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

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The 1975- Self-Titled

(Vagrant, 2013)

Reviewed by Null

Apparently, when Michael Hutchinson was hanging himself and jerking off, there was a little jizz that fell on the carpet, crawled away, and started a band. I think this is how The 1975 came into being. Supposedly, they started the band when they were about 13 years old. At 22 years old, they made a record after several EPs. But I don’t really buy it. This record tests one’s tolerance for modern 80s cheese to its most challenging level. So the question is: How tough are ya? To provide an answer, I will quote Springsteen, “Babe, I’m tougher than the rest.”

This review is really a call out for help. I need to talk to someone. My musical guilty pleasures have reached a level that has made it hard to manage—of late. Should an alcoholic go to AA if s/he still really enjoys drinking? Probably, but music isn’t gonna kill me. But it sure can make me feel better—and soft, like a middle school memory.
“Step into your skin? I’d rather jump in your bones. Taking up your mouth, so you breathe through your nose.”
Like, before I had solidified my own identity—or even French kissed a girl.
“She said, ‘It’s your birthday, are you feeling alright?’”
Like, when smelling the girl that I passed in the hall was the height of my erotic experiences.
“She said. ‘Use your hands and my spare time—we’ve got one thing in common, it’s this tongue of mine.”
When I used to spend a lot of time alone, listening to tapes. And there were some good 80s pop tunes on John Hughes Soundtracks that seemed to resonate with this feeling.
“Your obsession with rocks and brown and fucking the whole town is a reflection on your mental health.”
What if a band were born of a make-believe black-and-white world where every aspect of the culture was based on a John Hughes disposition? Somehow, this album answers that question. I think they are from Australia circa 1982 but they say they are from the United Kingdom. Liars.
“Now everybody’s dead—and they’re driving past my old school […] Babe, you look so cool.”
Though a few tracks on this album are “tougher” than others. They write their own songs and turn their guitars up louder than the album mix when they play live. Too bad the guitars are mixed so low on the record. I mean, their great at what they do. However, sometimes they feel only a few frightening steps away from a boy band. Thankfully, they are a real band even if they are way too good-looking. Regardless, “Don’t Change” by INXS is one of my favorite songs. And if you don’t like Madonna’s “Crazy For You” and “Live To Tell,” then you’re just lying.

“She said, ‘It’s not about your body, it’s just social implications are brought upon by this party that we’re sitting in. I’d like to say you’ve changed, but you’re always the same. I’ve got a feeling that the marijuana’s rotting your brain.’”
Maybe Kajagoogoo really had more to offer than just “Too Shy.” On second thought, I don’t think I’ll go down that road. I listened to Cannibal Corpse’s Gore Obsessed earlier today just to make sure I was OK. It sounded great. I’m going to be OK. Music isn’t gonna kill me.  Besides, Springsteen’s “Tougher than the Rest” is a love song, anyway.
“She’s got a boyfriend anyway”
Still, I'm thinking about getting a poster of the lead singer with no shirt on for my rock room. I’m a 13 year old girl who loves music. So, fuck you, skinny jeans.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Vanishing Kids- Spirit Visions (2013)

By SoDak

Many years ago, Jimmy (Explosive Diarrehea) B introduced me to the Vanishing Kids. He shared their record, Skies in Your Eyes, with me. I was immediately fascinated by this band, given the strong 80s new wave influence. They captured the dark, moody sound on the early albums by The Cure, as well as the twisted conceptions embodied by Siouxsie and the Banshees. They made songs that were both unsettling and comforting. Listening to the record made me feel like I was discovering a missing gem by bands I loved. Of course, it is necessary to note that Vanishing Kids are not a band dwelling in the past. There influences are evident, but the band makes music that is modern and refreshing.

Last fall, Jimmy mailed me Vanishing Kids most recent album, Spirit Visions. I was thrilled to listen to their fourth full-length record. The compact disc lived in my car most of the winter and spring. Each morning and evening, I listened to a few songs, during my commute to work and back home. I digested the record in small portions, a few songs each day. My engagement with the music varied depending on the weather, traffic, and work. In the morning, as the inversion in Salt Lake City, settled into the valley, choking the population below, the song “Fire Dances” set the mood. The guitar was haunting and the drums swirled in my head preparing me for the day. Nik Nadz vocals are reminiscent of Siouxsie Sioux, but in a more controlled way. From time to time, her vocals mesh with the climbing guitar notes, sending chills down my spine. Jason Hartman’s guitar playing is captivating. He creates a drifting, hypnotic sounds on many songs. On “The Unlit Path,” he produces a clash of intense, angular sounds that build and threaten to explode as the song progresses. At times, the guitar parts in this song remind me of the chaotic, fast, jazzy parts found on Victims Family records, even though the bands are very different from each other. After work, I always welcomed the song, “Temporary Material.” All of the gentle and intense aspects of the band are represented here. The ethereal guitar part leads to heavy, loud volatile moments. The drums propel the song forward. The quirky changes and vocals throughout the album demand attention. Often, I was not sure quite where a song was going to go, even after many times listening to the record.

Spirit Visions helped sustain me during several stressful months at work. In the morning and evening, I entered the strange world they create with their songs. While I love the obvious influences that are represented, I am especially pleased by how Vanishing Kids manage to create unique songs that captivate my imagination.

It is my understanding that Vanishing Kids are currently writing new music. Give them a listen and your support.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Naked and Famous

In Rolling Waves (Fiction, 2013)
Passive You, Aggressive Me (Somewhat Damaged, 2010)
This Machine / No Light EPs (Trip Mars. 2008)
Passive You, Aggressive Me B-sides (Somewhat Damaged, 2013)

Reviewed by Null

            I had to write a review of this band because they have invaded my consciousness. A few months ago, my lover/partner of 20 years, approached me to make me listen to a song she had heard on the college radio station in our town. She has a weakness for female-fronted indie bands—as long as they have a catchy riff and heavy beat that makes her feel like she is “being fucked by music.” Upon listening to the track, I understood the attraction to the music. It was romantic, youthful, and filled with a weary enthusiasm of life and unwavering hope. However, the music had an emotional intensity that resonated deeper than your average indie pop combo; it exuded the Whitman motto, “Carpe diem.” The song was called, “Young Blood” from their 2010 album Passive Me, Aggressive You, and it begins with an infectious beat and an angelic female voice singing, “We're only young and naive still / We require certain skills / The mood it changes like the wind / Hard to control when it begins.” As a manic-depressive romantic, I immediately felt a pang in my chest. I thought, well, so it is another indie band with a great single but the album is probably rubbish.
            As I knew my partner was basically playing the song for me to induce me to get the record for her, I picked up the record the next day. I threw it in the CD player as I pulled out of the parking lot. I figured I would give it a listen. I didn’t even tell my partner that I had purchased the CD for her until 3 days later, as I refused to give it up. 
            When I finally gave the CD to her, I told her it was great and immediately bought their latest album, In Rolling Waves. It, too, was excellent. Rarely, even with my favorite bands, am I smitten upon a first listening. It takes me time to acclimate. However, The Naked and Famous hooked me after only the first 2 or 3 minutes. The band preyed on a list on my weaknesses. Though I tend toward darker themes in music, such as, socially conscious punk rock and world weary songwriters, I have always had a weakness for male/female fronted bands that sing break up songs—combine this with sweet synths and 80’s stylings and I am doomed. The Naked and Famous fulfill these criteria, and then some. Once you moved beyond the obvious hits, the band has much more to offer. Their music is a tapestry of rich textures and glorious harmonies.

They are a five-piece band originally from New Zealand. They recently moved to Los Angeles to further their musical endeavors, which, honestly, seems like a mistake. As previously mentioned, they have male and female lead vocalists that often sing together or sometimes alone, depending on the track. They use many synths and keyboards that are weaved together with analog instruments, like distorted guitar, bass, and drums. One of things I love about the band is that they seem to serve the song. If the song requires a dreamy synth to reach perfection then they follow that line of thinking. If the song needs a fast beat and distorted guitars to reach perfection, consider it done. They are masters of the pop hook and often combine these into vocalized hypnotic meditations. They are dreamy and capable of creating walls of guitar distortion backed by beautiful melodies and big beats. In this way, they are akin to the beautiful blistering sonics and dynamics of The Joy Formidable with an added electronic element.
Simply put, the Naked and Famous are pop geniuses. They are at once, visceral and cerebral. Just when you think they couldn’t possibly add another swooning hook to an already angelic song, they do just that. They are unstoppable. They are the greatest 80s band that weren’t around then. It’s like The Human League had children, except that they don’t really sound like them. They’re kinda like M83 but a million times better—more rock. Somehow they weave the best elements of dance, electronica, shoegazing guitar chaos, and gorgeous thoughtful melodies into one package. What do they sound like? They are life affirming. Are they a dance band? A little bit. Are they a pop band? Yes. Are they a rock band? Yes. Do they make beautiful contemporary music? Definitely. Trust me; they stand out from their contemporaries.
They have had some pretty big indie hits. “Young Blood,” “Punching a Dream,” and “Hearts Like Ours” have garnished a lot of college radio airplay. They have appeared on many late night shows. They have had some of these songs appear on TV shows and I think they have a song on a commercial. This is all very disheartening to me, but the albums are so good that I overlook these disappointments because, at this point, I don’t think I could live without this band. I have drunk the Kool-Aid and I savored every drop. Sure, I can see this band being eaten up by sorority girls and boys all over the country, but who gives a shit? A great band is a great band. I was also initially worried because the band looked too clean. They could be one of the most hygienic bands I have ever seen, which make their occasional use of the word “fuck” that much more effective. I watched a few interviews with the band and regardless of all the media attention, they don’t seem like media whores like many of their contemporaries and they seem really down to earth and humble. They are a bunch of beautiful young people in the prime of their lives. Turn it up. “Sing like no one is listening, love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like it’s heaven on earth.”―Mark Twain
On a side note, the problem with electronic instruments is that they tend to alienate the listener, in my opinion, due to their inorganic nature. However, there are a few artists that use electronic instrumentation and somehow make them sound human and organic. Bjork comes to mind. The Naked and Famous also imply this technique effectively. Though there are many electronic instruments—the music still feels warm and organic. The lyrical content seems to revolve around love and life. They sometimes slip into dark, quit corners and the issues of loss and heartache are not absent. Passive You, Aggressive Me is a little more upbeat, while In Rolling Waves tends to be a little more ethereal and dreamy. If you check this band out and they move you, be sure to not miss the two EPs from 2008, This Machine and No Light, as well as the Passive You, Aggressive Me B-sides, that are, unfortunately, only available digitally, (I reluctantly downloaded them from iTunes). Don’t miss these because the B-side “Sow” is not to be without.
I won’t get into the lyrics or go through the albums track by track. Give them a listen. You will either disregard them as another pop confection that you have no interest in or you will immediately get sucked in and be singing these songs all summer. They may make you want to go for a walk at midnight, make out with your lover, or climb a mountain and go cliff diving.
My partner and I recently saw them in concert at the Boulder Theater here in Colorado. As I suspected, they were great. When the music ended I felt like they were just getting started. I wanted them to play every song. If you get into this band, you will understand. If I ever lose my drive to live, dance, and celebrate, put an icepick in my head. 
Boarders and horizon lines
We’re alone but side by side,
We’re yet to dream,
We’re yet to dream,
Nothing here is what it seems…
Half awake and almost dead,
Keeping empty beds elsewhere,
We’re yet to bleed,
We’re yet to bleed,
All the time and energy.
In silence…
Take me to the edge of night,
Till the dawn,
The end of time,
Till the fire blazing light,
Shines again within our eyes.
—From “Hearts Like Ours”
Yep. I’ll stop aching when I’m dead. This band is too good to be a guilty pleasure.