the background. The synth interplays on this song are quite brilliant, like a spooky dream where you feel no fear but an odd comfort and meditation on disintegration.

With “The Weird of Love,” the guitar returns in a quirky love song with more great guitar solos. Burning Ships incorporates my personal love for guitar leads that do not stray too far from the melody of the song. This guy has the catchy pop thing down. After, “Weird of Love,” a beat is created with what sounds like electronic alarms going off, layered with swirling synths, and what sounds like violins, creating, yet again, a haunting and comforting melancholia.

As the album continues, the listener moves deeper and deeper into Burning Ships’ world. “Forgotten” is a big beat dance-number, while “Great Escape,” evokes the drippy thick synth-pop found on M83’s Saturdays = Youth album, complete with a little kid singing. 

Near the end of Empty Hold, acoustic guitars show up, and are weaved together with more retro synth sounds and this unique Burning Ships world starts to become familiar. Just when I start to miss the blistering guitar sounds, “What If,” delivers a wall of noise mid-tempo rocker that seems to be about the illusions of living in a plastic, consumerist, sexist world where everything is based on appearances and social ladders, “Nip and tuck and try to fuck / the right ones at the right times / For a chance to reach the sublime.” Great lyrics.

The CD ends with an unusual upbeat little synth ditty that could be the score to an 80’s movie while the credits are rolling.

Hopefully, this review gives the reader a glimpse into the world of Burning Ships. Although I referenced many other bands to compare and contrast in this review, I want to make it clear that Burning Ships does not sound like any of these bands. This is a “homemade” and independent release that is unique unto itself. I listened to this CD for several days, and it became more and more satisfying with every listen. It is a guitar pop album, an occasional 80’s dance throw-back record, and a hauntingly beautiful ambient record all at the same time. The lyrics and melodies fill one with melancholy longing, mysterious colorful riddles and confrontations. As mentioned above, all the songs are executed with melodic precision even if the record occasionally suffers from a rather stiff drum machine sound, which is often unavoidable for a one man band, as I have learned from personal experience.  However, Empty Hold delivers in every other way, and often times a cold drum machines can add to a particular aesthetic. I was very lucky to have this CD fall into my hands and if you are sick of the horror produced by the music industry, Burning Ships’ Empty Hold is like a breath of fresh air. And, although this isn’t a punk rock record, Fritz gets some honorary punk rock cred because he didn’t ask anyone to make a unique and great record, he just fucking made one. And that, my friends, is pretty punk rock.

Physical copies of this CD can be found at CD Baby, Amazon, and from Burning Ships’ website:

It can also be downloaded from those listed above as well as iTunes. But come on, Fuck downloading. Get the CD.