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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.

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

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Class Warrior’s Musical Obsessions 2017

By Class Warrior

As usual, this is a list of music I listened to a lot this year, regardless of when the band recorded the songs. I had some trouble this year with new music. There are so many retro crazes in my preferred genres (i.e., metal and punk) that it’s getting hard for me to find standout bands. Hopefully I’ll get some good suggestions from my fellow reviewers! One cool thing that energized me was finding out that my brother is now a metal fan. We had fun talking about and sharing music this summer. It was my reminder that most people sustain their interest in music by sharing it with others. Since none of my friends in my immediate location are metal/punk fans, I sometimes forget this basic social fact.

I forgot to mention on my musical grievances list that my students deserve a big jeer for trying to get me to listen to Beyonce and other pop singers. I tried—I didn’t try very hard, admittedly—but what I heard was not a satisfactory listening experience. Down with my students. A C- for every one of them.

Living Colour, Shade (2017).
Did you know that Living Colour is still a band putting out music? This is, not surprisingly, a great album! Corey Glover’s voice sounds like he has access to some kind of youth serum—he may as well still be twenty-five. He has one of those set of pipes that can only be his—you’ll never mistake him for someone else. Vernon Reid is, perhaps, the most underrated guitar player in rock music. What a fabulous musician! By the way, if you want to witness someone rock the fuck out, watch videos of live Living Colour performances from the late eighties and early nineties. You will see Corey Glover go off. I had a chance to see them live a couple of years ago, but I would have had to travel two and a half hours to attend the concert. I had work the next day. When did I turn into an old man?

Witchcryer, Cry Witch (2017).
Have you ever listened to an album that starts with an anti-imperialist doom metal song? Neither had I, but Witchcryer certainly changed that. This album is a solid gathering (a coven?) of female-fronted doom songs. It’s done really well! Probably the best new doom metal band I heard all year (and I encountered a lot of them). It’s one of the diamonds I referenced in my Festivus grievances. They perform a cover of “Witchfinder General,” which should get you in the general vicinity of their sound. I look forward to seeing where this Texas band goes from here.

Odax, Odax (2017).
I want to like this a lot more than I do. Sword and sorcery metal is my favorite metal sub-genre. This album has the dark medieval theme and tone absolutely down. It’s right in my wheelhouse. It seems to be a conceptual album about a guy named Yaroslav, but I might be wrong. Overall, there needs to be more emphasis on substance rather than style. It simply doesn’t rock hard enough. I must note, though, that I just got this album this month, so maybe it will grow on me? I hope?

Pagan Altar, The Room of Shadows (2017).
This is the last Pagan Altar album we’ll get, as Terry Jones, their founder, singer, and songwriter, died in 2015. If you have not listened to Judgment of the DeadMythical & Magical, and Lords of Hypocrisy yet, and you like traditional heavy metal, do yourself a favor and check them out. They’re great! The current offering under discussion is not quite at the same level as the three monumental efforts above, but it’s still a fine listen. May Terry Jones’s shade continue to haunt us for many years—a classic and criminally underappreciated metal front man.

Rata Negra, Oido Absoluto (2017).
Well, it looks like I was wrong, thankfully. There is a punk rock album on my year-end list. I almost forgot about this gem! This Madrid band has the sort of sound that was popular in Europe about a decade ago—a melancholy/dark take on melodic early 1980s Southern California stuff like Adolescents. Bands like No Hope for the Kids and Gorilla Angreb are good references for Rata Negra’s sound. I loved that period in punk rock (the twenty-first century take on classic punk, that is), so I like this. Bonus point for strong, clear, and sung (as opposed to shouted/shrieked) female vocals! Finally, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Nice and short, like (almost) any good punk album should be. They sing entirely in Spanish, if that matters to you. If you want to hear it, go to their Bandcamp site. https://rata-negra.bandcamp.com/album/o-do-absoluto.

Peter Oren, Anthropocene (2017).
SoDak already wrote about this album in a review a couple of months ago, so I will only add the following: the last song on here made me cry. It’s been quite a long time since a piece of music has moved me to tears.

Kroh, Pyres (2017).
I wrote about this band’s debut album last year. They continue the trend of offering up memorable female-fronted doom metal (I guess this is a sub-sub-genre of metal now?). I follow them on Facebook—the band puts Oliwia, their singer, front and center in all their official pictures, sometimes to the extent that the rest of the band disappears entirely. So you’ve got a good-looking singer who has a hell of a voice—that doesn’t mean the rest of the band isn’t important! Regardless—this five-song EP is another set of strong songs. You could do worse. Trust me.

Kreator, Gods of Violence (2017).
I have loved everything Kreator has done in the twenty-first century. This album is certainly solid enough left-wing thrash metal, but it doesn’t excite me like Violent Revolution or Enemy of God. Hold on—let me listen to it again. It’s been awhile. (Time passes.) Okay, it’s better than I remembered. You should check it out. By the way—despite what Kreator claims on this album— Satan isn’t real.

Triosphere, The Heart of the Matter (2016) and The Road Less Travelled (2010).
The first time I heard this band I thought they had secured the services of Bruce Dickinson’s younger sister on vocals. She doesn’t quite sound like a dead ringer for Bruce, but if you can’t spot the direct influence of Iron Maiden’s front man on this band, you need to clean out your ears. Musically, they sound like somewhat subdued Euro power metal (which is a genre that even I typically find cheesy, and I have a place in my heart for the loincloth-bedecked Manowar!) mixed with traditional eighties metal. The vocalist makes this band worth your time. She nails it. No keyboards here, which is not always the case with power metal.

Go-Go’s, Beyond the Valley of the Go-Go’s (1994).
Getting this collection of their early material is worth it for one reason only: it has the 7-inch single version of “How Much More” (i.e., the B-side to “We Got the Beat”). This version of “How Much More” absolutely blows away the re-recording for the Beauty and the Beat album. Blows it away. It is faster, more straightforward, the guitar sound is a bit more punk rock, and Belinda’s vocals are stronger. It is my favorite Go-Go’s song by far. This version is on the list of songs I want someone to play at my wake, whenever that may occur. Be sure to tell Mrs. Warrior, for she will outlive me, and will be the ultimate arbiter of such matters.

The Supremes, Greatest Hits (take your pick).
I hope I don’t need to tell you what a wonderful collection of songs await you when you put a Diana Ross and the Supremes disc in the CD player. While many of these songs are unfortunately marred by “pop strings” (see my Festivus grievance for more info), these are classics. Diana Ross would have been an excellent singer in a sword and sorcery metal band. So would Aretha Franklin. So would Roy Orbison.

Manic Street Preachers, Generation Terrorists (1992).
I will have much more to say about this album in a month or two. Yes, I’m jumping back in to writing actual reviews. Short version: this is a great collection of angry songs—I love it!

Slade, The Slade Box—A 4 CD Anthology 1969-1991 (2015).
What in the world was I thinking? This collection is at the bottom of my list for a reason. For a brief moment this fall, I fell in love with the song “Run Runaway.” On the strength of this song and their (admittedly timeless classic) “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” (fuck you, it’s a great song) I purchased a 4 CD set of their “hits.” Huh. Maybe you need to be British to appreciate it all properly. I did find a few nuggets, like “When I’m Dancing I Ain’t Fighting,” but listening to these discs is like traversing the desert and finding an occasional oasis. But the oases are too far apart to really sustain you, and you die before you reach the end. I haven’t listened to disc 4 yet. Don’t know if I ever will. I can’t listen to “Run Runaway” without cringing anymore. I was rocking out to it for about the twenty-fifth time when suddenly (literally suddenly) I couldn’t take another note and had to shut it off. If Slade had put out a ten-inch record with six or seven songs on it and called it a career, I would consider that a strong success for the band. That would be one great record. By the way—anyone want to buy a 4 CD set of Slade songs? I know where you can get one for dirt cheap!


SoDak's Musical Obsessions 2017


By SoDak

Records:

Valerie June, The Order of Time (2017).
Valerie June’s voice is awesome. If it was the last voice I heard before I died, it would be calming. Her songs are wonderful. The Order of Time is great. See review: https://tickleyourtaint.blogspot.com/2017/12/valerie-june-pushin-against-stone-2013.html.

Peter Oren, Anthropocene (2017).
This is a poignant, reflective record commenting on the current state of the world, without being pedantic. See review: http://tickleyourtaint.blogspot.com/2017/11/peter-oren-anthropocene-2017.html.

Son Volt, Notes of Blue (2017).
Son Volt soothes me. My heart is more at ease every year they release a record, and believe me I need such comfort, given all the shit taking place. Right from the start, “Promise the World” calmed me. It reflects upon the grim world we confront. It is a classic Son Volt song. “Back Against the Wall” follows suit in our ongoing fight. The third song, “Static,” breaks from the first couple twangier songs. The guitar is raw and rattles the speakers. From song to song, there is a weightiness to the words, regardless if the music leans toward the blues, country, or rock side of things. The record is a bit more varied than some of the previous releases. With each listen, I am more in love with this collection of songs. I am so fuckin’ glad there was a new Son Volt record this year. Now, I need another one in 2018—not sure that this will happen. Fortunately, I will see Jay Farrar play a solo show in a couple months.

Alaric, End of Mirrors (2016).
Dark, beautiful, chilling, and haunting. See review: http://tickleyourtaint.blogspot.com/2017/12/alaric-end-of-mirrors-2016.html.

Elder, Reflections of a Floating World (2017).
I love the ongoing development of Elder. This record is still blowing my mind. See collective review: http://tickleyourtaint.blogspot.com/2017/06/elder-reflections-of-floating-world-2017.html.

Pallbearer, Heartless (2017).
Pallbearer continue to impress me. I love how they have progressed as a band. They remain heavy, while incorporating dynamic prog-elements that serve the songs. I also like the more melodic elements on this record. The vocals seamlessly blend with the music, which set the mind adrift. The record as a whole is very beautiful and moving.

Earthwitch, Out of the Shallow (2017).
Thanks to Beert for introducing me to Earthwitch. Out of the Shallow is a superb release. Earthwitch knows how to write huge, punishing riffs, that are catchy as hell. Great record.

Tinariwen, Elwan (2017).
I remain completely enthralled by these Tuareg musicians from the Sahara Desert in Mali. The guitars are always trippy. The drums and voices are enchanting. They continue to develop their sound, adding new layers to their songs, which are hypnotic and beautiful. Tinariwen are revolutionaries working to create a new world, and music is just one of the avenues through which they build an exciting foundation. If you have not heard them yet, given them a listen. It is impossible not to be drawn into songs.

Ty Segall, Ty Segall (2017).
I am late in learning about Ty Segall, who is an unbelievably prolific musician. Thanks goes to AntiChrist-iansen and PaulySure for introducing me to him. I have been loving this fuzzed-out, psychedelic masterpiece. There is some wonderful guitar work on many of the songs.   

Black Angels, Death Song (2017).
Hurray, the Black Angels return to form, with a very strong modern psychedelic rock record. The previous record faltered, in comparison to the earlier records. On Death Song, the songs are very strong. The drums and rhythms in general are wonderful. The vocals are good. This record makes me want to see them live again, as the music takes control of me.

Feral Ohms, Feral Ohms (2017).
Feral Ohms plays manic, high-intensity rock, with ample flourishes of punk energy. “Love Damage,” the opening track, gave me a swift kick in the ass and made me exclaim, “Holy shit.” It is dirty, sweaty, and raw. The ass-kicking continued, as the record is unrelenting—every song dishes out the rock in huge portions. When listening to the record, I get exhausted (in a good way) as there is never a moment to catch my breath. This release is simply incendiary. My speakers and amp are still smoking after listening to this record. It is not for the weak of heart.

Defekt Defekt, Defekt Defekt (2015).
My love of Cross Stitched Eyes lead to me seeking out other bands in which the members played. Thus, I came across Defekt Defekt, a German band. I ordered the vinyl, which also came with a CD version of the record. Defekt Defekt occupy that space between punk rock and post-punk, which I love. It is refreshing to hear recent punk rock that does not sound like a Fat Wreck Chords band. There is nothing fancy here—bass, drums, and guitar—just solid punk music, where the bass is prominent. Excuse me while I pogo around the room.

Jason Isbell, The Nashville Sound (2017).
I have loved Jason Isbell since he first joined the Drive-By Truckers. His solo work is exceptional. I think he is one of the best songwriters in the United States, writing songs with amazing depth and insight. His songs circle around me, making me reflect upon my own life, my family, and the world. He can make me smile or cry with a just a few words. See review of the song “If We Were Vampires”: https://tickleyourtaint.blogspot.com/2017/06/jason-isbell-if-we-were-vampires.html.

Hot Water Music, Light It Up (2017).
Punk rock stalwarts, Hot Water Music, released their eighth full-length record this year. My interest in them has vacillated, depending on my mood and the particular record by them. Light It Up really grabbed me. With each listen, I find more songs that I really like. The raw melodic elements of Chuck Ragan’s voice are in strong form here. I love the bass runs within many of the songs, which create an underlying driving beat. Hot Water Music throws in some fast-paced songs that change things up. But for the most part, the songs are mid-tempo gems, and make for an enjoyable listen.

Tiken Jah Fakoly, African Revolution (2010).
The past couple of years I have been enjoying records by Tiken Jah Fakoly, a reggae singer from Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. He has satisfied my desire to hear new roots reggae, but with a fresh take. He incorporates additional African instruments and influences. Some of his songs are acoustic folk songs. He is multilingual, which adds a nice variation to his songs. He directly sings against political oppression, and advocates for education and social revolution. This has resulted in him receiving death threats and living in exile. Anyhow, it is refreshing to hear Tiken Jah Fakoly, especially since his music is not overplayed. Check out: “African Revolution,” “Political War,” and “Marley Foly.”

Protomartyr, Relatives in Descent (2017).
I am still processing Relatives in Descent by Protomartyr, a post-punk band from Detroit. While this is their fourth record, it is the first I have heard. The lyrics to the first song, “A Private Understanding,” are more interesting than the song itself. I like listening to the record more if I start on the second song. It seems that the songs get better as the record progresses. The vocals are raw and the music is quite moody, similar to various post-punk bands, such as The Fall, from the 1970s.

Kadavar, Rough Times (2017).
Kadavar’s Rough Times did not get much attention or promotion. This is unfortunate, as their fourth full-length record is a solid, hard-drivin’ affair. This three-piece is solid. Each musician holds their own within the songs and has a strong presence. Each song has interesting changes, increasing my attention. Rough Times is a very strong record, which continues to please me with each listen.

Hexvessel, When We Are Death (2016).
Hexvessel is a Finnish band, which includes one member from Grave Pleasures. They blend hard rock, psychedelic rock, and folk music together on When We Are Death. As a result, it has an interesting 1960s and ‘70s feel. There is some dark, forest, hippie shit going on here. Many of the songs have pagan themes, contemplating the relationship between humans and the larger biophysical universe.

Soen, Lykala (2017).
Picked up this record on a whim, more out of curiosity than anything else. I did not know that the group consisted of various extreme metal “superstars.” Regardless, I really like Lykala. This progressive metal record is very polished, which I suppose is to be expected. Nevertheless, the songs are very strong. The record as a whole has a distinct sound, but there is quite a bit of variety between the songs. The songs are heavy and beautiful at the same time. Check out: “Sectarian” and “Sister.” 

Overkill, The Grinding Wheel (2017).
Overkill has become an extremely dependable band that delivers the goods. While their sound has developed, they are distinctly Overkill. In many ways, they are today the embodiment of classic thrash. I prefer the latter Overkill records, which includes this year’s release. They are also a great live band. Listen to “Goddamn Trouble.”

Dead Cross, Dead Cross (2017).
I had low expectations for the debut record by Dead Cross, as I am rather indifferent to Mike Patton’s vocals. At the same time, I wanted to check out Dave Lombardo’s new project. I was quite pleased with this frenetic record. The songs tend to be very fast and short. The production is clean, allowing each instrument to jump out. Mike Patton’s vocals fit in well within the hardcore, punk rock music. It is worth checking out.

Antisect, The Rising of the Lights (2017).
This year, the surprise release is Antisect’s The Rising of the Lights. In the mid-1980s, I listened to their album In Darkness There Is No Choice (1983) quite a bit, despite the fact that the quality of the recording was very poor. I was more interested in their anarchist politics, critique of social inequality, and advocacy for animal rights. I also liked the artistic presentation of the band. I simply considered Antisect to be one of many interesting bands from the 1980s, who released a single full-length record and a seven-inch. Thus, I was quite intrigued to learn that they regrouped and recorded a new record. The Rising of the Lights sounds so much better than their first record. Everything is clear and balanced. The record is very heavy and crushing, similar to when Killing Joke is at their heaviest. I am very much enjoying the record and pleased to have another band offering an insightful critique of the alienating system that dominates global politics.

Grave Pleasures, Motherblood (2017).
I love Grave Pleasures’s Motherblood. This Finnish band blend post-punk, death rock, and metal, making a captivating sound. Driving bass line on “Doomsday Rainbows” is wonderful. “Be My Hiroshima” is catchy as hell, with varying vocals that add depth to the song as a whole. This band is possessing me, making me act in strange ways. Fortunately, I am doing this in the privacy of my home. I remain in a trans-like state.

Marty Stuart, Way Out West (2017).
I finally saw Marty Stuart play this year. It was fuckin’ awesome. The band was tight and having fun. Marty Stuart draws upon a broad range of influences, despite being a solidly rooted country musician. On Way Out West, which was produced by Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers fame, Marty Stuart presents a collection of songs that paint images of the southwestern deserts of the United States. Many of the songs blend Johnny Cash and the Bryds, inviting the listener to take a journey through rugged lands to confront whatever dangers and beauty exist in the world. A touch of psychedelic is present, and the land comes alive in these songs.

Tau Cross, Pillar of Fire (2017).
I loved the self-titled record by Tau Cross; the same is true of the second one, Pillar of Fire. Members of Tau Cross are also in Voivod, Amebix, Misery, and War//Plague. Their music reflects these other bands, meeting at the cross roads of Killing Joke and early Neurosis. Listen to “Raising Golem” and “Killing the King.”

Racquet Club, Racquet Club (2017).
The self-titled record by Racquet Club is a perfect distillation of the members previous/current bands—Jealous Sound, Knapsack, and Samiam. Their music is tonic to me, given that it occupies a particular space where indie and punk meet, in emotional mid-tempo songs. I love the somewhat lush-melodic vocals and hooky guitars. The rise and fall of the music creates an undefined emotional sensation that makes my body tingle.

Watter, History of the Future (2017).
Watter includes members of Grails and Slint. The record is experimental and ethereal.

Electric Wizard, Wizard Bloody Wizard (2017).
I never expected Electric Wizard to be on my musical obsessions. Compared to many friends, I was never quite taken by this band, even though I always respected them. This record is much more accessible than others that Electric Wizard has put out. I am very much enjoying the sound, which combines doom and hard rock. It is still heavy and crushing, but there are many great hooks within the six songs.

Durand Jones and the Indications, Durand Jones and the Indications (2017).
I have been really enjoying Durand Jones. This is a wonderfully crafted soul record. The vocals are compelling, the drums provide a simple yet powerful rhythm, and the horns are tastefully done. The opening track, “Make a Change,” is a needed song for today.

Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree (2016).
Heavy, melodic, spiraling, and hypnotic. Elephant Tree is an awesome band from London. Saw them play at Psycho Vegas. They were wonderful and super nice. Looking forward to the next record by them.

Spaceslug, Time Travel Dilemma (2017).
Five-Inch Taint introduced me to this band from Poland. I ordered their first two records directly from them at their bandcamp page. As is to be expected, given the name and artwork, the band plays cosmic heavy doomy music, which is delightful. Their songs have some great textures and breaks that add depth. Would love to see them play Psycho Vegas, or just see them tour the United States.

Bell Witch, Mirror Reaper (2017).
I regret that I missed seeing Bell Witch play on this recent tour. They played much of the 83-minute song that constitutes the new record Mirror Reaper. They managed to wrote an intriguing song that while being slow and doomy is still dynamic. I suppose it is expected that there would be soft, beautiful moments, punctuated by loud, heavy parts. But they manage to make it interesting, as some vocals appear here and there. The song sounds like it could be the soundtrack for a silent movie, which somehow tells a story related to the stunning artwork—guess that means it would be a fantasy film. I am sure that this record is not for everyone, especially for those with a short-attention span, but it is a remarkable accomplishment.

Dead Ending, Shoot the Messenger (2017).
Pissed off, classic punk rock, you bet. Vic Bondi and team throw down again on their new record. Sit up and pay attention to this blistering collection of songs. Dead Ending are on a roll, reinvigorating what has become a rather stagnant terrain of punk rock music, unleashing fury at the powers that be. We need more of this. 

All Eyes West, All Eyes West (2012).
Some of my friends recommended this record, so I finally checked it out and have been enjoying it. It makes me think that the band was influenced by Jawbreaker, Samiam, Jawbox, and other bands on Dischord Records in the early 1990s. The bass and drums create a create foundation for this band.

MIA, Notes from the Underground (1985) and After the Fact (1987) (2017, Reissued).
My vinyl copies of these two records are thin from so much play over the last thirty years. These records marked a distinct change in the sound of MIA. The earlier recordings were more straightforward, fast punk rock, which Alternative Tentacles compiled on the awesome Lost Boys CD. The last two records were much more melodic, mid-tempo, and even slow at times. The lyrics also became more self-reflective. Every now and then a song such as “Scotty Rew” was thrown in the mix, providing a dynamic kick in the ass. I am very pleased that these two records have finally been reissued.

Sniff’n’ the Tears, Fickle Heart (1978).
Null called me one evening, obsessed with the song “Driver’s Seat.” This led to repeated listening of the song and more conversations regarding Sniff’n’ the Tears, and, of course, purchasing of the record. “Driver’s Seat” is haunting, as it is strangely familiar, yet it had long remained at the margins of my memory. I am a sucker for songs from the 1970s like this. The vocals are a little rough and the backup vocals are prominent in just the right places. Oddly, the drumbeat never changes throughout the whole song. There is not even a variation. But it works, while the guitars and keyboards add the textures. Paul Roberts, the singer and songwriter of Sniff’n’ the Tears, writes laid back, story songs, which make my spine tingle.

Buffy Sainte-Marie, Power in the Blood (2015) and Medicine Songs (2017).
It had been decades since I bought a Buffy Saint-Marie record. I picked her fifteenth and sixteenth records a few months ago, and I am so glad that I did. While she has long been known as a peace activist, her voice is perhaps even more direct and stronger on her recent records. On “War Racket,” she takes aim at billionaires (politicians and corporate elites) who promote war to enhance their power and wealth:

You billionaire bullies; you’re a globalized curse
You put war on the masses while you clean out the purse….

You twisters of language; you creeps of disguise
Your disinformation; like worms in your eyes
You privileged bankers; you gambler thieves
You profit on war; there’s less money in peace

That’s how it’s done time after time
Country after country, crime after crime

You pretend it’s religion and there’s no one to blame

for the dead and impoverished in your little patriot game

Honey, that’s the war racket

Got the world’s greatest power and you team up with thugs
Make a fortune on weapons, destruction and drugs
But your flags & boots & uniforms start to all look the same
when both sides are killing in the patriot game: it’s the war racket

And that’s how it’s done, and you’ve got our sons
in the crosshairs of horror at the end of a gun
and your national anthems start to all smell the same
when all sides are dying in the patriot game
It’s the war racket

Many of the songs on these two records present an important critique regarding the hundreds of years of oppression of indigenous peoples in the Americas. One such song is “My Country ‘Tis of Thy People You’re Dying,” which targets the role that forced residential schools played in trying to decimate indigenous populations. “The Priests of the Golden Bull” highlights the exploitation and environmental degradation associated with mining uranium native lands. The records also include songs of protest, resistance, and celebration. Buffy Sainte-Marie continues to be a needed and welcome voice in these current struggles.   

Glitter Wizard, Hollow Earth Tour (2016).
This is a very enjoyable, fuzzed-out, hard psychedelic record.

Wolf Parade, Cry Cry Cry (2017).
This record is a welcomed return of the reunited Wolf Parade. This indie, post-punk band gives me chills. I love the sharing of vocal responsibilities between Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner. Sometimes the vocals remind me of The Chameleons.

Propagandhi, Victory Lap (2017).
I was pleasantly surprised by how good the new Propagandhi record is. Everything seems to have come together here, as the vocals and music are woven together in a powerful way, adding punch to the lyrics. Politics and personal reflections intersect in an exciting way.

Robert Plant, Carry Fire (2017).
I think Robert Plant has really found a strong musical direction over the last decade—much better than his solo records in the 1980s. His voice sounds strong, when singing more roots-oriented songs.

Charlie Parr, Stumpjumper (2015) and Dog (2017).
AntiChrist-iansen turned me onto Charlie Parr. And fuck me, Charlie Parr is unbelievable. He exists at that sweet spot where blues, country, and folk blend in a perfect combination. This year, I had the great pleasure to see Charlie Parr play—many of the taint ticklers were also present. He would switch back and forth between a 12-string acoustic guitar and a national steel guitar, playing memorizing chord progressions and beautiful melodies. I could listen to him until the end of the world arrives. On Stumpjumper, I have been obsessed with “Over Red Cedar.” On Dog, I am taken by the title track, “Hobo,” and “Salt Water.”


Even a Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk and Rock 1969-1973 (2017).
I found myself listening to this record a lot after I bought. It is a great collection by Japanese artists who I had never heard before. Very enjoyable.

Songs:
Aimee Mann, “Goose Snow Cone,” from Mental Illness (2017).
From time to time, Aimee Mann is completely captivating.


Johnny Flynn, “Detectorists” theme song (2014).
I wish I had a physical copy of this song. Fortunately, the song echoes in my head. It feels like a song I have known since the day I was born.


Angus and Julia Stone, “Wherever You Are,” from Snow (2017).
I am taken by this gentle and beautiful song.


Flamin’ Groovies, “End of the World,” from Fantastic Plastic (2017).
This cool track has a nice vibe, with some flourishes of Blue Oyster Cult.



Charlie Parr, “Cheap Wine,” from Rooster (2005) and Cheap Wine (2011).
I do not have either of these records yet. Saw Charlie Parr play it and I was floored.



Album Cover:
Nikki Lane, Highway Queen (2017).

Concerts 2017:
It was a great year as far as live music is concerned, especially since I was able to share these experiences with good friends, including AntiChrist-iansen, Critter, Five-Inch Taint, Kloghole, Null, PaulySure, Spooner D, and Travis. Standout performances included: Samiam, Meat Puppets, Mandolin Orange, Marty Stuart, Pallbearer, Midnight Oil (finally), Jason Eady, Mutoid Man, Helms Alee, Psycho Vegas Fest (Mustard Gas and Roses, Conan, SubRosa, YOB, Melvins, Khemmis, Sleep, Mulatu Astatke, Pelican, Brain Jonestown Massacre, Cough, Carcass, Earthless, Gojira, Neurosis, Windhand, Minsk, Murder City Devils, Elephant Tree, and Mastodon), G.B.H, Lil’ Smokies, The Church (best show by them yet), Helio Sequence, Battalions of Saints, Brujeria, Chris Hillman, Jerry Douglas, Paul Cauthen, Charlie Parr, and the Bellrays.

Film:
Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown (2014).
This is a fascinating documentary—warts and all.

Books:
Kim Gordon, Girl in a Band (2015).
Jimmy “Explosive Diarrhea” B sent me this autobiography. I am very glad that he did. The book is a great account of Kim Gordon’s time in Sonic Youth, her relationship with Thurston Moore, and her engagements with the larger world of art. It is an engaging reading.

Marky Ramone, Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone (2015).
I really enjoyed reading Marky Ramone’s autobiography. Rather than spending time talking about sex and other debauchery like so many rock memoirs, Marky focuses on the music the Ramones made and the relationships within the band. It is heartbreaking, frank, and quite refreshing.