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

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Megadeth - Foreclosure of a Dream

Review by Dave.

Hi Folks,

It's been a while, I've been busy working on my own musical mayhem and trying to be a bit more social... trying.... Anyway, today I'm finally getting around to writing up my favorite metal song of all time. I'm talking about “Foreclosure of A Dream” by Megadeth. Yes, I know Dave Mustaine is right up there with Geddy Lee in the halls of the most obnoxious voices in rock. However, his lyrical material has always stood out to me as being emotionally honest, politically aware, and articulate.

Let’s start with the first verse of the above mentioned song as a good example-

Rise so high, yet so far to fall
A plan of dignity and balance for all
Political breakthrough, euphoria's high
More borrowed money, more borrowed time
Backed in a corner, caught up in the race
Means to an end ended in disgrace
Perspective is lost in the spirit of the chase

In a few short phrases Dave, in my humble opinion, nailed down the manipulation, greed, reckless speculation, and political polarization that has characterized American economics and politics for the last thirty years. It is a multi-dimensional statement, not silly, empty headed sloganeering a’ la Rage Against the Machine or pretentious, preachy, intellectualism a’ la Bad Religion. I hear in these words a straightforward observation of political action and public reaction. Let’s move on to the chorus-
Foreclosure of a Dream,
Those Visions never seen,
Until all is lost,
Personal Holocaust,
Foreclosure of a Dream,

I post these lyrics thinking about how they resonate directly with the economic meltdown that has unfolded in the last couple years (the song was released in 1992). To me it highlights America's inability to learn from, and it’s indifference towards, the lessons of history. On to the next verse-

Barren land that once filled a need,
Are worthless now, dead without a deed,
Slipping away in an iron grip,
Natures scales are forced to tip,
The heartland cries, loss of all pride,
To leave ain't believing, so try and be tried,
Insufficient funds, insanity and suicide,

Mustaine continues, giving us a vision of Middle America as barren and lifeless after the loss of the family farm. It brings to mind the age of the great dust bowl and the environmental damage it wreaked in its time. The last line brings to mind the power of money, materialism, and the destructive impact it has on people who are found to be “economically unviable.”

This next section is my favorite part of the song, not only does the song present a problem; it also offers hope, and the possibility of a solution.

Now with new hope some will be proud,
This is no hoax no one pushed out,
Receive a reprieve and be a pioneer,
Break new ground of a new frontier,
New ideas will surely get by
No deed, or dividend Some may ask why,
You'll find the solution the answers in the sky,

I think the statements made here are crystal clear, and that is a big part of what I love about this song. A long haired, bullet belt wearing, crew of goofballs wrote a refined, mature political statement in this song on par with anything written by icons like John Lennon or Bob Dylan. The power of technology has empowered the average citizen in uncountable ways through the course of history and will hopefully continue onward down this path into the future.

As far as the music is concerned it is solid, focused and to the point. There are a couple short tasteful solos that add a bit of flavor to the song, but no extended over the top noodling, extended intros, or brutal mosh breakdowns. The riffs are solid and memorable and there are some nice musical transitions, but this isn't the flashy technical guitar-fest Megadeth is usually known for. This is simply an excellently played, well-crafted song, that to me, makes a powerful, mature statement about modern American politics.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

RICK SPRINGFIELD - Working Class Dog (RCA, 1981)

By Class Warrior

When I was a wee lad, my mom stayed at home with my two siblings and me. I don't know how my mom and dad supported themselves and three kids on my dad's modest income, but somehow they did. I guess living in a single-wide trailer and eating lots of goulash (shudder) and tuna casserole (double shudder) cuts down on expenses. I can still taste that awful casserole if I close my eyes. Lots of hand-me-down clothing and shopping at second-hand stores and yard sales kept us dressed and furnished. And there was plenty of government cheese. God bless you, Reagan, for the yellow-dyed bounty.

I'm getting sidetracked. Mom started working outside the house as a motel housekeeper in about 1985 or so, but until then, she was a big fan of soap operas. All My Children and The Young and the Restless were two that she watched daily, but her favorite was General Hospital. Because she watched them, I watched them too. Most of the time, anyway. I recall that a new character came on to the show in 1981. He played a doctor or something. Mom thought he was great, then she informed me that he was a singer as well, and that he had an album out called Working Class Dog. Mom didn't buy the album, so I didn't think about it too much. As you can probably guess, this actor was none other than RICK SPRINGFIELD! I always liked "Jessie's Girl" and anything else I heard by him when I was young, but I didn't buy any of his albums. I missed his 1984 movie Hard to Hold. By the time I started to buy records, my tastes had changed radically away from top 40 stuff to hardcore punk. Fast forward.

Now it's 1999 and I'm living in St. Louis, Missouri. I spent my time trying to organize low-income tenants receiving federal housing subsidies (i.e., Section 8 assistance) into tenant unions. At the time, there was a big public-private relationship between Housing and Urban Development and apartment building owners - HUD subsidized tenants' rent if the owner reserved the apartments for qualified people. The contracts between the government and owners were starting to lapse, and activists saw what was going to happen - big real estate corporations were going to buy the buildings (if they didn't own them already), evict the low-income tenants, and turn the units into condos or upscale apartments. I was part of the effort to get people organized to fight against this. I was a terrible organizer, by the way. I was so shy at that point in my life that I just hid in the bathroom (a recurring theme in my life - I'm sure I'll end up there again) or read a book in the park because I couldn't face the tenants and talk to them. If management had found me in there, they would have escorted me from the premises. Too much risk of confrontation for good old Class Warrior.

During this period, I noticed that RICK SPRINGFIELD was going to play in St. Louis at a venue very close to where I lived. The ticket price was reasonable - RICK didn't command top dollar in 1999. I forgot to mention that I was an Americorps volunteer at the time, so I had almost no money. It's an interesting position, if you think about it. I was being paid by the federal government to organize beneficiaries of a federal government program, but I could have gotten arrested for trespassing at a federally subsidized housing complex! Funny. Anyway, I thought about going to see RICK. I weighed the costs of going to the benefits of how much I would rock out. I decided that it wasn't worth it. I was too punk at the time to pay money to see a mere pop performer. There are a few decisions I regret more in my life, but not many. This ranks up there with not seeing the Ramones when they were alive or missing a free fucking Eddie Money concert last year. (Fuck, I'm still pissed about that one. Eddie Fucking Money for free! Fuck! But I digress.) It was only a couple of months later that I realized the magnitude of my error. I turned on the radio and heard "I've Done Everything for You" for the first time in over a decade and was totally blown away. What a great song! Punk rock's influence on power pop and pop rock is crystal clear in this song - big guitars, no-frills drumming, and a great melody. If you substituted lyrics about alienation or fucking shit up for the standard love poem contained in the song, you would have punk rock. The song had such an effect on me that I remember exactly where I was when it was playing. After the song finished, I kicked myself (figuratively, not literally, as I was sitting in a car seat) and promised myself never again would I fail to rock out when I got the chance. I have violated that promise a few times, but generally I've held to its spirit. If it weren't for RICK SPRINGFIELD, I would be a real estate agent or something.

Working Class Dog is a tour de force of teenage-level love and despair over lack of love and/or loving the wrong person. RICK was over thirty when he released this album, but it's clear that he remembered how love-obsessed teens are, and he rode it to great success at the time. Each song (with a couple of exceptions) has energy, which comes from building tension or just plain guitar-driven rocking. Everyone knows "Jessie's Girl" and "I've Done Everything for You", so let's put those aside. The first track "Love Is Alright Tonite" rocks hard and features some scandalous lyrics (see below). "Hole in my Heart", a slow song, has some of RICK's best singing on the entire album. "Everybody's Girl" and "Daddy's Pearl" are very strong rockin' numbers that could have been hit singles. "Carry Me Away" and "The Light of Love" aren't as listenable as the others, but still bounce along at a good clip. You could do worse.

When listening to this album, note the subversive nature of the lyrics. RICK is out to not only have a good time, but also to turn your children into love-making, heart breaking, id-driven beasts from Hell. Check out this line from the otherwise tame ballad "Hole in My Heart": "You're keeping an eye on the horizon, looking over your shoulder / Must be some demon driving you". Woah, a demon! How'd that get in there? He's no Morbid Angel or GG Allin, but keep in mind that millions of teens bought this album and heard this line. It got more than a few kids thinking about Satanism, I'd wager! Here's one from the opening song "Love Is Alright Tonite": "With the night comes the feeling that I've got this incredible power." Warlocks, werewolves, and vampires have increased power at night - so do demons! That may be how they do things in Australia, RICK, but not in the US of A! Or how about this line from "I Get Excited", which is on his subsequent album Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet: "The fire's ignited down below, it's burnin' bright!" Is he talking about his nether regions or the Nether Regions? Either way, it's a guaranteed youth corrupter. These double entendres have a way of changing people's behavior in un-American ways.

The last two songs, "Red Hot and Blue Love" and "Inside Silvia", are horrible. Inexcusably bad. If you listen to these songs, you'll want to kill RICK. I just pretend they don't exist. If I had this album on vinyl I'd scratch them out with a rusty nail or something. They keep the album from reaching Get the Knack, Bad Religion-Suffer, or Ramones s/t levels.

Working Class Dog earns nine out of ten skinny ties. If you count the dog on the album cover and the small picture of RICK in the dog's shirt pocket, I suppose the album has eleven skinny ties. The last two songs are bad, but they're the last two. All you have to do is stop listening after "Daddy's Pearl" and you'll be fine.

Monday, March 14, 2011

OFF! - First Four EPs

(Vice 2010)

Reviewed by NULL

To start this short review, I will simply give a few facts.
This is who OFF! be:
Keith Morris (early Black Flag / Circle Jerks) - Vocals
Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides) - Guitar
Steven McDonald (Redd Kross) - Bass
Mario Rubalcaba (Hot Snakes / Rocket From the Crypt) - Drums

As the title states, this is a collection of the first four vinyl EPs released by OFF! in 2010. 
 Not one of the these 16 tracks exceeds two minutes.

At 55 yrs old, Keith Morris and the boys have returned to show the MTV-PEPSI GENERATION-MALL RAT- FUCK-TWATS WHAT PUNK ROCK IS ALL ABOUT.

When I first put this CD on, I was filled with utter joy and happiness. It is a very welcome reminder that I am not alone; it restores my anger (motivated by love), and fills me with a humanity that TV, corporate entertainment, frequent encounters with moronic, thoughtless assumptions that are whispered and expounded around me on an almost daily basis. To me, this has always been the affect and purpose of thoughtful punk rock. However, though this is an “old-school-classic-early-80s style” of punk rock; it is not simply a nostalgia trip. This music is relevant, and sits perfectly in its time and place. Social consciousness is not a fad but a life long struggle despite what the editors of Rolling Stone magazine may want you to believe.

The passion and frustration erupts in leaps and bounds from this short and beautiful record. The lyrics are a little hard to grasp on the first go round, but when they start to sink in, the record just gets better and better. In the first track Keith screams “what the fuck!” as he ponders why his mind is filled with “Black Thoughts.”  Later, during, “I Don’t Belong” Keith sings of our society being, “drunk on hypocrisy…right-wing mentality, god and democracy, rep carpet loyalty” as he is “standing in the shadows and pissing in the punch bowl,” which immediately brings to mind the brilliant Chumbawumba song “When High Society Sits Down To Dine” from the album Un, in which they sing,  “When fine society sits down to dine, remember that someone is pissing in the wine, Pissing in the wine, pissing in the wine.” Ahh, it feels good to be among my people. 

By the time the 4th track starts, the music is so energetic and catchy I come really close to “po-going” out the fucking window. We are barely four minutes into the goddamn record, as the singer addresses the question you may be asking at this point, “You wonder why I’m always  SCREAMING, you wonder why I talk so LOUD,…you wonder why I’m always SHOUTING, you wonder why I’ve gotta YELL - Cause you turned this into a living hell!” The world is definitely “Upside Down.”
Later, in “Poison City” we learn of the of “Toilets clogged with Blackwater,” an obvious reference to the war contractors in Iraq. However, is he singing about Iraq or Los Angeles? The gap becomes smaller every day.
In “Now I’m Pissed” we hear about the system “building a better tomorrow for us, but the money’s not there,” then he asks “Who’s in charge? Who’s running this zoo?” He then reaches into his pockets to pay the rent, and finds only lint. The song ends with the singer shouting, ”Now, I’m Pissed.” Is it a warning or a call to arms as the populous begins to understand that they are constantly getting fucked; in all the dreams and promises of our great nation the hard reality is home foreclosures and unemployment as our benevolent leader is handed the Nobel Peace Prize. Which leads us into the track “Killing Away,” which feels like a sequel to the Circle Jerks’ “Killing for Jesus” and “Making The Bombs,” in which we, “Keep on repeating the Past!” 

There are also more personal songs like “Panic Attack.” In an interview, Keith talked about this song, he said it was inspired by the fact that at his age he finds himself waking up in the middle of the night in a panic, thinking “Why am I here!?” I guess some demons never die. He even has a great little song about his place and history in punk rock, it's kinda sweet. 

I won’t go through every track on the album. In the time it has taken you to read this review the album is already half over. I will reiterate that this is one of the greatest records I have heard this year, and I am sure it will show up on my “best of 2011” list. I just can’t get enough of it. And sure, Keith Morris has never been a great poet but he has often had important things to say in a very direct way, in fact, some of the songs on this album have very minimal lyrics, but that only makes them more powerful. Even though there is a lot of anger on the record and even a great song called “Fuck People” -  it is like all great punk rock - a humanizing effort. And I apologize for not speaking much of the other members of the band who I am fairly unfamiliar with, but let it be known, the band knows exactly what it is doing, and executes super catchy and energetic punk rock as good as any I have ever heard.  And thankfully, it is not over-produced!

If you feel a need to pop the painful zit of our diseased society, then pop that fucker with this brilliant album! It is wonderful reminder that makes my heart glow with the brotherhood and sisterhood of humanity; it reminds us that the common realities of our lives such as poverty, corporate control, dehumanization, and war are not to be accepted as part of our lives, but that they remain and have always been un-fucking-acceptable.

 The only negative criticism I have of the release is that there are only lyrics to five songs in the booklet. I am still having a hard time figuring out a few lines but hopefully they will come to me as I embark on my 160th listen. I love this record.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tom Robinson Band - Power in the Darkness

(EMI, 1978)

Review by Class Warrior

I am a public employee and a union member in the state of Wisconsin. I realize that this admission tells everyone out there where I am, but good luck finding out who "Class Warrior" is. I'm sure all of you know what's going on here. The cuts to our pensions and insurance hurt a lot, especially for someone who is trying to pay off a mortgage (what kind of class warrior has a retirement account and a mortgage payment?). The biggest sticking point for my brothers and sisters, however, is the curtailment of bargaining rights. Putting aside for the moment that union activity should go well beyond collective bargaining and donating to democrats, it's still an important right to have. We are in danger of losing these rights that we earned through years of effort, years of blood and struggle, because capitalists have been winning the class war.

Now we have proto-Fascists like Scott Walker trying to break unions once and for all. It doesn't work that way, you son of a bitch. Last Saturday, over 100,000 people were in Madison to protest this wanker's attempts to take away what we have earned. (I wanted to go, but it's a long drive for me - Mrs. Warrior was worried that the little Warrior would have an emergency or something while I was gone.) Walker's bill may pass, but he will pay a heavy price. Fuckin' prick.

Why bring up all of this in a music review? Because I love protest songs, and events like the one I'm living through make we want to listen to as much of it as I can! Tom Robinson Band's (henceforth TRB) first album is full of great left-wing political rock. This album came out in 1978 at the height of first wave punk's popularity, but it wasn't a punk album. TRB's sound falls somewhere between punk and pub rock with a big dash of 70s keyboard-powered funk (especially on the title track). Most of the time the keyboard (set to "organ" most of the time) fades into the background, but one notices it on all the songs. Otherwise, the music is the guitar-heavy stuff you'd expect someone inspired by the seventies punk scene would produce.

The lyrics are outstanding. Some people believe that politics and music should not mix, but some people are idiots. Tom Robinson writes the kind of lyrics that I love to hear. I wish I would hear them more often from other groups. Direct and powerful- there's nothing subtle here that requires figuring out. With song titles like "Up Against the Wall" and "Better Decide Which Side You're On", you know what you're getting. TRB includes some songs about driving ("Grey Cortina" and the classic "2-4-6-8 Motorway"), but most of them are uncompromising radical diatribes. Robinson sings about gay rights, class oppression, race politics, hatred for Thatcher and the Tories, youth rebellion, and many similar topics. If you don't sympathize with their political stance, you're not going to like this record!

My favorite song on this album is the title track "Power in the Darkness". This is the kinda funky danceable one. It has a strong bass line and the omnipresent organ laying down a groove for the guitar and Robinson's voice. He sings of freedom for all in a time of despair (hmm, sounds familiar...). The best part is a spoken word piece toward the end where Robinson plays the part of a conservative demanding freedom from certain elements of society:
"Freedom from the Reds and the Blacks and the criminals,
Prostitutes, pansies, and punks;
Football hooligans, juvenile delinquents,
Lesbians and left wing scum!
Freedom from the niggers and the Pakis and the unions,
Freedom from the Gypsies and the Jews;
Freedom from the long-haired layabouts and students,
Freedom from the likes of YOU!"

I love that part. It makes my spine tingle.

I listen to this album when I need a lift. When my will is low, when my spirits are flagging, TRB's songs rock me hard and the lyrics give me a good boot to the ass.

Power in the Darkness made me tickle my taint for eight minutes. More importantly, it lets me know that I'm not alone in the struggle for equality for all. Pay attention, plutocrats and would-be dictators - events in Wisconsin, revolutions in Egypt and other middle East countries, and continuing social change in Central and South America are the beginnings of a worldwide movement. You can't wish it away. We're going to win.

Some people think Power in the Darkness is too heavy on the sloganeering. If you agree, here are some slogans for you:

An injury to one is an injury to all.

The working class and Scott Walker have nothing in common.

No war but class war!

From each according to ability, to each according to need.

Now in Spanish (with apologies for lack of accent marks and upside down exclamation points):

La lucha continua!

El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido!


p.s. Fuck Scott Walker!