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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.

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Festivus Grievances 2013


It has been a rough year for many of the taint ticklers. Folks have been exhausted and run into the ground. Fortunately, many of us took a few minutes to air musical grievances. Afterall, festivus is a holiday for the rest of us, and it is time for “here’s what is pissing me off this year” in music.

Anita Papsmear:

1. The record label name: Jagjaguawar. I do not have an issue with the bands they sign. I happen to like a lot of the bands on their roster: Foxygen, Lia Ices, Dinosaur Jr., and the musicians behind one of my favorite 2013 CDs, Unknown Mortal Orchestra. But the name itself, Jagjaguwar, is just annoying. So is the label name, Reverberation Appreciation Society. Perhaps it is my simple little mind that has trouble comprehending these long names, but I do long for simpler times.

2. My second musical grievance for 2013 is overly lengthy CD and song titles. A partial list includes:

Jim James, “Regions Of Light & Sound Of God.” It does not flow off the tongue.

Foxygen, “We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic.” Really?

Haunted Hearts, “Something That Feels So Bad Is Something That Feels So Right.” Sigh.

Neko Case, “The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You.” This gets my vote for most tedious.

In retrospect, the first two do not seem all that bad. At least, they are not as bad as grievance 3. I still do not understand it…

3. Taylor Swift.


Class Warrior:

I cannot ignore this huge problem that has developed in my life. In the past two years, I have seen a grand total of one live music concert. Two, if you count my son's preschool choral performance last week. What is wrong with me? How deep is the rut into which I have fallen?

The one show I saw was earlier this year. It was inadvertent. I was at a conference in Reno. I went to a brewpub with Five-Inch Taint and my friend Vik-ing (I gave him an awesome pseudonym!) to hang out. After a while a two-piece wife-and-husband team showed up to play an acoustic set. The three of us ended up staying the entire time. We closed out the bar while shouting for covers of eighties songs (the band obliged on at least one occasion) and drinking more than was good for us. I had the time of my life!

What is keeping me from doing more of this?

Is it the threat of diminished hearing capacity? I just had a hearing check—the doctor told me my hearing is about ten percent worse than normal for someone my age, which is not as bad as I feared. There are no worries about my ears, so I have permission from Modern Medicine to crank it up to eleven (or maybe nine and a half).

Is it overwork? Well, I am pretty tired when 9:30 rolls around, and since most shows take place at night, well, you can do the math.

Is it the place I live? This does have something to do with it, but it is not like there are zero bands in Frozen City. I just have to expand my repertoire a bit.

Is it the fact that I have a child? Maybe. One of us has to stay home with him while he sleeps. Mrs. Warrior is not exactly a night owl, but, well...holy shit, I am in a deep rut!

My festivus grievance is the lifestyle of Class Warrior. This is one grievance over which I have the power to change. I am not an old man. I am going to alter this sad state of affairs. Next year I will go to at least two live music events on purpose!


Dave:

1. Subgenres: Why do they exist? Who is interested in collecting all these albums by all these bands that sound exactly the same? I try not to be a music snob, but authenticity and unique elements of character are important to my interest in music…. Now if a band does not fit a standard genre meme defined on the web, they do not have much of a chance. More blast beats and break downs for everyone yeeeaaaaarrrrooorrrrgh....

2. Analogue record snobs: Okay, this one is simple. Go get your favorite vintage Sabbath/Zeppelin/Ratt etc. record. Put the fucker on the turntable and then pull up a stream of a compressed mp3 of an album made in the last 5 years with some sort of non- tube digital processing. The compressed digital audio file will have more volume, clarity, and separation than your pristine analogue stereophonic cultural artifact. Technology is a good thing, I am tired of hearing your vintage blathering.

3. A couple weeks ago, I was talking to a friend about new American metal bands. I was trying to show him a couple bands that I thought were good. We pulled up a youtube video of a band called Job For A Cowboy. To cut to the quick, as we are discussing the music the scene cuts to a strung out looking man pushing a young boy to the ground and cutting him open with a box knife. Our response, “Fuck No.” And we turned it off. What is up with extreme metal bands making the gross out videos? I am not cool with losing my lunch trying to check out some interesting new metal release.  

4. Does anything come out of Europe besides power metal or black metal? This goes back to grievance 3.

5. Why are most new American bands now death metal bands? Who thinks they can put out a more brutal album than Pig Destroyer or Cannibal Corpse? Good fucking luck.


Five-Inch Taint:

Hey Pitchfork, you suck! Myself and my friends, Georg Simmel and Thorstein Veblen, all think that you represent what is wrong with music today. Reading your reviews all year and then finally seeing your top 50 albums of the year it has become quite clear that your reviewers and everyone involved with Pitchfork actually do not like music. Rather, a combination of your pretentious reviews and obnoxious music festivals has turned you into an agent of fashion. In the words of Thorstein Veblen, Pitchfork media has elevated music into the realm of pecuniary beauty. For Veblen, there is a difference between pecuniary beauty and aesthetic beauty. Objects that have pecuniary beauty are serviceable to the extent that they help establish forms and styles that help generate and perpetuate economic and social hierarchies. Pecuniary beauty purports to be aesthetic beauty, but really is just wasteful. Pitchfork media, and the general demise of the “independentness” of Indie Rock, is much more interested in selling tickets to its ridiculous music festival and lining the already fat pockets of mainstream record labels. Music’s saleability, as opposed to any substantive importance, becomes the basis for a good review. (Just check out their top 50 albums of the year and you will see what I’m talking about).

Pitchfork media is much more interested in being fashionable and generating new tastes for the hip generation of music listeners than it is in actually reviewing good music. They are much more interested in telling you why Arcade Fire is a greater band than some other Indie drivel because, again, it helps to promote their festival. Something tragic happens once you get caught up in the cycles of fashion and become a leader in that same cycle. Georg Simmel’s discussion of fashion highlights the problem with this in his discussion of fashion and the adornment of style. Fashion, first of all, can only be directed by a part of a group (excluding, by definition) the vast majority of people in deciding what is fashionable. Fashion, furthermore, is defined by its distinctiveness. However, once it becomes universal it is no longer fashion. Every growth of fashion towards universal acceptance, then, leads to its own destructiveness. Fashion, therefore, is full of limitations and is always in a state of transition. At the same time fashion brings together a small group of people while separating that group from others. This is what Pitchfork media does. It is constantly trying to find the new fashionable music—in an effort to make more money—moving it further away from actually reviewing music. Pitchfork has become elitism for the sake of being elite while expanding the realm of music that it does not appreciate. Essentially, what you are left with is a constant stream of empty reviews that benefits the mainstream labels that Indie music is now released on at the expense of people who enjoy good music.

Pitchfork media, you are a cancer. Go fuck yourself!

One other small grievance goes out to a music venue, “In the Venue,” in Salt Lake City. Every time I go to see a show there you make me empty out my pockets and then you take the pens that I have in there. I have lost so many pens because of you! And for what purpose? I’m not going to make your shitty venue even worse by writing on the walls. Despite my lack of artistic ability or poetic wit I believe whatever I would adorn your walls with would be an improvement. I’ve resorted to hiding my pens in the crack of my butt to get into your venue. Frankly, pens are not the type of butt plugs that I’m interested in. So, fuck you “In the Venue.” You owe me a lot of pens.


Jimmy “Explosive Diarrehea” B:

The Hawthorne Theater continues to get the best metal shows in Portland, OR. But, their sound system continues to be complete shit. A friend of mine compared the sound to that of farting in a box, which is very apt.

Lou Reed passed this past year. By the media frenzy, you would think he was the greatest musician/songwriter in the history of rock and roll. Lou Reed’s death should have garnered a few minutes of reflection, rather than the two-week long lament we witnessed. Reed may have had six good songs—John Hiatt has that many on one side of every album—in his entire 50-year music career, and those were all with the Velvet Underground forty years ago.

Randy Newman was inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame in 2013. What the fuck? Quick, can you name a Randy Newman song? Yeah, I can’t either. He is the wanker who recorded that song “Short People” in the ‘70s. Fucking awful!

Portland, Oregon’s so called music fans deserve some vitriol this Festivus season. I went to see Melt Banana, Nasalrod, and Kinski at Dantes. Kinski, a brilliant live band, put on one hell of a show. And, the fuck-tards in the audience actually booed them. Holy shit, they rocked the fuck out while displaying amazing skill and creativity, and they were actually heckled. Usually Portland crowds are very kind to artists, too kind in fact, but this time I felt embarrassed and ashamed to have been a member of this audience of inbred dumb-fucks.

Another year has passed without Stinking Lizaveta playing a show within driving distance of my home.

I saw Blue Oyster Cult at the Marion County Fair in Salem, Oregon. It was obvious that the band was exhausted, and I am willing to cut them some slack for not bantering with the audience as much as they usually do, but it is unforgivable that Buck Dharma cut short the guitar solo in “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” Actually Buck, I forgive you, but don’t ever fucking do it again.


Kloghole:

(forthcoming)


Null:

My grievances this year are basically the same as last year.

Digital Music/Virtual Music: The music industry continues to focus most of its effort on digital releases and the consumers tend to follow. There were a plethora of releases that only came out in a digital format this year on both big and small labels. I do realize that digital formats allow smaller labels to provide music that they cannot afford to print—I recognize that, but the death of the physical copy becomes increasingly sad in a world where the real continues to get replaced by the virtual.

Shit Quality CD-Rs: Related to the topic above, no one makes high quality CD-Rs anymore—so if you want to burn a physical copy of a downloaded album onto a CD-R, well, that CD-R will only last you a couple of years. The virtual wins again. Nothing is built to last anymore. Our music dies with our “planned obsolescence” digital devices. At least some of the metal and underground labels continue to ensure that LPs and CDs are being printed for “hardcore,” old-school motherfuckers, like me.

Tunes in TV Commercials: The state of musical integrity has gotten so low that bands don’t even think twice about allowing their music to be used for corporate advertising. I could understand it if an artist is starving and needs to make ends meet; they are backed into a corner. However, this is rarely the case. Most of the songs and musicians I see and hear advertising for corporations are already rich or hugely popular, which only makes their actions that much more disgusting. I never imagined I would see Wayne Coyne on TV commercials or Ice Cube in a Coors commercial or Erykah Badu in a Hennessy advertisement; she doesn’t even drink. The list of disappointments is exhausting.

Acts of God: I have seen Bad Religion a number of times. I am almost always in the front row and the shows are always great. However, during Riot Fest this year, I was with some friends of mine waiting at the front of the stage for Bad Religion to appear. Then, like a scene out of the Old Testament, the skies darkened and a hellish cold wind threatened to knock over the rigging and crush the audience. Everyone was evacuated from the grounds and had to wait in their cars as the rain fell in sheets and turned the parking lot into a mud pool. By the time the weather let up, we made our way back to the stage to only find ourselves leagues away from the front. Bad Religion arrived and played a short set. They were good, I think. I was so far away that it seemed like a bad dream that I was watching from afar. It was bad enough that Greg Hetson wasn’t present due to an extended leave from Bad Religion for personal / family issues (even though his replacement, Mike Dimkich, is a fine guitar player in his own right and did a great job), but the show kinda sucked for me. Not the bands’ fault. I just pretend it never happened. I didn’t get to really see Bad religion this year.

Rolling Stone interview with Bob Dylan: This interview came out in late 2012. I love Bob Dylan. He has written more great songs than most singer/songwriters could ever dream of. However, it has been many years since the days of his socially conscious work of the early and mid-sixties. Let us not forget the powerful and colorful music he made at that time. He made important music and wrote striking beautiful love songs. Since those years, Dylan has fluctuated form making horrible records to brilliant ones; rarely do we know what lies around the next corner. That could be one of Dylan’s charms. Sadly, his 2012 interview with Rolling Stone magazine illustrated that Dylan has virtually nothing to say to humanity and has even less to say about the state of the world anymore. Sometimes, he has some interesting insights into musical history, in which his roots are deep, but he seems to always be noncommittal and ends up in some weird, confusing quagmire of unspecific hazy nonsense. In this interview he went off about “transfiguration” with a dead Hell’s Angel, Sonny Zimmerman – Zimmerman / motorcycles / 1966—get it? Yeah, I just lost him. Bob Dylan has left the building.



Scott:

1. Neko Case’s new album, the stupid title of which I won’t even bother to type out here. This isn’t a bad album at all—but I can’t help feeling that her best songs are the ones that have a strong country or Americana flavor. Sometimes she swerves too far into bland indie rock, which seems to happen a lot on this album. Maybe I need to digest it some more, but right now it feels, not like a failure by any stretch, but a let-down.

2. Kirk Windstein quitting Down. Although this means he’s spending more time on Crowbar (great news), and sounds like it was an important life decision for him, sobriety-wise (good for him), I can’t imagine Down without Kirk Windstein. Will it mean the end of the band? Will Pepper Keenan rejoin Corrosion of Conformity? Will there be another new Crowbar album soon? We’ll see what 2014 has in store, but one thing is certain—it’s the end of an era.

3. My Ultimate #1 Grievance of 2013: I saw the Americanarama tour with Bob Dylan, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, and Ryan Bingham. I had a great spot for the latter two bands, right up in the front, but ended up about a mile away from the stage, standing on the grass, for Dylan and Wilco. While Dylan was playing—snarling into the microphone from what I could tell, but that’s cool—I moved over to the side of the grass for a better look. It was pretty hard to see anything happening on stage. I looked down and noticed, lying on his side, a young preppy looking guy, passed out near my feet. One too many Heinekens I guess. He seemed fine so I looked back up toward the stage, squinting to get a glimpse of Bob himself. Then, I heard a sputtering sound. Preppy boy had puked all over my shoes and ankles. I ran off to get some napkins and PB’s buddy carried him away, into the night. My shoes were ruined and I left early. A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall indeed. 


SoDak:

1. Talkative, noisey fuckers at shows: I try to position myself at concerts, so I can focus on the band and the music. I am sure that I can be temperamental—call it is character flaw.  But I do get very annoyed, when there are a group of assholes who listen to the one song they want to hear and then talk through the rest of the show.

2. Pushing and running through a crowd: This issue seems more prevalent at metal and punk rock shows. I cannot stand being at a show, when all of sudden someone plows into my back, as they push there way to the front or jumps into the pit. I do not have an issue with slam dancing. But someone is just being an asshole, when he or she runs through people who are not expected to get hit.

3. Wild Roses: This band opened for Swingin Utters. They played sleazy L.A. rock music and were horrible. But I would have been fine with this. What was really annoying was that during their entire set, they kept talking about how the opening acts were so good that they had to actually work harder. Yes, the opening bands were much better. Even trying, Wild Roses would still suck. Too bad their mouths were not sown shut, so we did not have to be subjected to their constant reminders that they were actually trying to play.

4. Flaming Lips: I was looking forward to seeing them play. Had heard they were good live. I was a little worried, given that I really hated their recent record, The Terror, which to my ear is meaningless ambient noise. (I do like many of their earlier records.) They took the stage after a long wait, so various stage props could be set up. They proceeded to play boring songs, without any real hooks. Wayne Coyne made vocal noises, which did not add to the songs. The show was filled with cheap gimmicks, confetti, and flashing lights. It was tortuous. I had to leave before the show was over.

5. Bonus Songs: The release of multiple versions of the same record is out of hand. Several of the major box stores have special editions with extra songs. It is maddening. If the songs are good and they should be on the album, release it that way. Stop with all the fuckin’ gimmicks.

6. Musicians in Commercials: The line of musical whores gets longer each year—Iggy Pop, Ice Cube, Wayne Coyne, Taylor Swift, and on and on.

7. Disappointing/Bad Albums: Iron and Wine managed to put out another shitty record with Ghost on Ghost. Shocking how horrible the last couple records are. As noted above, Flaming Lips, The Terror, is a meaningless piece of drivel. Jim James put out a lackluster record with Regions of Light and Sound of God. I was very disappointed by Arcade Fire’s Reflektor. My wife, who loved the previous record, asked me to take the new record out of the player, as she hated it. Mark Kozelek and Jimmy Lavelle took a shit with Perils from the Sea. The electronic-oriented songs detracted from Kozelek’s songwriting.


Travis:

(forthcoming)