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

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Rosalie Sorrels (1933-2017)

By SoDak

In the late 1980s, I came across a record of Rosalie Sorrels. I was quite taken by this folksinger, given the combination of personal and political songs. Her voice was beautiful and gentle. The words were direct and honest. It was evident that she loved poetry, storytelling, and the west. I was thrilled to learn that Utah Phillips and her spent a lot of time traveling and playing music together, while working for social change. She spent much of her life collecting stories and writing songs in order to share them with others. In the late 1990s, I saw Sorrels play a concert in a small coffee shop in Eugene, Oregon. There were twenty to thirty people crowded together to share the evening. Ken Kesey introduced Sorrels, sharing a couple short stories about her, highlighting her humanity, the power of her words, and the importance of art in resistance and social struggle. Sorrels captivated the audience sharing stories about her comrades and the lives of regular working folks. Stories and songs were woven together. We fell in love with Idaho and Utah because of how she recounted her life and experiences in these places. This week I was saddened to learn that she died June 11, 2017, but am left appreciating the music she made.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Jimmy LaFave (1955-2017)

By SoDak

In the mid-to-late 1990s, a friend gave me Jimmy LaFave’s Buffalo Return to the Plains. I was struck by his emotive, raspy voice. It was clear he was very talented and had a keen social conscious, based on his lyrics. Nevertheless, it took several years for me to warm up to his records. Once I did, I could not get enough.

LaFave was a regular at Woody Guthrie Folk Festival and was one of the individuals involved in establishing Red Dirt music, generally associated with a group of Americana musicians from Oklahoma and Texas. He was also obsessed with Bob Dylan. He was well respected among fellow folk-country musicians, but he never received broad public attention.

My favorite records by him are Blue Nightfall (2005), Cimarron Manifesto (2007), and Depending on the Distance (2012). Blue Nightfall is a beautiful, moody, reflective record. I love driving at dusk, while listening to the title track, as I drift down the road. His slower songs are very calming, giving a sense of comfort, like sharing an evening with a dear friend.

A couple weeks ago, I did a search to see if he was touring only to learn that he died in May from a rare form of cancer. He remained active in the music community until the end. I hope that more people became fans of the wonderful music that he created.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Elder, Reflections of a Floating World (2017)

Elder’s new record, Reflections of a Floating World, is hands-down the record of the year for me up to this point. Progressing with each record into more of a prog band than a doom band, they are now firmly planted within the proximity of Yes’ classic 1974 release, Relayer—one of my favorite prog records. The expansion of the group beyond a trio definitely pays off with a much fuller sound. Elder has few contemporaries treading similar ground other than Pallbearer or occasionally Earthless. Although I have a feeling a prog revival is on the way, right on the heels of the heavy psych trend happening now.

At some point in your life, you have probably described a bands album as “perfect”; maybe you were right, maybe you were wrong. Anyways, here is one instance in which a band put out the perfect album. Reflections of a Floating World by New England based stoner doom band Elder is that album, and honestly, it is the whole package. Elder, who got their start a little over a decade ago, have now put out 4 very solid full-length albums, each one better than the last. Not only has each individual member become a better musician during that time period, but somehow it is almost as if this three-piece has morphed into one unit that is constantly pushing, and reinventing, the genre. With Reflections, it is as if Elder has dialed back the stoner elements a bit, and upped the progressive elements a lot, something which have always been present and increasingly prevalent between albums; needless to say, Elder has not rejected their roots and still totally follow the smoke to the riff-filled land (this should be an obvious reference to the band Sleep, if you are unaware of this, fix it and go check them out). 

So, given this information, what makes Reflections of a Floating World a perfect album? Everything! Clocking in at a little over an hour long, the 6 songs take you on a musical journey. One moment you’re in heavy, stoner-y, cathartic bliss; then suddenly enjoying a new rhythmic almost pop-y prog melody (synths included), and then you’re on to another change of tempo that now involves the prog and the doom. It’s like you have experienced four or five different songs before the track is even over, the layers on these songs are absolutely stimulating. And what’s even more impressive is that it doesn’t seem like any one member is trying to stand out from the other, they all work together and blend together perfectly; even in terms of volume. Lastly, in my opinion, there is not a stand out track. That may sound like a negative, but on the contrary, this album is meant to be listened to start to finish; it a stand out album. Throw in the amazing artwork, and as I said, this album is perfection. If you’re not listening to Elder, you’re not really living!

It’s a well written record. It hits on a lot of the better elements of Pelican and expands on these ideas, except this Elder record isn’t as has heavy as Pelican. I like the fact that they are having fun. There is some enthusiastic lead guitar, that breaks the anti-guitar-hero mold, which I appreciate. I also really like the references to Yes and a little Don Caballero on this record. I think there are the high points that might bring me back to listen to it again. It’s a hip record that fits nicely into popular sounds, which frankly bore me.

Five-Inch Taint:
For me, this album is, hands down, the best of the year. It will be difficult for any other record to top it. Probably what I appreciate most about Reflections is that, no matter how you listen to it, the music is stellar throughout. While Elder may be reflecting on a floating world, listening to this album makes me feel like I am floating in this world. My first two or three listens were while driving in the car, with the music playing in the background. The continuity within and between songs, the sexy riffs, and even the more proggy elements, make these songs a joy to listen to. As I was driving in my car the first time listening to the CD, I only made it through the first two tracks, as I had traveled the twenty minutes to my destination. Not once did I notice how long those two songs were. Rather, I was caught up in the beautiful continuity that runs throughout the album. Casually listening I was hooked. When I was able to dedicate some time to listen to the entire album, I was drawn in even more. It was the big hooks and riffs that captured my attention initially, but upon further listening the little intricacies make this an unmatchable album for me. Elder seems to have added layers to their music compared to their previous albums without falling into the trap of just filling up space. The songs, while having a sweeping continuity to them, have a tremendous amount of discontinuity and change, moving to a new time signature in rhythm mid-song, seamlessly. What is beautiful about this album is that the complexity of the song structure (and the organization of the album itself) is not for the sake of complexity, but is more about pushing their music to new levels. Reflections depth, continuity, and discontinuity and its listenability (in both casual and focused settings) makes this the best album of the year for me.

The last several months, I have been eagerly looking forward to Elder’s Reflections of a Floating World—perhaps more than any other record this year. I saw Elder play three times the last couple of years. They blew me away each time. Plus, they just got better with each performance. Reflections is an exceptional record. Each song is a masterpiece that is captivating, shifting between and blurring lines between doom, progressive, and stoner traditions. The guitars, bass, and drums intersect perfectly. On the second song, “The Falling Veil,” which I think is great, I do not think the keyboards add anything of value to the song. But this is a minor issue. The layered guitar parts create a beautiful, intricate dance within each song. I am enthralled by the guitar work, where the rhythm and the lead create a feeling that I am being taken on an epic journey.  

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Jason Isbell, “If We Were Vampires”

By SoDak

My father had Pick’s disease, which is type of frontotemporal dementia. He had it for at least fifteen years, so it was a long decline. For the last ten years of his life, memory loss became more pronounced. He had a limited ability to hold a conversation or to communicate generally, beyond simple questions or one-line comments. When my mother would come home from work, my father would walk to the door to see her. She needed a husband to ask her how her day at work was, to help cook the meal, to make future plans. He was “present,” waiting for her to share her thoughts, but the silence was weighty. Few words passed his lips. A stare does not satisfy the need for meaningful exchange. Obviously, life does not turn out the way we want.

I have been listening obsessively to Jason Isbell’s song “If We Were Vampires,” from his record, The Nashville Sound (2017). This beautiful acoustic song hits the heart, reflecting upon the limited time we have with a loved one and the importance of these moments together.

It’s knowing that this can’t go on forever
Likely one of us will have to spend some days alone.
Maybe we’ll get forty years together, but one day I’ll be gone
or one day you’ll be gone.

Love ends for so many reasons, but it is never long enough. While my father was absent in my mother’s life in many ways, given the retreat associated with his disease, his death created discernable void. No one waited for her at the door when she returned from work; no one was there to share a meal. The bed was colder, without his warmth next to her. Any plans she had for how they would spend their retirement years together were extinguished.

If we were vampires and death was a joke
we’d go out on the sidewalk and smoke
and laugh at all the lovers and their plans.
I wouldn’t feel the need to hold your hand.

Death is the shadow we often ignore, pretending mortality is on the distant horizon. The days slip away, without appreciating the moments we share.

Maybe time running out is a gift.
I’ll work hard ‘til the end of my shift.
Give you every second I can find
and hope it isn’t me who’s left behind.

With every listen of this song, I think of my parents, especially my mother the last eleven years since my father’s death. I also reflect upon my own relationship of the last twenty-three years, wondering who is going to be left behind, while hoping to make the time we have together matter.