The Residents

Yeah, the residents of CRAZYVILLE-LAND, maybe!!!!

Come on, who's with me?

*special introductory paragraph!
*The Warner Bros. Album
*Baby Sex
*Santa Dog double-7"
*Meet The Residents
*Not Available
*The Third Reich 'N Roll
*Radio Special
*Duck Stab!/Buster & Glen
*The Commercial Album
*Mark Of The Mole
*The Tunes Of Two Cities
*The Mole Show Live At The Roxy
*Mole Show: Live In Holland June 6th 1983
*Assorted Secrets
*Intermission EP
*Residue Of The Residents
*Residue Deux
*George & James
*Title In Limbo (with Renaldo & The Loaf)
*Whatever Happened To Vileness Fats?
*The Census Taker
*The Big Bubble
*13th Anniversary Show Live In Tokyo
*13th Anniversary Show: Live In The USA
*Stars & Hank Forever
*Poor Kaw-Liga's Pain
*The Snakey Wake EP
*God In Three Persons
*The King And I
*Cube-E Live In Holland
*Freak Show
*Our Finest Flowers
*Anganok EP
*Gingerbread Man
*Have A Bad Day
*I Murdered Mommy
*Night Of The Hunters
*Our Tired, Our Poor, Our Huddled Masses
*1997: The Missing Year-The Original Disfigured Night Arrangement EP
*1997: The Missing Year-Scattered Unfinished Music Sketches
*1997: The Missing Year-Adobe Disfigured Night
*1997: The Missing Year-The Marlboro Eyeball Experience
*1997: The Missing Year-The Fillmore Dress Rehearsal (Act One)
*Live At The Fillmore
*Diskomo 2000
*In Between Screams: Intermission Music From Wormwood EP
*Roadworms (The Berlin Sessions)
*Play Wormwood DVD
*Demons Dance Alone
*Demons Dance Alone DVD
*12 Days Of Brumalia
*The Way We Were
*Animal Lover
*River Of Crime! Episodes 1-5
*Best Left Unspoken... Obscure Instrumentals Volume One: Pollex Christi And Other Selections
*Best Left Unspoken... Obscure Instrumentals Volume Two: High Horses And Other Selections
*Best Left Unspoken... Obscure Instrumentals Volume Three: For Elsie And Other Selections
*Voice Of Midnight
*Smell My Picture
*The Bunny Boy
*Postcards From Patmos
*The Bridegroom Of Blood
*Ten Little Piggies: Tunes From Future Projects
*The UGHS!
*Chicken Scratching With The Residents EP
*Talking Light: The Collection of Downloads (New York, NY)
*Dollar General
*Chuck’s Ghost Music
*Lonely Teenager
*Coochie Brake

San Francisco's The Residents play music wrong. You know how sometimes when you're playing music, you play a couple of things together that don't really sound good, so you fix them? The Residents don't fix them. They play notes together that don't go together -- usually singing (or reciting) metaphorical lyrics in no key at all while minimalist electronic arrangements of their crooked melodies flap around in the backview. Plus, they're very fond of minor keys, so their ridiculousness comes across as emotional and sad, in spite of it- and yourself. Sometimes it's charming and smart; other times it seems like they're pulling the same trick over and over again and could use a nice shot of inspiration. Because of some goofy "anonymity" trip they're on, nobody knows for positives' sake who the band members actually are (my guess: bruce dickinson, tony martin, andrew dice clay and that guy from Poco), but they've been steadily releasing a ridiculous amount of odd material over the past 40 years years. For some reason I have more than 70 records by them. Please pardon me for a moment while I describe each and every one of them.

The Warner Bros. Album - Unreleased 1971
Rating = 3

When The Residents recorded this abominable snowman of garbage bags, they didn't even have a name! If your band is encountering the same problem, here are a few ideas:
The Turds Of Love
Stinky Jim And The Newly Washed Kitchen Counter
Led Zeppelim
The Reggae Toastmasters Of 19th Century French Opera
Investments In LUV (Southwest Airlines)
The Tannin' Baums
5,000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle Of A Rare Jackson Pollock Painting
Nosehair: The Motion Photo
Elbow, Greece
The Dead MILFMen
Jimi Hendrix, But White And Lousy
The Musical Instruments Resting Silently Onstage For 45 Minutes, For $12.00 A Person
The Spam Email Reading "Save your time,dichloride dont go anywhere just download legal soft, hundreds of titles,baronet new software products and all of that with prices less then any box softwre ! Cheaper then ever, for example" UK
"Jew-Jew" Jewy And The Media
DJ Yo Wassup Booyaaaaa, Ph.D.
The Ethereal Magnificence Of The Regal White Swan -- No Hang On, Now It's Wallowing In Manure
"Titboobtit," Nature's Hilariousest Palindrome
The Gay Dandies Of Yggdrasil

So you see, there is no excuse for not having a name for your band. Or for having a name as shitty as "Finger Eleven."

In 1971, an unnamed band recorded 39 minutes of garbage and sent it to Warner Brothers in hopes of somehow getting signed. According to folklore, the label returned the tape in a package addressed to "Residents." And that's how they got their name! So you see, this recorded work was actually quite important to the band's legacy, even though it's terrible and reeks.

The Warner Bros. Album features 40 songs in 39 minutes. But these aren't fully-formed one-minute musical masterpieces such as those found on Mark Prindle's Smilehouse: The Tragic Remains Of An Abandoned Masterpiece. No, this basically sounds like a "fucking around" jam session separated into 40 snippets. Lo-fi, amateurish dicking around with instruments that aren't tuned to each other. Knowing what they would soon be capable of, one can almost hear the roots of genius in a few tracks, but it's all so sloppy, falsetto-heavy and purposely out of tune that it sounds more like that awful Smegma band than The Residents proper, even if that unmistakable hick voice does pop up every once in a while.

The best tracks ("A Merican Fag," "Snot And Feces Live At The Grunt Festival," "Art The White Elephant" and a few others) sound like the best of Thinking Feller filler, featuring intriguing instrumental tones, tight rhythmic repetition and bizarre humor. The worst ("Jimi Hendrix Dildo," "Ohm Is Where The Art Is," "Oh Yeah Uh Bop Shu Bop" and about 17 others) are a horrifying mixture of rednecky oldtimey music and screaming artless racket. Barroom piano, banjo, violins, acoustic guitar, rackety percussion, horns, kazoo and harmonica all weave their way through the mix - but the piano player seems to be the only member with any musical talent at all! What on Earth were they thinking, sending a tape this irritating and directionless to a major record label!? And how were they able to hone this mess of shit into such an idiosyncratic, fully-realized bizarro musical approach in just two years?

Actually, I guess two years is a pretty long time when you're young. Particularly if you're only TWO! That was philosophical.

The Residents reworked some of this material for a 2003 release called WB:RMX and it's not anywhere near as bad, so count your blessings!

Actually, there's another great name for a band: Count Blessings, The Faggoty Vampire!

See? It's so easy, it's like pulling teeth from a baby!

Reader Comments

I have to rebut your review of the Warner Brothers Album. I'm not really the biggest Residents fan. I really only like the 1976-1978 era and the two American Composers series albums plus random individual songs but that's it.

However, I'd rank The Warner Bros Album as the next best album by far. It's like one of those movies that is so bad it is good.

I've never been a fan of "Strawberry Fields Forever" so I enjoy them making it even crapphy. "Mad Sawmill of Copenhagen Germany" and "Baby Skeletons and Dogs" are the first blueprint of their better later works.

"Oh mommy, oh daddy" is a great deconstruction of the Blues. "Oh mommy, oh daddy again" is fun. "Going to Arcata Blues" is a western dancehall type song and I rank it up there with their best songs.

The song "In the Still of the Night" and "In the Still of the Night Again" are the funniest but for all the wrong reasons. It sounds exactly like the Residents tearing into the WhiteSnake song though it is like 15 years in the future.

"Om is Where the Art Is" has some of the worst lyrics ever written, but that's what so great about it. The untitled song after "In the Still of the Night Again" rocks out.

On the whole, I'd give 7 of those little record circles.

Add your thoughts?

Baby Sex - Unreleased 1971
Rating = 5

The Residents spend the first half of this unreleased LP demonstrating that they actually are a music band, albeit a quirky one. They then use the second half to remind you what a useless pile of chocolate shit cookies The Warner Bros. LP was. I find this sad. Nay, not just sad but tragedical. For this could have been the record to break them out of the underground into the mainstream, if only they'd had the courage to put more actual songs on it and then get signed to Geffen and put out an album called Nevermind with a bunch of hit singles on it. And that, my fellow travellers on this wonderful mysterious orb we call the moon, is the real tragedy of The Residents.

If the band's fascination with Frank Zappa wasn't already obvious by the freak-out racket and pseudo-doowop falsetto vocals of The Warner Bros. Piece Of Crap, it's impossible to miss here. Not only do they perform a side-long audio verite suite of electronic blurbles, sax bleats, drumbeats and screaming (a lo' Lumpy Gravy, but much, much worse); they even do a cover of the man's "King Kong"! Not a very good cover, but better than Dino De Laurentiis would have done probably.

In tribute to this LP's scarcity and my belief that reading about a song is the same exact note-for-note experience as actually hearing it, I will now describe each of these rare songs for all you Residents peanut galleries out there in the audience:

"We Stole This Riff" - Not a Meatmen cover. Sounds like a Santana song with a noodly guitar solo on top, but if the lyrics are any indication, it's actually a Tim Buckley rip-off.

"Holelottadick" - Tappy beat, penny whistle, lots of noises, wiggly psychedelic guitar echoes -- then into a gruffly screamed Led Zeppelin parody that would have fit so perfectly onto The Third Reich N' Roll, it's ri-"DICK"-ulous!

"Baby Sex" - Begins with a sorrowful old-timey organ piece, then brings in that parade music from Animal House as a reverbed young women tells a gross sex story. You know that parade music from Animal House. It's probably Sousa or something. Somebody should look that up.

"Deepsea Diver Song" - Old-timey country-folk! Acoustic strumming, noodly lead, redneck-through-weird-echo-backwardsy effect vocals, fiddle solo in stereo, "Never piss in the wind" lyrics -- a seriously nice lil' country tune!

"King Kong" - Disappointing Frank Zappa cover hinging on what I believe to be a speed-manipulated noodly guitar solo.

"Cantaten To Der Dyin Prunen" - A great, dramatic, ELP-esque Progressive Piano Piece (P.P.P.) that unfortunately falls apart into dull racketmaking, off-key trumpets, tuneless violins and Zappa-style group vocals - before returning to the serious piano theme at the end.

"Something Devilish" - Here is when things go horribly, unlistenably wrong and stay that way until the release of Meet The Residents. This is live footage of The Residents (a) screaming and (b) blowing air into saxophones that they can't play. The brilliant lyrics include "I masturbate! I smoke a joint! Can't you see?" and the name "N. Senada" repeated 500 billion times. A sophomoric, bald-faced failure to impersonate the Mothers of Invention.

"The Fourth Crucifixion" - A rotten continuation of the previous track, this is noise, racket, total crap and a waste of space. The WiLd FrEaKoUt BlOw YoUr MiNd lyrics include "It's the fourth crucifixion in five years," "James Dean died to save your soul" and the name "N. Senada" repeated a literally infinite number of times. They're still recording this track.

"Hallowed Be Thy Wean, 1971" - 14 1/2 minutes of an organ hum, a guy talking, electronic squiggling, eerie organ tones and snapping, explosive reverbed drum smashes, echoed redneck singing, high keys on a piano pumped through odd sound effects, a guy talking on a radio or something, trumpet, drumbeats, spooky carnival organ, cymbal crashes, electronic squirgling, more "N. Senada" chanting, lots of quick cuts & snippets, messy banjo, light slide guitar, a silly march of atonality, dialogue in funny echoed voices, more electronic squorgmles and organ notes, a guy introducing Ms. Peggy Honeydew, silly show tune piano with a woman singing "Go fuck yourself on the doorknob, Mom," ugly horn tooting, then that crazy-voiced guy from Third Reich 'N Roll singing over a booming bass drum, then lower growly talking, and finally more electronic noise and feedback racket. It's an interesting pastiche, I suppose - but not 14 1/2 minutes of it!

Say, here's something embarrassing the likes of which you don't read on the Internet every day. Did you know that if you manhandle your tooter for too extended a period of time, it has the capacity to swell up grotesquely for the 24 hours immediately following your crisis? I'm not free to tell you where I gleaned this piece of information, but I can tell you that I gleaned it twice - once without lubrication, once with. WTF is wrong with the peckers of this world when such a heinous crime goes unpunished? Come on, penises; knock it off. We've all got enough problems without you blowing up like a big fleshy marshmallow right here in front of the whole church choir.

Seriously. It's like NUMB too.

Or so I'm led to believe by those books and that people.

On another note, Henry The Dog hurt his footy and now he has to wear this gigantic stupid cone around his neck so he won't lick the wound. He doesn't seem to mind looking like a satellite dish but he can't walk four feet without ramming it into something! When will the dogs of the world learn that just because something is transparent doesn't mean that it has no mass?!? Come on dogs, get on the stick. You're keeping us awake all night, banging into shit.

Reader Comments

I have this, but I've never really listened to it seriously. After your review, I popped it and understand why.

"We Stole This Riff" is great guitar noodling but I got bored with that genre about 25 years ago. "Holelottadick" is a great parody but I hate how it just ends all of a sudden.

The whole rest of the album can be summed up in one word: BORING!!!!!

But it does cover the whole range of boring from coma-inducing boring to loud random noisy boring.

A 4 in my book. 3 for "Holelottadick" and 1 for "Riff". The rest of the album is a ZERO!

Add your thoughts?

Santa Dog double-7" - Ralph 1972
Rating = 6

I was at home in my parents' basement the other day listening to the police scanner and culture jamming on my ham radio when I realized, "You know what? I'm so cool that I need to buy a record to celebrate my coolness." That record wound up being Gerry Rafferty's "If You Get It Wrong, You'll Get It Right Next Time."


I hope you enjoyed my haiku poem. I wrote it under the auspices of a 'record review,' but truth be told nothing could've been further from my thoughts. No, I'm a haiku poem writer these days. Sure, I write them in paragraph form and don't pay much attention to the syllable count, but that's the old thing. Hey, this ain't your FATHER'S haiku poem!

Santa Dog (an anagram for "Dan's Toga," which is itself an anagram for "Sand Goat") came packaged in a Christmas Card, delivered via chimney by a fat white-haired man (Dan Aykroyd) in a sleigh. Its four songs are audio collages composed of catchy musical parts surrounded by avant-garde experimentation. It's too unstructured and all over the place to be completely satisfying, but it certainly is odd! It's also one of the few Residents releases that sounds "natural," as opposed to synthetic. Furthermore, check out all the voices in the mix that aren't the hick-voiced Residents singer! That's yet another point of interest I've uncovered right there. (*gives self pat on the back*)

(*gives self bat on the pack*)

Ow, my fanny!

Among the myriad breaks and sundry genre shifts, the Satan God listener will hear: ("Fire") warped Zappa-style r'n'b; ("Lightning") a toy piano performing "Jingle Bells" before joining horns and violins in their sicko ugly bleating; ("Explosion") tribal pounding, chanting, whistling and the phrase "When everyone lives in the future, the present is au revoir"; and ("Aircraft Damage") insane pre-Sun City Girls ranting, barking dogs and a harmonious choir singing "Kick a cat today. Fish are dumb."

And you know? They are.

Reader Comments
"Fire", or "Santa Dog" as I call it, is a true gem and is probably my favorite Resident original tune of all times. It's a silly, fun track that I haven't the slightest clue about what it means. The other three tracks are completely forgettable though and I've forgottten what they sound like. All I remember is that they are not good enough for me to go dig up the record to listen to them again.

Add your thoughts?

Meet The Residents - Ralph 1974.
Rating = 7

These guys were weird as the wind wright from the word "(w)Go." You can't even picture in your head the sorts of people who would make this sort of music. It's just this big stew of oddness that keeps hopping back and forth between annoyingly rhythmic clomping, avant garde piano noodling, synth horns and sleazy guitar, classical singing, Christmas carols, hick singing, female opera vocals, bizarre cover tunes and cute little keyboard melodies. With no real goal in sight. Just oddness for your enjoyment. Worth hearing definitely. I can't imagine what DJs must have thought way back in the early 70s when this arrived in their offices. The cover mocks The Beatles. The liner notes are ultra-pretentious. The first six songs all overlap each other so you can't tell where one ends and the next begins. And... what the hell genre IS this? It's definitely "experimental" but so many parts actually sound like music that you're almost tempted to call it nouveau classical. I guess we just have to settle for "fuckin' bizarre."

Grade is only a 7 because a hella lot of these amelodic splootch bits go on too long for my tastes. I have a short attention sp


Reader Comments (Mike K.)
Prindle is right. Not only can I not imagine what sort of person could make this record, I can't even begin to think of how they would go about making it. Ryan Hennessy (aka vinyl boy, the only guy to stand up for that avalanches album) did a review of it using the extended metaphor of a scientific experiment involving locking up a bunch of hippies who had never touched musical instruments in their entire lives in a studio for a month or so and seeing what comes out of it, and that's probably the closest explanation I could think of. My favorite thing about this album is the fact that half of the time you cannot at all identify what the hell they are doing to the instruments, or at times what the instruments even are. I mean most of their other stuff I've heard has it's share of odd noises, but at least on those you can say "eh, it's some sort of weird synthesizer or studio trick". But here the band hadn't even touched a synthesizer yet, and didn't have the budget for any sort of studio tricks at all. So any sound you hear in this record has been somehow made with a "regular" instrument. wrap your head around that for a moment.

This is less an album and more a collection of sonic moments really. My favorite of these moments is towards the beginning of "n-r-gee crisis blues". The Rez singer is singing along with a record of oldies classic "nobody but me" by someone or other, and for a while that demented hick guy who was screaming wildly out of tune for most of the rest of the album kinda sounds like your lovable eccentric uncle singing along to his old 45's after a few too many beers. But right when you're about to tap your good Ol' Uncle Stu on the shoulder and suggest he call it a night, the record starts skipping, the "boogaloo, like I" part plays over and over till it becomes a demonic chant, and some sort of evil spirit is stirred by the noise, promptly deciding to possess your uncle and make him start banging on a piano and yelling about an energy crisis or something. The "disco funk porn music on acid" feel of "infant tango" is quite something too. If Mr. Bungle covered that song it would probably blow my mind even more.

Hey, I just discovered the joys of not making my comments on something one huge gigantic paragraph! someone give me a cookie. (Fernando)
OMMAGAWD what a great record. I just so weird! But what amazes me the most is the amount of MUSIC that these guys put on here! You know, there are all those tape effects, the weird playing, the noises and the bizarre stuff going on, but there is MUSIC! Rest Aria is one of my favourites. I love how the classical-sounding piano gets onto a groovy, funky rhythm afterwards. Such a subtle, but radical twist! Infant Tango rules, too. I love Snakefinger's guitar. It sounds so groovy, so... South American! I AM South American, and I recognise a South American rhythm when I see one. Seasoned Greetings is damn hilarious - how the cute trombones morph into a maniacal rush, and the *TINK* percussions afterwards. N-Er-Gee is damn hilarious. I love the "Nobody But Me" part, with the increasing noises and an EXPLOSION. Brilliant! And all those short snippets of stuff on the beginning... Smelly Tongues, Numb Erone, Boots, Guylum Bardot... These guys were certainly ahead of their time. WAY ahead of their time, and this album is a proof of that. Amazing. A 10.
Many sounds aren't instruments at all, per se. for example, one of the percussion sounds in "Smelly Tongues" is nothing more than someone beating (in time) on a spring reverb pan. I think it's a hoot. (Gregor)
Mark, I don't know what you're talking about, but I've read a bunch of your reviews, and a constant theme throughout is a lack of familiarity with the drums. I'm going to take it that this includes a lack of understanding of rhythm as well. Meet The Residents may have been a bunch of hippys, thrown in a room with completely unfamiliar musical instruments, just to see what came of it. Or it could have been a well-orchestrated recording. To me, a drummer, it sounds very much like the latter. I'm listening to it right now, and I'm slightly handicapped by the fact that I only have an old bootlegged disk of the thing, and no liner notes and no track names. But if I remember correctly (from when I had the LP years ago), most of the first side after the Nancy Sinatra cover, "Boots," is layer upon layer of what has to be overdubbed, rhythmic tracks of various instruments. I say "has to be" because I don't know, but there are a lot of rhythms that lock together, even though they don't, really.

To appriciate how this music - and it IS MUSIC - works together, you have to drive down an interstate with your windows open and hear how all the sounds you hear in the traffic and outside world come together. They aren't MADE to come together, but if you listen to these noises with an ear for music, then your brain puts them together, eventually, in spite of itself.

I made comments about Residue of the Residents recently, and mentioned how it changed the way I heard music. Well, THIS record changed the way I heard THE WORLD. I now hear very beautiful (discordant, but beautiful) music, simply everywhere.

Brian Eno once made mention of "The Frame," in relation to art - ANY art. You put a frame around it, and that makes it art. OK. Well, a lot of frames are sloppily put together and the art there-in is crap.

But this stuff seems very intentional. The frame is the context of the long-playing record. What I hear is this: "In this amount of time, you will hear these sounds. We put it together intentionally for you to hear as music. This is how we hear it and this is how we hope you, too, will hear it."

It's deliberate.

I agree that a lot of their later stuff (and the later, the worse, in my opinion) became very self-indulgent. But these guys showed themselves to be, at the very least, MASTERS of framing. You hear their stuff out of context, and it sounds like a complete mess. But within the framework, it's beautiful.

You picked up on this when you reviewed Third Reich and Roll. Listen a little closer to Meet the Residents, and, if you have access to it, the Santa Dog 45s. I have Santa Dog as part of my Meet the Residents CD, and I'm sorry that I don't have it as it was originally produced, which was as 4, 45 rpm, vinyl cuts. But I can almost pick out where the breaks are. That, too, is VERY well framed.

The worst thing that could have happened to The Residents (and I'm sure that they would contest this) was the digital age, and synthesizers. If these guys were forced to make music with analog instruments and multi-track tape, I think they would have been complete masters of the art form. We may never know, but Meet the Residents is a hint at the potential genius they might have realized; it's really a brilliant flippin' record.
This was my second Res recording.Third Reich was first. I have rapidly as possible bought Mark of the Mole,Eskimo,Duck Stab,Commercial on my way to collecting as many Res recordings as I can.
So far, “Meet” and “Reich” are far and away the best I have heard,although I like all of the Res I have.
Am going to jump forward to Animal Lover,Demon and Tweedles and then back to Not Available and Fingerprince.
As far as I am concerned,they are America’s best group,head and shoulders above anyone else.
I really can’t describe my feelings about the Residents and their music other than I am very grateful to have chanced upon them. In a way,I have been searching for their music for a very long time,without knowing it.
I never tire of listening to their music. It is organic.
I am not much of a critic,but when I happen upon a pile of gold nuggets like these of the Residents,I know what they’re worth. Every other group for me have been knocked down a few notches after hearing the Eyeballs.
The word “genius” is over-used today;using it to describe the work of the Residents only goes part-way.
Their music is beyond words,beyond genius.Their music ought to be in the Smithsonian-it is an American original.
PS The point made about the advent of the synthesizer adversely affecting the ReZ is right on. I think their taped,analogue work is way better than the synths.
I hope they someday go on tour. I would pay a lot of dosh to see them on stage.

Add your thoughts?

Not Available - Ralph 1978.
Rating = 8

They claim to have recorded Not Available in 1974, then shelved it as some artistic statement Not sure of the point there, but then I, like most people, never quite understand just what the h-e-doublehockeysticks the Residents are up to. They (he?) have (has?) a really strange (bad?) sense of humor, so you always get the feeling that there's something going on that you're not quite getting.

Still, this is a retardedly entertaining record. It keeps careening unexpectedly back and forth between several dark, moody little melodies, usually piano and organ-driven, occasionally pepperspraying the mix with gorgeous bits of what sound like saxophone and flute, finishing the molasses with muffled, oddly paced drum-type thumps every once in a while. And vocals? That would be a mixture of normalish female singing and quirky male dialogue recited in a lazy hickish drawl. That's the voice of the Residents, btw: a lazy hickishheat in the porch.

The music, as off-key as some of it is, is still among the most "normal" music that the Residents have ever made. At points, it even kind of resembles a psychedelic nightmare lullaby by late-60s Pink Floyd.

Like "One Slip".

Reader Comments (Mike K.)
This is probably a totally weird place to start with the residents, but I got this because there were four or five different used residents albums at a local cd store for 6 dollars, sadly the mos I've ever seen in one place. They have 30 some odd albums, and yet I've never seen more than 2 at that same place at the same time. Anyway, despite having not heard a note, I decided to pick out the most interesting looking one. What I heard when I got home and put it on the stereo scared the bejesus out of me, and yet I knew I had to stick with it just because I hadn't heard anything like it. Then the next few listens were me becoming more and more intrigued and trying to figure out what the storyline to the thing is. And then finally I realized there probably isn't one, the Residents appear to just be fucking with your head by using a few basic elements of a story line and then making the rest of the album complete nonsense. In the beginning it seems to make sense in a bizarre Dr. Suess story on acid kind of way, but the moment you start thinking that the relationship between the whore and the porcupine is a metaphor for, um, something, they throw in these other characters that have nothing to do with anything else and something about a ship sinking, then go right back to the story they started with having successfully lost you. The highlight for me is when they actually manage to make someone with a silly high pitched voice saying "falling guards and winking bards are just the need today, falling guards and winking bards are just my needs, ok?" and variants thereof sound like some sort of dramatic epiphany. I doubt the whole story they give about it never being intended for release because the entire point of the album seems to be to confuse people. Unless of course they took the theory even further and decided to make a residents album that only makes sense to the residents. who knows?
'Sup, Mark!

As a long-time fan, even I have to admit that the Residents are much more interesting as a concept than as something to actually listen to. BUYING a Resident album is tons of fun. It's like you can actually FEEL the hip obscurity rays leave your skin as you purchase a CD of theirs (or even better, vinyl), secretly feeling smug about how much cooler your tastes are than those of the record store clerk. Even though my Residents collection is well into the double digits, however, there are still only a small handful of Residents albums that I really ENJOY listening to (as opposed to "enjoy enduring for musical edification purposes"). "Not Available" is without a doubt at the top of my list, and indeed, it's one of my all-time favorite albums, period.

It's a Rock Opera from Mars. It makes absolutely no sense, but is structured in such a way that it seems like it should make sense. It has beautiful melodies, but they're surrounded by scary ugliness and weird voices (the porcupine's voice recalls Grover from Sesame Street). I was taking a nap when I listened to it for the first time, and I had a strange sort of half-asleep dream that more or less acted out the "plot", and it's held a special place in my mind ever since. I'd venture to recommend this album to avant-progressive rock fans who've never heard the Residents before- it's pseudo-concept album structure and more-or-less symphonic orientation would make a relatively safe entry point for the uninitiated.

Add your thoughts?

* The Third Reich 'N Roll - Ralph 1976. *
Rating = 10

This was the first Residents album I ever heard, and resulted in me spending the next decade buying up every Residents album I could find and subsequently wondering why nothing else they've produced in their entire career comes anywhere near this level of brilliance.

The "concept" is that rock and roll is brainwashing our youth. But forget the concept. The real treat here is the product: The Residents have created two twenty-minute suites that completely TERRORIZE the greatest garage rock tunes that the '60s gave us. "96 Tears," "Psychotic Reaction," "Talk Talk," "Pushin' Too Hard" -- you name it, it's here. And it's RUINED. With slightly skewed, incorrect tunes, echoey discombobulated vocals and hoards of stiff fake horns, strings and the like butting into each number WAY too loud in the mix. Plus, they do a hilarious job of stringing together snippets of songs that sound kinda similar, making it a little embarrassingly obvious how few classic riffs there actually ARE in rock and roll history (example: "na na hey hey goodbye" and "hey jude" being mixed together -- or "in a gadda da vida" and "sunshine of your love" being demolished at the same exact time on different instruments).

When I was a child, I couldn't even begin to understand how a group could have made a record this weird and perfect. It never ends -- one brilliant, deconstructed "interpretation" after another, mixed in with what sound like German tunes every once in a while. I'm now 27 and still have a hard time figuring out how the heck they did it. What in Sam's Hill are all those weird noises? What in Pete's America did they do to the guitars in "Psychotic Reaction"? How in Bert's Convoy didthey get such a bizarre, crisp yet fake drum sound? And, most importantly, why the hello kitty can't the band make MORE records this astonishingly brilliant?

If you know your Nuggets, this masterwork will have you rolling on the floor in tears, laughing. Especially if you already have a floor of tears. If you aren't very familiar with '60s rock, the LP will still freak you out while hopefully compelling you to hunt down some of the original tunes!

Reader Comments
ya man, residents kick ass, you got that right. Eyeballs with Tophats, hitler was a vegitarian, hello Kitty. I like it, compelled to like it, like it. Mark Prindle is your name, Garbage reviews are your game, name game. good job on everything, and how the hell does everyone know about you. what is the magic mark prindle, where are you, why does everyone fly a giving fuck you about? pictures me, puzzles, even. good residents stuff, and melvins for that matter. maybe i'll send you my tape. Please put this on the third reich N roll review, and keep this line <~~~~~this one.
Nuts, but excellent. Weird, spaced out, deadly clever. Aliens covering the 1960s pop songs they heard from the radio waves they caught floating through space.

Dunia Fadel
If you needed proof that The Residents are one of the greatest bands ever and that this is one of their best (if not the best) albums ever, featuring Dick Clark dressed as a Nazi is proof enough. Right? RIGHT!

Prindle said the concept is that rock and roll is brainwashing the youth…I dunno. It makes me think of some Nazi ass (or well, Dick Clark) walking around with his brain half destroyed from nuclear radiation; squinting his eyes trying to concentrate and figure out where that racket is coming from and trying to make out what they're saying, dragging his feet to the noise: enter The Residents and The Third Reich 'N Roll on a stage too small in some seedy bar in Berlin where only a deaf and, ironically, blind man watches them. OR: maybe I've been brainwashed!

Finally, because it must be said as many times over as possible, the German version of Papa's Got A Brand New Bag is pooping phenomenal.

p.s. Mark Prindle: "I'm now 27…." Liar! :-P

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Radio Special - Ralph 1983
Rating = 7

Hi, I'm Ernest Go Stucamp. You know, when my parents decided to name me after a legendary Jim Varney film, I had every reason to be angry. Hell, I'd probably have been forgiven for murdering them in their sleep! Shit, I'd probably have been forgiven for bashing in their heads with my steel-toed boot! Fuck, I'd probably have been forgiven for strangling them with such force that my thumbs thrust all the way through their windpipes! Vagina, I'd probably have been forgiven for twisting their heads around and around until they lopped off in my hand! Taint, I'd probably h

My point is this: when your parents give you lemons, make lemonade. And then piss in it and give it to your parents, the fucks. The goddamned motherfucks.

Ernest Go "Stuhell" Stucamp
Arizona State Prison
Parricide Ward

This thoroughly entertaining cassette was created for distribution to radio stations in 1977, and only later re-released to the public. Designed as a sampler to introduce the eccentric band to radio programmers, it features eleven non-LP Residents tracks and seven 'interview' segments. I've no clue whether anybody actually played the thing on the radio, but they sure should've. It's funny!

Featured music includes the 1976 Satisfaction and 1977 The Beatles Play The Residents And The Residents Play The Beatles seven-inches in their entireties, three tracks from the 1977 Babyfingers EP (outtakes from Fingerprince), a medley created from the Santa Dog double-single, two rarities that would later find release on Residue, and a cover of Frank Zappa's "King Kong." Briefly, since I haven't mentioned them before: "Satisfaction" is a delightfully bizarre Rolling Stones cover that, though less energetic and technical than the later Devo version, is equally twisted; its b-side "Loser = Weed" is a likably odd banjo-sounding riffer spoken quickly in a squiggy high voice; the Beatles single pairs a passable acapella/fuzz guitar/electronics cover of "Flying" with a disappointing proto-Love pastiche of Beatles samples ("A Day In The Life" piano coda, "The End" drum solo, "Love You To" intro, etc.) entitled "Beyond The Valley Of A Day In The Life"; and the Babyfingers tracks are a must-hear for fans of Fingerprince -- particularly the classic "Walter Westinghouse," with its rhythmically boner-creating refrain "Eat Exuding Oinks Upon And Bleed Decrepit Broken Bones At Caustic Spells of Hell!"

Mixed between the songs are seven 'interview' segments which find The Cryptic Corporation's Jay Clem increasingly hassled by a belligerent reporter (secretly portrayed by the Residents' lead singer). Though these excerpts begin as fairly straightforward (and boring) informational pieces, they soon give way to such insults as "Once again, they've butchered up a big-time hit," "Is perhaps the show as bad as the music?" and the impossibly accusatory "Siamese twin tag-team wrestlers INDEED!" By the end of the tape he's given up even the facade of impartiality, haranguing Clem with outbursts like "You're no more than contented babysitters to a group of malcontented young fops!" and "Typical California idiots!" before the band drowns him out with aforementioned "Walter Westinghouse" chorus.

Being a vinyl LP owner myself, I honestly don't know whether the singles and EP tracks included here are easily snagged as bonus tracks on official CD releases. If they are, perhaps you already own them and I should shut my ass now. (I type with my ass) Nevertheless, you may still want to check out the Radio Special just for the silly interview bits. It depends on your money situation, I suppose. Personally I've spent the last 14 months unemployed and feeling like the Sword of Testicles is dangling over my head, so I'll do without, thanks.

Oh no! The Sword Of Testicles is squirting all over me again!

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Fingerprince - Ralph 1977.
Rating = 6

Side one is a spotty collection of blandish "songs." Starts with an awesome guitar-driven near-pop song, but then drops down into weird-key annoying hookless tripe for too much of the side to not notice and remark about to oneself if one is inclined. Side two, on the other hand, is a really cool moody 18-minute piece that repeats mantra-like keyboard and xylophone runs and weird noises over and over, building on them and building on them some more until they are drilled into your head for the rest of your eternal hellfire. I despise myself for making the Pink Floyd comparison again, but you know how people always talk about how side one of Meddle is mostly half-written pop songs, but the side-long "Echoes" is phenomenal? Although I disagree with every person who has ever made that statement, except for possibly Robert Christgau because my sweet jesus is that man a genius, I think I might make a similar statement about Fingerprince. The long song is certainly not so brilliant that it saves the record, but it makes it pretty obvious that, unless they're doing covers of 60s garage rock chestnuts, the Residents create a much more effective mood if they give their screwy riffs enough time and repetition to sink in and feel NORMAL to the listener. That, to ME, is the real challenge and reward: not to confuse the audience, but to take something confusing and make it feel "normal." The two-minute tunes on side one, for the most part, don't succeed in doing this. They're, to the regular listening ear on the side of my head, simply underwritten and undermemorable (although after two and a half minutes, "Boo Who?" starts to seem catchy in spite of its boring stupid little anti-hook). But side two starts off sounding like just another not-catchy-at-all Residents song until it keeps going and going and going and suddenly you're singing the stupid piece of crap in your head. Moody? Blues!

Reader Comments
The Residents usually inspire either one of two reactions from me: 1."Wow, that's a cool little atmosphere thing they've created" or 2."God, what a bunch of DORKS!!" From what I remember this one was pretty much number two. Cheesy synth noises with stupid lyrics. BUT since I lost my copy of this a couple years ago maybe I shouldn't comment. But I WILL dammit!! (Fernando)
I agree that these "songs" aren't THAT interesting, but I like most of them. You Yesyesyes is irresistible, Tourniquet Of Roses has that fun marching rhythm and the scary brasses, and Godsong... GODSONG! That's a brilliant song! How couldn't it be, with lyrics like "all God wanted to be was just a normal diety!" And You Yesyesyes Again is funny, because it sounds like some guy learning to play the acoustic guitar, and making amateurish variations on it - and it has tubular bells! I love Tubular Bells! I also think Six Things To A Cycle is absolutely brilliant. Very athmospheric, and yes, it does sound "normal" after a while. But what a weird normality! And that's the point, I suppose - weird being normal being weird.

This album, originally, would be a THREE-SIDED RECORD, and the "second side" was made into a separate EP called Babyfingers, and I think it rules just because if has Flight Of The Bumble Roach - one of their scariest songs! And the second half of the song would make Jean-Michel Jarre proud. I think. Good record. An 8.
At This "." And Time (For Me [Maks])!

Six Things To A Cycle Pt.1 To Pt.6 Is The Best Musique By The Residents They Compose!
All I can say is that Les Claypool must’ve listened to this recording 10,000 times.
I like it.

Dunia Fadel
Few of my friends have ever heard of The Residents, and those who have, have never heard of the lesser known Residents gems like Fingerprince. How you gave this 6 is beyond me... The first half covers satirical (pop-ish) gems while the second half is a long tribal ballad all about...uhhhh...growing up (the percussion is just outfuckingstanding, rhythmic and repetitive in a way that makes your head spin—in a good way). In a nutshell, it's a combination of the primitive Residents and the more pop-friendly Residents we heard and loved in Duck Stab.

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Duck Stab!/Buster & Glen - Ralph 1978.
Rating = 8

In what I consider to be an incredibly selfish move on their part, the Residents on this album went out of their way to prove me wrong -- they CAN in fact write a bunch of great actual "songs". These songs are weird, for sure. Avant-garde definitely. Out of the ordinary perhaps. Strange no doubt. Bizarre perchance. Eccentric evidently. Nubile philter. Burt Nobody. Never Gonorrhea. Faithful bush. Naked foot. Ears ears. Face of meanness. Dirt? Clean it! This is a bunch of very quirky but CATCHY AS HEY songs done total Residents style. Mostly weird keyboard/organ/synth/piano type deals with distorted, sped up and slowed down hicky drawl vocals. But catchy! Annoying at first listen. Even dumb-sounding, mainly because it sounds like a solo project by half of Devo (not the half including the drummer!). But listen close and you'll hear the songs go verse-chorus-verse with little keyboard crescendos where a normal band would put a guitar solo. Good stuff. Doesn't sound nearly as unfinished as the short stuff on Fingerprince! Makes 'em seem a lot more clever too. They CAN write decent songs; they just usually chose to do something ELSE with their time!!!

Reader Comments
I first listened to not available so every rez opinion depends on that shock (10 grade). I still think that Duck Stab and Buster deserves a 10 grade for the courage. I mean who expected an album of SONGS? I really really loved them.
I think this is my 10. Bach is Dead, Krafty Cheese & Hello Skinny are all amazing and the rest is listenable. And they reused a melody from The Electrocutioner on the Whispering Boys from Animal Lover.
You nailed this one. Even the promotional materials at the time made note of the presence of actual songs! With that in mind, this is pop music Residents-style, which means it has far more in common with synthpunk and electronic no wave than anything else. It certainly isn't related to the glut of Kraftwerk-wannabe synthpop dreck from the same period (and I'm not insulting Kraftwerk themselves, or every synthpop act for that matter). This is one of the absolutely essential Residents discs.

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Eskimo - Ralph 1979.
Rating = 7

Critics always call this their best album. So I bought it and thought it was stupid and irritating. Just a bunch of bleeps, bloops, wind sound effects and chanting. So after a couple of listens, I finally got around to reading the liner notes. And I'll be hogtied! You're SUPPOSED to read the liner notes! They're little Eskimo-type stories! See, the album is like a book-and-record, see! You're supposed to read while you listen! Like Michael Nesmith's multi-gold-silver-platinum-trillion best seller The Garden, which has held the top fifteen spots on Billboard's "Hilariously Bad Albums" Chart for the past eight years! So I enjoyed Eskimo then. But not as much as "the critics". Because the liner notes are better than the songs, which STILL just sound like a bunch of hippies smack jabbin' and beep boopin'. But with purpose, you understand. And them wind noises, they DO get creepy at times, especially during the more macabre tales.

So I assume critics must like it because it's such an avant-garde "out there" idea. It IS a clever idea. But it's certainly not a record that most people would want to listen to very often. It's one of the best book-and-records I've ever owned, right up there with "Fleshyman And The Gypsy Backscratch," but in and of itself (without the words which I've already established are typed onto the album cover in various collections which will heretofore be referred to as "sentences," "paragraphs" and "pedophiles"), most of the record doesn't stand. "The Walrus Hunt" has a simple but memorable little melody, and "The Festival Of Death" starts cookin' nicely about halfway through, but "Birth" is just a bunch of screamin' and "My Sweet Lord" is a complete ripoff of the old Chiffons classic "I Pass Stools Better With Both Of Your Fists In My Holes."

Reader Comments (Fernando)
A wicked album. Why? Well, it's supposed to be an music-and-story album, and it's a good one. The stories sure are interesting, and the "music" is very well made. It goes on VERY well with the story. I particulary dig Arctic Hysteria and A Festival Of Death. The Walrus Hunt begins the album all inoffensive, but soon you'll be hearing about giant serpents and kids kidnapped by evil spirits! Wow! Weird. But then, you realise that the album is just a big fuckabout. It's all humour! These Eskimo stories are blatantly fake, and this makes the album even more brilliant. Just listen at the Eskimos going "Coca-Cola adds life!" on The Festival Of Death. It's a great record, certainly. Not to be enjoyed the same way you enjoy Duck Stab, or The Third Reich 'n' Roll, but hey... each Residents album has a different way to be enjoyed. This is a very unique and groundbreaking album. And the cover features the eyeball costumes! I love those eyeball heads. They're lovely!

Is it just me, or one of the Residents is a girl?

Dunia Fadel
The Residents are one of the most bizarre groups ever and their music is at odds with...just about everything you can expect in Crazyassland.

While most of their albums released in the 70s are more than interesting (Duck Stab!/Buster & Glen, The Third Reich 'N Roll, Not Available, Meet The Residents...), Eskimo was the first album that earned them real critical recognition (as Prindle mentioned) and something, I believe, they should have received for Meet The Residents, and if not Meet The Residents, then definitely for Not Available. However, if you needed more proof that critics are lame fat people who don't know good music when it smacks them across the face because they've become tone deaf from all the mainstream shit they listen to, then this is it. Not all of them, just that lame bunch, including, more recently, the guys at Pitchfork.

This is beyond doubt strange, its uninhabited-sounding music and (invented) language distinctive and imaginative (not 70s material, not even 80s material). But, do I consider this release a music album or do I consider it a documentary about Eskimos with some added Residents craziness? I'm going to go with the latter. Not a bad thing though! Eskimo life (music, rituals and dangers—attack of the polar bears) is made interesting through the eyes of the Residents for a change.

Arctic Hysteria and Festival of Death are my favorites on this album.

p.s. I've seen them live and one of the members is DEFINITELY female. I can tell these things, small boobs, lack of penis (because I look)...not hard to miss.

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The Commercial Album - Ralph 1980.
Rating = 7

What an obnoxious band! This album features 40 one-minute-long songs - all in that off-kilter, slightly annoying Residents style. The liner notes say you that if you want to hear them as actual "songs," you should program them to play three times each. Some of the songs are catchy for the time it takes them to end; some aren't! None of them really develop much. Just treated vocals, keyboards, light guitar and occasional drum-pum-pum. These guys aren't big on drum kits. So don't ever expect a full band sound from them. YOU'LL BE CRUISING FOR DISAPPONTMENT!!! One thing to note: The Residents were a big influence on both Primus and the Thinking Fellers Union Local 282. If you ever wondered (and I know you have, because you always wake me up at 3:30 in the morning banging on my door and/or wife asking me) why Les Claypool sings in that stupid way, check out this early Residents stuff. You'll swear that Les stole the Residents' master tapes, sang over them and reissued him to score some major green from all those Residents fans in my apartment!

I wrote a song tonight - let me know what you think of this chorus:

My girlfriend is a jig! Got nerps 3 miles big! (repeat sixty-two jillion times)

(four minutes later)DAMMIT!!! Deicide just stole my new song and scored a big hit with it on VH1!!!! FUCKIN' PISS ROCKET!!!!!!!

Hey... did you just call me a piss rocket?

Reader Comments
this is my favorite residents' album out of the 5 or 6 that i am familiar with. plus my copy has about 10 bonus tracks, including a cover of "we're a happy family" by the ramones.
Every once in a great while, an album tops my own "baker's dozen" (my thirteen favorite albums of the year...everyone should at least purchase an album a month and then get one for their birthday or something) for reasons somewhat unrelated to the actual music. The Residents' Commercial Album made it's way on to my 1980 baker's dozen because the idea of it is simply brilliant. It's difficult to listen to all the way through, but then has anyone actually sat through 40 minutes of nothing but commercials? And like advertisements, some of the songs I like, some I can't stand, some make me feel happy, and some just irritate the hell out of me. The album is the same way. But what makes this release so vital is that The Rez actually purchased sixty second ad time on a local S.F. top 40 station because no "normal" commercial radio station would even dream about playing a Residents' tune. Can you imagine the insanity of their "Easter Woman" positioned next to the jingle "Coca-Cola ads life!" or right before Kim Carnes "Betty Davis Eyes." What may have started as a joke became a truly existential idea. On a much higher level, the radio station claimed buying advertising to play their songs was a form of "payola" and the station eventually pulled the songs/ads from their spot breaks. At least The Residents spent their limited cash resources in a very open and honest manner unlike R.E.O. Speedwagon. Around the same time, R.E.O. provided key radio programmers with gold watches, thereby securing their upcoming release, High Infidelity, instant airplay. How ironic that "Keep On Lovin' You" wasn't pulled from their playlists for payola violations! I can assure you that R.E.O. didn't make my baker's dozen list... (Steve)
This was actually the 1st residents album I bought, after being turned on by this band from a friend of mine I decided to buy this because of the ammount of songs and the 1 minute length of each.Very clever 50 songs,10 bonus tracks with the cd,All these songs are different from each other.These are like sick twisted poems with intellegent use of synths.Mind you this is not cruising down the highway on a warm summer day music,More like tripping on acid music.But I like it for its weird,unearthly,demented feel that I crave.This is probably a good residents starter kit album,for the songs are short and you can hear the differences of so many.
Medicine Man is one of the creepiest songs I had a chance to hear in my life. Spirits Drifting by Brian Eno is the only one that tops it in scariness.

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Mark Of The Mole - Ralph 1981.
Rating = 7

Hey! MY name is Mark!!!!

This is a conceptual like album about these Hole Workers, see, who are driven out of their underground homes by a big storm. So they move into this other land place where the people there hate them and, as far as I can tell, build a big machine to try to drive them away. Then there's a war or somesuch. It's a commentary on social and political struggle - maybe the Israelis and Palestinians? America vs. its immigrants? Whatever it is, it's neat!!! Very creepy atmospherics from beginning to exeunt, including news reports and um... okay, synths and treated vocals.

But atmospherically CREEPY synths and treated vocals!!! HUH??? HEY!!!! HEE!!! HARREE!!!

Some really nice lyrics on this one, including the Hole Workers' chant about finding a "holy land," which is soon revealed to be a "land with lots of holes." And the one where the new land people try to drive them out is hilarious! "We don't want your ankle, we don't want your knee! All we want from you is for you to up and leave!" Interesting yet again, these fine Residents beeze, even if they rely almost entirely on simplistic synth lines careening against each other in a semi-depressing spirit of disharmony. Confusing as always, with lots of bits that are kinda difficult to understand (especially with, at least in MY vinyl version, a complete lack of liner notes explaining what's going on), but pretty intriguing for a bunch of fucking Communists.

When I first started writing these Residents reviews, I was going to see if I could review their entire catalogue without cussing. I can't do it. I like cussing too much!!! A blue word is the hobgoblin of my small mind.

Reader Comments
this one is neat if you're in a certain mood, but other times it's really really really annoying. "won't you keep us work/SCREEEECH!!!". on the prindlemometer this one registers around 6ish today, at 2:19 pm 12-9-00.

i've lost interest in typing, so a couple final residents comments: the freak show cd rom is cool. i played it at one of my dad's friend's houses when i was 12 or so, having no idea who the residents were at the time. some fat chick eats worms. and you can snoop through the freaks' carney trailers. hell yeah.

for someone who has never heard the residents, the compilation called our tired, our poor, our huddled masses is a good place to start, as it has stuff from pretty much all their albums. too bad my friend borrowed my copy and dropped in in a fuckin' lake.

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The Tunes Of Two Cities - Ralph 1982.
Rating = 5

So I was in the bathroom counting the tiles on my poop the other day and

Nah, just kidding you. A man's maturity is a representation of his inner spirit, and I need you to understand that deep inside my being, I am a sensitive poet artist visionary dreamer with a huge thick cock, so I'm going to cease my incessant digressing and discuss the matter at hand: BJs.

There's nothing on this CD worth your time. It's stupposed to represtent the stounds of both of the civilizations featured on Mark On My Pole, but it'st justt a bunch of keyboard diddlest. The onest for the normal peoplest are kinda like old-fasthioned dance hall type diddly-diddle, and the otherst are boring Estkimo-type Thorpedo, but without the liner notest. IT BEGINS with some catchy '40s-sounding little tunes but turns sour brrrrrrlily fast before finally picking up for a hot (with a capital city) finale.

Mostly instrumental, mostly one-dimensional, moistly snatch.

I've had it with all of these offensive reader comments. Must I ask you yet again to watch your language out of respect for the pregnant mothers and old people who make up the bulk of my audience?

Reader Comments (Craig J. Clark)
There's nothing on this CD worth my time? What if I told you that hearing "Smack Your Lips (Clap Your Teeth)" on college radio was what made me run out and get this album -- along with Commercial Album, Mark of the Mole and Intermission? What if I told you that I heard a portion of The Third Reich 'N' Roll on that same station and wasn't half as impressed with it?

There's a saying on Usenet -- YMMV. I think it definitely applies here. (And I guess it means I'll just looove The Big Bubble.)

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The Mole Show Live At The Roxy - 1982.
Rating = 5

So the album is playing and I'm explaining the story to my girlfriend and she says, "So it's about Mexicans?" Could be! So then I explain that it's a live version of the record I was playing this morning and she laughs and says, "A live version of this shit?"

So that should hopefully give you some indication of what kind of band the Residents are and especially what kind of project The Mole Show is. It's a live album from their first ever live tour (they needed some money), and features some light narration by Penn Jillette, tall hirsute star of the world-famous comedy/magic duo Crosby Stills and Nash. The live show and/or album features the Mark Of The Mole story in its entirety, interspersed with songs from The Tunes Of Two Cities. It's okay. Some of the synth melodies will make you tap your toe; others will make you wonder if this mostly-instrumental nonsense was any more interesting in a concert setting. Listen at your own Risk by Milton Bradley. I'd rather be shooting dope into my eye.

Oh hang on that was a typo - I of course meant I'd rather be "shooting the POPE in the eye."

Reader Comments
Hi. I have a bootleg copy of the 1982 Roxy "concert". It has an old computer paper playbill or something with the record.

Of course the cover is the huge eye. It's a hoot. What do you know about the bootleg copies, and how many are there out there. I have a 1976 Meet the Resident with Crayfish cover, it's a hoot. I bought them because I have love of theater of the absurd.

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Mole Show: Live In Holland June 6th 1983 - Torso 1989
Rating = 7

Admippedly I haven't listened to the Roxy version in about ten years, but this Holland version is a downright hooter! Not only do they perform the entire Mark Of The Mole album with all its crazy synthesizer noises, but magical entertainer Penn Jillette's narration ranges from the touching (recalling when his childhood home burnt down) to the bizarre (getting a bit TOO angry at the fictional Chubbs for their attitude towards the equally fictional Moles) to the absolutely hilarious (ranting at the Residents for giving the Dutch a dishonest 'big American' ending: "Put your hands away or I'll fucking kill you! GET THE FUCK OFF ME! THIS IS A FUCKING RIPOFF!!").

Obviously, if you don't like the Mark Of The Mole record, a complete live version isn't exactly going to 'thrill your gorilla'. But if you either (a) haven't heard it, or (b) like it and also enjoy the work of Penn Jillette, then this live Holland recording will 'feed your frankenstein'! And for the encore, they zip out the Rolling Stones' Devo song "Satisfaction" and the sadly beautiful "Happy Home" from The Tunes Of Two Cities, both of which will 'only women bleed'.

Speaking of which, I should totallyass form a band called "The Mole" so I could go around and tell people, "Hi! I'm Mark of The Mole!" The friends I'd make and the lives we'd lead.

I hate jokes so let's end this with a list. Here's a list of my ten favorite things about America:

1. Freedom - raise your fist and yell!
2. The flag, with all those red menstrual smears. Pretty sneaky, Betsy Ross!
3. The way all our presidents formed that band and sang "Peaches"
4. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! Steve Jobs.
5. Barack Obama, who only exists because his father was down with the swirl
6. "E Pluribus Unum" (Latin: "Nice Pubis, Mom")
7. Jim Belushi, whose incredible talent and charisma helped the nation to heal after the 9/11 attacks
8. Saline breast implants, to purchase and keep by the TV
9. Our proud and strong armed forces (gay)
10. Sarah Palin's pending death of a cocaine overdose

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Assorted Secrets - Ralph America 2000
Rating = 8

When The Mow Shole turned out to be an indefatigable failure, The Residents needed money and fast. To secure a quick influx of bread, they released a cassette featuring several live studio recordings and a Mole Show rehearsal. Years later, they added a few bonus tracks and put it out as a CD. It is this CD that I will review for you here today in my home, while nude.

The CD includes newly recorded versions of three Tunes Of Two Cities, two Commercials and Duck Stabs, one each Eskimo, Third Reich N Ro, Not Availabo and Fingerpro, and the entire Mark of The Mole LP. It also features lots of annoyingly high-pitched synthesizer noises. Nevertheless, it's a very solid primer of the Residents' early records up through Mark Of The Mole, if you don't already own them and want to get a fever for the flavor of their singles. The Mark Of The Mole material is particularly interesting in that -- in the absence of Penn Jillette -- the Residents' singer adds in-character narration to explain the story.

That's all I care to say about The Residents' Assorted Secrets. However, here are some jokes I'd like to share with you:

What hilarious and timely song parody did Neil Young perform at the Winter Olympics?
"Only Luge Can Stop Your Heart"!

What can you get a Wookie for Christmas when he already owns a comb?
Cologne, to cover up the stench of matted shit in his fur.

I'm sure there are more, but that's all I can think of right now. Oh wait, here's one more:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Knock knock!
Knock knock who?
Knock knock JOKE!

Okay that's more of a template than an actual joke, but you see where I'm going.

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Intermission EP - Ralph 1983
Rating = 7

I'm drunk.

5 songs, 25 minutes. From the Mole Show. Tribal effected drums, weirdly-toned keyboards, ugly piercing guitars, chintzy church organ, keyboard, sick harmony female vox, singer.

1. "Lights Out" - Slow drums. chruch organ. distorted Snkaefinger lick, eerie wiggly keyboard, the flood, SCREAMING! etc.

Fuck this. I described it. You dn't need it. Track 4, "Would We Be Alve" was covered by Nomeansno, and the firth song has a really nice church organ line. But the others lose their way in ugly keyboard riffs. Ugly and gross. If you like the Residents' ugly and gross material, then sit on a brick and dance around in a corporate office.

The most important thing ever is as follows:

Buy the CD Mark Of The Mole and this crap is already on there.

But also, here's something important:

People are inherently pricks. Don't trust anybody. Look at Bernie Madoff.

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Bernie Madoff!
Bernie Madoff who?
Bernie Madoff (made off) with MILLIONS!

He ruined lives because he's a prick. Everybody in this world except me is a ruthless asshole. All I ever wanted was for people to be honest. But they're psychopaths -- they don't want to be honest. They'd rather rip people off for their own benefit. MURDER THEM, PLEASE.

Our half-white president was set up for failure. There's no way that ANY president could come out of this shithole successfully. Bush II ruined the country. He put us in debt, in war, and in no hope of survival. Yet somehow Obama will get blamed -- just like Carter after Ford and Nixon. The Republicans ruin everything, and the Democrats get blamed. FUCK YOU, IDIOT CHURCH-GOING PIECES OF SHIT REPUBLICAN.

Obama will not succeed. Nobody could. The nation has already been destroyed due to Bush's cabinet and their arrogance/stupidity/greed.

So don't worry about this Residents EP too much. Good night.

I'm drunk with love for you.

Oh wait! I almost forgot!

This world is full of monsters. KILL THEM. I would, but they'd put me in jail. And I'm too pretty for jail (drop the soap, etc).

Look, I'm sorry this review blows but I have a ton of things I have to deal with, including unemployment, posting a billion CDs on ebay to try to earn money, dealing with my ex-boss's attempts to screw me, trying to find a new job, working a small freelance job, etc. It's hard to concentrate on shit like a Residents EP. It's a good EP; it's just that the songs are too long and tend to drag after a while. I'm depressed. Sweet God, why are people so rancid?

Reader Comments
A new defence:
"Mark Prindle told me to do it!"

Is this how cults start?

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Residue Of The Residents - Ralph 1983.
Rating = 9

This is a collection of unreleased and hard to find goop and gems from their whole career - it's excellent! None of these songs should have been toss-asides - nearly every one of them is gorgeously fumpted up and catchy. Funny sounding! Eerie sounding! Droning, chanting, pulsing, beeping and even music! It's all represented with vicious wildebeasts of variety on my turntable right now! Come over! Bring chips, President Reagan and a mustache! We'll hop on my Harley-Davidson and cruise around showing off our arrested development and failure to acknowledge the fact that everybody thinks we're a bunch of dorks! Then we'll change tacks and grow big mohawks and wear leather jackets that say "The Exploited" on it and run around showing off our lack of creativity and failure to acknowledge the fact that everybody thinks we're a bunch of dorks!

Post-script: The Residents are perhaps more interesting when taken in compilation form because they don't get so obsessed with one theme, story or mood.

Post-script B: Bikers and punkers look stupid. They should get normal haircuts and wear suits and ties. That way, they would look much more suave and debonaire while "cruising" for "pussy" on their "Razor Scooters."

One thing about Razor Scooters: They will NEVER go out of style.

Reader Comments (Gregor)
This is my first and still favorite Residents record. (Maybe it ties with Meet The Residents). I'll freely admit that it's probably because I am more comfortable (because of my age and pop cultural background) with a collection of songs than with some sort of boring old theme. But still, this was a flippin' amazing record, and it changed the way I heard music for the rest of my life. When I was 17 and my sister was 8, I'd babysit, and I think this record changed her life even more (for better or worse? You'd have to ask her). I'd punish her bad behavior by making her sit in her room with no lights and listen to this music. Scared the bejeezus out of her. I understand that she's still a fan, too.

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Residue Deux - East Side Digital 1998
Rating = 8

This is an expanded CD version of Residue Of The Residents featuring (a) a different version of "Jailhouse Rock" than on the LP, (b) "Ups And Downs," a dark twisted take on bachelor pad lounge muzak, replacing the LP's "Walter Westinghouse" and (c) ten additional songs. Of course I've already said all there is to say about the original LP, having literally talked your ears off for hours and hours about the warped rock hit "The Sleeper," lovely western ballad "Boy In Love," fuzz guitar frashfest "Shut Up! Shut Up!" and all the other classic classics of that classic classic. But this expanded version now -- now that's something altogether differable!

The new (yet old, as all tracks predate 1984) additions include:

- The Residents' contribution to Ralph Records' Subterranean Modern LP, a typically freakish mini-rock opera nearly destroyed by ear-stabbing high-pitched group vocals in every song

- Three-part nightmare lullaby "Safety Is A Cootie Wootie"

- An excellently eerie and wrong-headed cover of The Monkees' "Daydream Believer"

- "Daydream In Space," a hilarious Ween-esque three-parter that quotes Sun Ra and Barry White before a pitch-altered "Space Is The Place" mantra reacts to an abrupt musical shift by exclaiming, "This isn't space! What happened to space!?"

- "From The Plains Of Mexico," a strange but lovely one-sided single that finds a young cowboy lamenting his accidental murder of a romantic rival

Let me just say something here if I may pull a crazy trick and do so: the original Residents line-up was one of the most unique, bizarre and creative pop bands in history. Pick any of the 22 songs on this disc and you will come away thinking (a) "Wow, I've never heard anything quite like that," (b) "How exactly are they creating those tones? Are those instruments!?" and (c) "What's up with the hick-voiced singer?" The fact that such an idiosyncratic approach still resulted in music that was as hooky as it was off-kilter is testament to the band's incredible intelligence. Unfortunately, 1982 found original Residents Jay Clem and John Kennedy hittin' the fuckin' road, leaving a half-empty Homer Flynn and Hardy Fox to clean up the shavings.

Which reminds me: why does everybody act like the identity of the Residents is such a big secret? It says their names right there on the first album: George Crawfish, John Crawfish, Paul Crawfish and Ringo Starfish. Come on stupidasses get the shit outta your eyes and stop reading your dick for a motherchanging fuck.

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George & James - Ralph 1984.
Rating = 5

This was the first installment of the "American Composer Series," an idea that was shut down after two installments because it's a stupid idea that resulted in stupid, boring music. Side one is the Residents (or rather, what sounds like one person dicking around with a keyboad) screwing up three George Gershwin classics (though I will admit in a heartbeat that the somber, eerie reworking of "Summertime" is awfully well done). Side two is the Residents (or rather, what sounds like a guy with a keyboard and a guy using a funny growly voice) recreating 17 minutes of James Browns' Live At The Apollo LP. Some of this side is insanely funky in a "cheap as shit synth bass" way and the ridiculously gravelly James Brown impression is a hoot the whole side through, but that still doesn't mean it was a good idea. It's projects like this that make the band seem a lot less focused and intelligent than the actually are. What could possibly be the point of creating music like this? Taking what other people have written and simply playing it WRONG on a keyboard? Third Reich 'N Roll sounded like it took intense brains, smarts, intelligence, mind and ideas thoughts. This sounds like somebody sat down for 36 minutes and then released a CD. And this isn't the only time that The Residents have done something like this! Lazy sons of whores.

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Title In Limbo (with Renaldo & The Loaf) - Ralph 1984.
Rating = 8

I've just about had it with scofflaws. Everybody's a scofflaw these days. For example, just the other day I was walking through the subway station and I saw a woman let her child slip UNDER the entryway bars so that she wouldn't have to pay the fare. This to me is scoffing the law and taking advantage of our free democratic society. My proposal is that everybody in the city is declared a policeman and given a policeman suit. That way, we will have a city filled with law-abiding policemen and no scofflaws. Thank you for your time and energy.

This record is constantly and insistently good (until the end when it is bad), but the thing I like best about it is that all the songs feature great little catchy memorable cold synth lines. And repetition! So all the songs are actually "songlike" instead of just irritating smoophs of nothingness like much of the band's later work. Presumably this is the influence of either Renaldo or The Loaf. They are odd; quirky, almost Devo-like lines, but very cold and usually without drums. A little scary, but too playful to be forboding. There's also a lot of synth noise piled on top of the main lines - sometimes this is a little too amelodic to appeal to the ear of the fine wine cuisine connoiseur, but I insist that if you drink enough wine, eventually everything will be bright and there will be a bright light drawing you to a better place (HELL). This is all hearsay mind you, but I love the ukulele thing in track B and the Chinese-sounding thing with the saxophone that starts off the album and how number 3 is a creepy lullaby with a woman singing and how number 4 is kinda like My Sharona played by dead people until at the end a bunch of weird beeps and clangs welcome you to a land of noise but #5 is Resients blues! Dark, spooky electornic erepoaetinve. I don't like anything else about the album execpet some of the songes aon side two like the one where the scraggo;y old residents louisiana singer and the REnaldo or The Loaf guy trade off vocals -- it makes it clear just how oddball the Resdients is when put in comparison to a normla voiced man on the street. GOOODOOOGOOODOGOOODOOOGOODOOGOODOOGODOGOODOGODOGDOGODGODOGDOG until it wears thin at the end. Mostly though - you'll keep going "meldoy! theat's a meldoy!" and you'll sing along and eat a tv dinner.

For some reason, my Spell Check just jumped out of the computer, grabbed its hat and headed out the door.

Anybody got a toothpick I can clean the pastry out of my dick with?

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Whatever Happened To Vileness Fats? - Ralph 1984.
Rating = 4

Whatever happened to putting forth any effort when writing your music? This is the soundtrack to some stupidass short film The Residents made. The film has an asinine "avant-garde" plot that I'm not even going to bother telling you about because you won't find it clever or entertaining at all if you're over the age of 14. The music is more of the same. Some guy playing some keyboards. Occasionally he'll come across an interesting melody/countermelody. Other times you just sit back and wonder how he can stand playing this boring instrumental tripe without getting bored to tears. But then again, it IS a soundtrack -- the music was developed to go with video footage. It probably goes much better with that. Personally I think ALL soundtracks are boring! I don't understand how they sell! I mean, sure, something like the soundtrack to Simon Birch is worth taking fifteen days off work to let every brilliant note sink in and raise soul to flesh and bring my aura closer to God Our Creator and yes I suppose it goes without saying that the soundtrack to Phenomenon has gotten me through many a lonely night in the big city when the whole world seems to be against me and quite frankly if it weren't for the soundtrack to Dr. Doolittle, I probably wouldn't be alive today what with its stirring voice of wisdom and dream of universal communication on not only a verbal but also emotional level, not to mention the soundtrack to Bright Lights Big City which I had recorded onto a small computer chip and inserted directly onto the surface of my brain so that it constantly playing over and over and all outside sounds are funnelled through it to become something more powerful than ordinary "sound" or "language", and certainly

Hey! Do you smell iron?

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The Census Taker - Episode 1985.
Rating = 5

Ah, see, The Residents clearly read the above Vileness Fats review that I wrote and published in Rolling Spin when I was 11 and now they're making amends by handing me a soundtrack album that's actually fun to listen to! And how come? Because a lot of these songs are old Residents songs that they're just reusing here! The melodies have already been established as "good" so there's no guessing game as to who is going to enjoy the slow keyboard meanderings of these one-to-four increasingly boring young entrepreneurs.

And the movie itself stars Garrett Morris, just one of the many enormous hit movies that he has carried since wisely leaving Saturday Night Live in the late seventies.

No no - NINETEEN seventies.

No no - nineteen SEVENTIES.

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The Big Bubble - Ralph 1985.
Rating = 3

One of the most intentionally unlikeable albums I have ever heard in my life. The concept is that some of the former Mole People (rolls eyes) have formed a band, and are helping to promote the idea of forming a separate Mole homeland. So remember how on The Tunes Of Two Cities, the songs kept switching back and forth between the new-land people's cabaret-type music and the Moles' dark chanting? Well, this CD is a combination of the two by a Mole band called "The Big Bubble". The Moles have become so assimilated into their new culture that they have adopted the instrumentation of the new culture (in the Residents' case, synthesizers and the occasional fuzzy guitar). But their musical ideas remain the same as they used to be. Dark simplistic melodies that basically alternate between two ugly minor chords, topped with chanting that doesn't make any sense. It's an interesting idea in theory, but holy christ are these annoying songs. I read somewhere that The Residents are influenced by peoplelike avant-garde composer Harry Partch and crap like that, but I don't care. Music is an AUDIO art form, meant to be heard, thought about and accepted by the ears. If you want me to rate the Residents' IDEAS, fine -- I think the whole Mole thing is an interesting concept but I'm not a big fan of fantasy fiction so when they start discussing things like "Kula Bocca" and the "Mohelmot," I lose interest. And I DO find it intriguing to hear how the Moles have picked up the musical sounds of their new culture without losing their own ideas. But MUSICALLY, most of this shit hits my ear as really irritating, cold and forgettable. Which is probably the point. Even the liner notes suggest that this "Big Bubble" band isn't very good. So why in God's name would The Residents pay to release something like this? Just to be weird? Well, they've succeeded yet again. Good for them.

I DO love the vocals though - the nonsense chanting is really funny. And "Kula Bocca Says So" actually has a melody!

Reader Comments
Has anyone ever looked at the Mole albums as a metaphor for the Residents? I don't know if there's even much to find, but on the cover to The Big Bubble you've got three white guys and a black guy. If you look closely at pictures of the Residents in the eyeball costumes (the two I noticed were the cover to Eskimo and a picture on the booklet or inside of The Commercial Album) you will notice that three are white and one is black, with the black guy all the way on the right. In the artwork for Big Bubble this order is reversed.
This rez album has one song on it: "Cry for Fire" that has a terrific guitar solo in the end by Snakefinger. It's sort of like bad sex followed by a terrific orgasm. (henry holmessssssssssssss)
the 4 people on the cover are not the rezzies and one of them is not black! in fact none of them are. maybe

yeah this album is a bit of a stinker 4 me too .a few good moments -the first track "Sorry" is kinda cool and the last couple of minutes of the last track. when i first heard about the idea for this album it sounded cool like them trying to do "conventional" rock song formats but i was a tad wrong.

this is an album within an album. there are two front covers and 2 back covers which is cool. i really like yr site mark- it always cracks me up when i have too much spare time on my hands. right now i am listening to labradford. hey mark! - why dont u review some nurse with wound??

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13th Anniversary Show Live In Tokyo - Ralph 1985.
Rating = 7

Guest guitarist Snakefinger makes this album. He turns what could have been the usual selection of synth-and-treated-vocals jingles into what are ALMOST fully developed songs with interactive components like a Transformer! They run the gamut of Residents non-classics, from Elvis covers to Mole tunes right on back to Buster and Glen songs, all in a long never-ending suite of shit that the audience clapped at for reasons still unclear to David Gemini and his wise men of the village green.

Oh, don't give me your shit - I'm so tired of explaining the mythology of David Gemini and his wise men of the village green. Let me just put this way - If you don't put a quarter in your ear at 4:30 every day, you're going to Hell.

Problem with this CD is that it's 76 minutes long and maybe 18 minutes of that is pure garbage like "Amber," "Lizard Lady" and "Semolina." BLAARRRGHH! is the sound one would make if one were vomiting.

Reader Comments (Ben Greenstein)
As close to a "best of" collection as they ever released, it's still not enough to turn me into a fan. I'm just not really a fan of rough, ugly stuff. Some of the instrumental stuff is pretty good, though, and I really can't blame it for "not being my thing." I give this one a six.

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13th Anniversary Show: Live In The USA - Ralph 1986
Rating = 7

I'm durnk. Bippity boppity bippity RAPISTS STOP RAPING PEOPLE!!!


Aren't you tired of record reviews like this? Nevertheless, every issue of Rolling Stone is filled tide to hair with drunken idiocy and people talking about their dogs. And how often have you picked up a copy of Spin or Guitar Player only to discover a bunch of curse words and a knock-knock joke about a penis where the reviews should be?

Well, no more. Here at, you'll find "Objective Record Reviews And Nothing But"(TM)! That's the Promise(TM).

Take for example the obscure Residents album 13th Anniversary Show: Live In The USA. Were the social scientists here at to review that little-heard relic of gemsteryear, their critique would likely contain the following information:

FACT: The double-CD features live performances of five Commercial Album tracks, three each from Residue of the Residents, Buster & Glen and The Big Bubble, two from The Census Taker, and one each from Meet The Residents, Fingerprince, Babyfingers, Not Available, Title In Limbo, Duck Stab, Mark Of The Mole, George & James, Our Finest Flowers, the It's A Man's Man's Man's World single and a various artists compilation.

FACT: The songs all flow directly into each other with no space between tracks.

FACT: Guitarist Snakefinger lends a hand to the proceedings.

FACT: And thank God he does because otherwise it sounds like two people up there -- one singing in a hick drawl and the other playing strange melodies on cheap synthesizers.

FACT: The Big Bubble is an absolutely terrible record, so thanks for playing three songs from it dumbasses.

FACT: A guy on FaceBook said it's pointless to get this one if you already have the Tokyo one.

FACT: The only four songs on here that aren't on the Tokyo one ("I've Got Rhythm," "The Big Bubble," "Hop A Little" and "Diskomo") are all pretty substandard, so the guy on FaceBook has a valid point.

FACT: If you've been hankering to hear the trimmed-down, disappointing '80s version of The Residents try their hand at material written by the bulked-up, bizarre '70s version, Bob's your old man!

FACT: Every time I pick up his leash, Henry The Dog barks and runs around the couch.

FACT: Knock knock!
Who's there?
Penis who?
Well, how many penises do you know, WHORE!?

[Please note: The Promise(TM) isn't so much a 'promise' as a 'loose guideline'.]

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Stars & Hank Forever - Ralph 1986.
Rating = 7

Back to the old "American Composer's Series" schtick again. This time it works better because the Hank Williams side is entertaining as a fish walking around with a top hat and cane. Can you imagine such a scene? Ha ha! Let us enjoy a hearty belly laugh together at the mere vision! The hick singer and keyboards make Hank's thick country tunes sound somehow bouncy and new wave! "Kaw-Liga" is, in fact, so, catchy that, they rele, ased it as,a,s,ingle and my loverfriend couldn't stop dancing to it! Side B is a parade of synth-happy marching bands ruining John Philip Sousa classics. It's not as friendly and doesn't try to give you five like that guy Vince I used to work with who when he quit claimed that he was leaving to take a job in California and then emailed the OTHER half of our company letting them know that he was really accepting a higher paying job just a few blocks away from our office the rat fink I lost my train of thought waitfigure out where I lost myself and then probably start a new paragraph. Wait here! Don't move a muscle!

Okay, I was discussing that side B is instrumental and harder to pay attention to than side A because it's one long suite instead of individual songs. It's okay though.

I wish we knew who the Residents are/were so that we can pinpoint exactly what happened to make them stop trying. Third Reich 'N Roll sounds like the work of five or six REALLY smart people. This stuff sounds more like one guy dicking around at home. Disappointing.


Reader Comments (Michael J. West)
Aw, come on, Mark. You and I both know that you find their version of Hank's "Jamabalaya" really creepy and neato. You can't lie to me. Especially considering you and I probably both got our copies of this album by dubbing from the same ratty bit of vinyl at XYC.

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Poor Kaw-Liga's Pain - EuroRalph 1994
Rating = 2

Residents Fans Demand "Kaw-Liga" Remix Album
Associated Press
April 15, 1994

Washington, DC -- Thousands of music fans gathered in the streets here today to demand that Congress draft legislation forcing The Residents to release an album of "Kaw-Liga" remixes. The popular Hank Williams cover, which first appeared on the band's 1986 Stars & Hank Forever LP, has captured the world's fancy from hither to thither, and none of us can get enough of it and we need more.

Colorado Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell has been especially supportive of the measure, stating, "Only The Residents can fully understand the plight of the Native American. My father struggled with alcoholism, often leaving the family for weeks and months at a time. My mother had tuberculosis, most likely due to the blankets that John F. Kennedy gave us for Christmas. And saddest of all, my sister Alberta committed suicide at age 44. For these reasons, I need the Residents to put out a version of 'Kaw-Liga' that's just a bunch of swooshly noises and a xylophone."

"He's right!" agreed Joe Wurzelbacher, an Ohio player. "I'm getting ready to buy a company that makes 250 to 280 thousand dollars a year. The Residents are going to put out a 'Kaw-Liga' remix that's just the singer whispering the song title over and over through a delay pedal, aren't they?"

The Residents, a secretive band led by anonymous members Homer Flynn and Hardy Fox, were unavailable for comment. This is unfortunate because Saudi warlord Osama bin Laden stated, "I love 'Kaw-Liga' with its borrowed 'Billie Jean' rhythm line and stinging guitar tone. However, its current length is both too short for radio play and too long for house dancing. If they don't remedy this, I'm going to have my men kidnap two planes and fly them around above southern Manhattan in protest. Don't worry though - I'll have them fly pretty high so they won't hit anything."

Nobody knows what's going to happen, but one thing's for certain: if this remix album comes to pass, it will be every bit as exciting as a Ministry remix album.

"Wait, I know what's going to happen!" shouted Timothy, a 165-year-old tortoise that served as a Royal Navy mascot in the Crimean War. But before he could complete his statement, I squished him with a gigantic porcelain vase, frightened by the very idea of a talking turtle.

Reader Comments
I'll agree with you 2 rating on this. However, in the history of music, has there ever been a remix that hasn't been purely awful? When I hear "remix album" now, I think "garbage" immediately.

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The Snakey Wake EP - UWEB 1988
Rating = 7

This was a very sad time for The Residents, as their friend and occasional guitarist Philip "Snakefinger" Lithman passed away of a heart attack. Ann Wilson stabbed him over a piece of bacon!

I apologize. Sometimes the only way we can deal with grief is through humor. The Residents felt similarly, but replaced 'humor' with 'music.' This beautiful and sadness-filled EP was their final tribute to their fallen comrade, and by "comrade" I don't mean to imply that he was a Communist. No, Philip Lithman loved America. In fact, there was nothing he loved more. Except people, and love.

The Residents are a wonderful group of people, and this EP was supposedly recorded live in a club with the band dressed in black, wrapped in black netting, and carrying black umbrellas. Personally, it sounds studio-recorded to me -- there's no audience noise at all -- but if you think I'm going to sit here and accuse The Wonderful Residents -- and I capitalized the word "Wonderful" because to me it is every bit a part of their identity as the word "Residents" -- of lying or tomfoolery, then you don't know Mark Prindle. Mark Prindle is filled with trust and love, to combat the hate and paranoia that has rent itself so firmly into our social fabric. But don't worry -- Mark Prindle knows that you are a good person. He can tell by your soul.

The wake begins with a dark, dramatic and damngreat cover of Henry Williams' "Six More Miles," and continues its ship-shape tribute with "Lament," possibly the prettiest and most sparkling song in the entire Residents catalog. Reportedly based on an old English lament, it is gorgeous. Then it gets all buzzy and turns into a Pink Floyd outtake or something that resembles such. Either way, I can assure you that Snakefinger wasn't rolling in his grave; he was rocking in it.

Then the next two songs are a disappointing bunch of crap and monkey noises, but come on their best friend just died; you can't expect them to be at the top of their songwriting game. Grief takes its toll. Nobody should ever die. I should be able to hang out with a 278-year-old George Washington tomorrow, and throw a frisbee with him. George Washington loved frisbees. But the cold hand of Death took that away from him.

The wake ends with "Depart," a sad, disturbed and childlike lullaby performed on clinky instrument and faux-accordion. And not only does it mark "Depart" ("the part") of the show where everyone should bow their heads in respect; it also makes clear what a "Depart" ("deep heart") Mr. Lithman had during his short and gracious life. But how could he not, when he counted the joyful and tender Residents among his closest friends? That would be enough to make any man cherish his life, even if it only lasts 38 years. Why, in just a year and a half, I (Mark Prindle) will be 38. And I hope to Jesus God I don't die then, because I haven't had the opportunity to tell every man, woman and child on the planet how much I love them yet. That is my every goal in life -- to spread the wonder and spirit of, and its happiness. If you need a friend, you know you can count on me.

Via email, at least. Unless I'm busy. But in spirit, I'll always be your pal and confidante.

Unless you get annoying. But even then, I promise to be here for you.

Well, not "for you" necessarily. But I do promise to be "here." I live here.

Reader Comments

I give it a nine!

Skinny Doggyz
primal is no load of crap.

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God In Three Persons - Rykodisc 1988.
Rating = 8

Weird fucking story. And I don't mean that as an epithet. The story itself is about weird fucking. A narrator engaged in weird fucking with a pair of Siamese twins who can heal the sick. To be honest, the story is pretty darned interesting and the music is nice too! Though centered around a re-positioning of the main "Double Shot Of My Baby's Love" riff, they move forward and noodle around with different sounds, moods, ambiences and overdubs that all mirror the action taking place in the story. You have to read the lyrics though. Otherwise it just sounds like a redneck talking over a bunch of keyboard melodies.

The lyrics, by the by, are pretty goddamned brilliant. Aside from relating an intriguing little narrative they are written entirely in...umm....diamic pentameter? Shoot, I can't remember the name of it. You know the rhythm of "The Raven"? This ENTIRE sixty-minute album is written using that rhyme scheme. Awfully clever and it must taken a hell of a long time! Maybe THIS is what The Residents were working on for all those years that it seemed like they weren't putting any effort into their albums!

It's not, mind you, the greatest album ever. Aside from some jokey female harmony vocals, all of the lyrics are simply SPOKEN, which may grow a bit tiresome to some listeners. And I still don't understand or appreciate why they insist on playing that damned "Double Shot" riff over and over when they are clearly capable of creating their own wonderful music (as exemplified by the rest of the record!). On the whole, though, one of their most intelligent records in my opinion!

Ooh! And it features the lyric, "So I slipped my dick into it"! Brilliant John Denver reference!

Reader Comments
Not only is that main recurring riff taken from that "Double Shot" song, but that same fucked-with riff appears on side one of Third Reich 'n' Roll.

I just realised this, today. D'oh.

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The King And I - Rykodisc 1989.
Rating = 6

Ah me. Those Residents sure are obsessed with not writing their own songs, aren't they? The concept here is that Elvis was never really happy. Why it takes 16 screwed up Elvis cover tunes to make that point is never made clear. So what you're left with is minimal narration sandwiched with

In the spirit of dishonesty, this record is brilliant. Holy cow I have never been so excited as I was the first time I heard the Residents play dark, spooky synthesizer versions of Elvis' rock and roll classics. "Wow," I thought. "What a brilliant bunch of people these Residents are, wasting an unconscionable amount of time and recording tape on a bunch of worthless throwaway material like this. Absolutely brilliant. Right up there with Harry Partch." And then I ceased thinking and continued washing my ears out with my own shit.

Say, while we're on the subject, can you make my brain stop hurting? It's filled with anxiety all the time. And it can't think of anything interesting to say besides profanity. Okay, let's give this a whirl. Hi! I met Keith Richards about six months ago! I told him how much I loved Satanic Majesties and Goats Head Soup and he laughed uproariously in his inimitable drunken way. Then I asked him why the Stones haven't officially released all of those great unreleased tunes that everybody has on bootlegs, and he answered, "Well, they're THERE... and the longer we wait before putting them out, the more money they're worth, dya know wha' I mean? So if we ever have writer's block, they're THERE!"

To which, of course, the obvious response is "A writer's block for the Stones? You mean like... the EIGHTIES???" But I was polite and didn't even mention Dirty Work once.

There! See, that was interesting wasn't it? And it had as much to do with The Residents as this album has to do with Elvis.

Oh! And I've talked to Joey Ramone briefly a few times here in NYC. Last time I saw him, he passed right by looking really sick. Rumor has it that he's really sick with cancer or something, but he denies it. So go talk to Rumor if you want further information on that.

Oh! And the singer for the Didjits tried to sell me pot once.

Oh! And one time I met some guy from The Waltons!!!!

Did you hear me???? The goddamned Waltons!!!!

Reader Comments
I kind of liked this lp. It was the first "Residents" lp I ever heard (I've only ever heard 2). It used to be one of the two tapes a friend of mine used to own (the other was the Seeds' first album) so I'd get to listen to it every time I went round to see her.

At a later date I acquired a recording of this performance that I seem to have mislaid... Ok, so Elvis is a great big myth, especially in your country, and maybe this album doesn't really do justice to him but I kind of dig it nonetheless. It's certainly weird enough, if weirdness is a quality. The thing is : Elvis' songs are such standards, such undisputed canons of pop music (and justly so I may hasten to add) that we come to consider them as unchangeable entities, a bit like the Beatles' songs until that anthology series came out and we got to witness deconstructed versions of the songs we knew so well. So it's a positive move to take these songs apart and give them a "Nick Cave does Elvis" vibe.

Ok, so maybe John Cale's version of "Heartbreak Hotel" is better. Then again, who cares ?

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Cube-E Live In Holland - Restless 1990.
Rating = 3

Pathetic. The pics of the big-time neon-heavy costume-dandy live show sure look enticing, but the music put down on this CD is horrendous. It's supposed to be a history of American pop music in three acts, but in Resident-ese, all that means is a bunch of keyboard bloops with cowboy lyrics, followed by a bunch of keyboard bloops with some guy screaming the number "44" over them and then a batch of hideous -- i mean HIDEOUS -- covers of Elvis tunes. The Residents KNOW that they ruin music; at this point it's not even deconstruction: it's just synth-driven garbage. So what is the point? Just to be willfully obscure? To make everyone wonder what they're up to? I for one don't care, and suspect that for most of their career, they (or he) really have no clue what they're trying to accomplish -- or at least, how to go about accomplishing it.

I give this album a 3 because a few of the synthesizer melodies are kind of pretty.

Reader Comments
It's not that bad! i mean it's not good either... i agree with the fact that they only wanted to sound obscure at that time.. remember that two residents were gone and maybe the little creativity they had (flynn and foxx) was used to create dark tales based on old cowboy songs and creepy (and sometimes stupid) elvis covers...

for example i really love two songs from this album "from the plains to mexico" and "bury me not"... two sad stories about murderer cowboys murdering each other over wonder americans are so crazy... there's a compilation called "kettles of fish" that includes a 3 cds plus a dvd with some live presentations and some great songs
Mark, you sure are missing out here! I think the problem is that you listen to so many records that you dismiss some simply because you can't find the time to get into them all.

I don't think you have given this album a chance and time. It is VERY special. It has lots of wonderful music. And especially it is a beautifully atmospheric painting of USA.
I wouldn't have thought much of the album either, but I saw them perform this live. Oh my sweet god, they are amazing on stage. The live show was perhaps one of the most quirky yet unforgettably charming experiences of my life! Bury me not still gives me chills. I took my younger sister to see the show. She was expecting The REPLACEMENTS. Whoops. We are still waiting for her to be discharged from the hospital......

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Freak Show - Cryptic 1990.
Rating = 5

A good idea executed in an excruciatingly drawn-out, tiring manner. This is the stories of a bunch of different circus people -- FREAKS, if you will. And the production is strong and there are loud fake drums and very nice female vocals -- but the songs just creep on and on, collapsing into horridly slow slops of spladge-dadge presumably meant to create some kind of "freakish" mood. But it puts me to sleep. There's some cool keyboard interplay on here, for sure -- but the songs just get lost halfway through. Maybe that was the point?

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Our Finest Flowers - Ralph 1991.
Rating = 3

Another interesting idea shot to hell. Man, these guys are just old and tired. And by "these guys," I'm seriously suspecting that there's only one real Resident. Two at most. There's just so LITTLE going on! But anyweigh, my point is: instead of a straight "greatest hits" compilation, what they've done here is take old songs and screw around with them, taking just bits and snipples and creating new songs out of them.

PROBLEM: The Residents are a lot slower, less innovative and more boring than they used to be. These new songs are really REALLY hard to sit through without just kicking the shit out of your stereo in anger, anguish and angina.

Mmmmm sweet sweet hairy angina.

I'm sick of this slow "nothing but synths" shit. I can't wait to move on to my Flipper reviews.

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Anganok EP - RSD 2009
Rating = 3

Mark "Spoonman" Petrakis spent 20 years in theater before becoming a web site designer. I'm assuming he was still in theater in 1991 when he wrote this bizarre narrative about a bored angel who decides to adopt a son, thereby taking the place of the son's father -- an insane sea captain seeking a transparent whale. Shortly therafter, he locates the whale (by smell) and is summarily eaten, thus winding up a bored angel again. I could be totally wrong about that plot summary; it's a little hard to follow. One thing's for certain, though: at one point he says, "Kiss my ass, fishface!" which I believe most of us would have to agree is none too dissimilar from my own lyric "Suck my ass, you cocksucker fish!" located at the tail end of "Postmodern Fish: Alternative To What?" on the Low-Maintenance Perennials' 1996 Chicago XX: Chicago's Greatest Hits CD-R.

Mr. Spoonman of Soundgarden fame (not really) sings his merrily tune in the theatrical voice of an avant-garde theatrical agent, but is unfortunately failed to the codpiece by The Residents in one of their least memorable outings ever. Musically they just aren't doing ANYTHING! A whole lotta background keyboard slop if you wanna know what I think, in my opinion.

When listening to this 19-minute rehearsal of The Residents' barely-performed Anganok opera, I am immediately reminded of David "Pere Ubu" Thomas and that hilarious insane songsmith Copernicus. Shortly thereafter, I am reminded of pretentious hippies, terrible puppet shows and the most boring man in the world bouncing his penis up and down on a Casio. Seconds later, I am reminded to turn it off before I fall asleep with my head in the oven.

Wait - you don't keep your stereo speakers in the oven? Then how do you expect to take advantage of all the Dolby!?

Reader Comments
Holy shit, I thought I was the only one who knew about Copernicus! It's really a shame that he's not better known, his stuff is hilarious. I considered reviewing his discography on my blog, but his first three albums are only on vinyl. I have physical copies of them, but don't have a turntable to play them on.

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Hunters - Milan 1995.
Rating = 5

This is the soundtrack to a PBS nature series. Lots of cold vibes and nice mature musical bits on here. Very listenable and normal, though still creepy and dark enough to fit the subject matter. All instrumental, though, and the songs mostly shift back and forth between memorable parts and not-so-remembranceable paradigms. Also, it's kind of yuppie meditational Ray Lynch "Deep Breakfasty" and definitely not fit for every mood unless you have a mustache. But boy them frick frack frickles Residents sound a lot smarter without that hick singer spoutin' off at the lipship, don't they?

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Gingerbread Man - ESD 1994.
Rating = 6

Nearly as eerie as the Suez Canal! This CD chronicles the innermost fears of nine different characters, all set to the same X-Filesish music with slight variations, each featuring one sung verse followed by a nightmarish collection of echoed anxiety thoughts that are occasionally comprehensible, occasionally not. Worthless without the liner notes, which explain what is going on with each character. Musically it's a little disappointing aside from the repeating main theme, and they could have made the "anxieties" a little less buried in the mix so you could understand what the people are actually thinking. Still, it'll get you if it's late at night and you're in the right/wrong frame/state of mind/Utah. Mingerbread Gan was also available as an interactive CD-ROM, but if you ask me, the CD alone is spooky enough! Hell, even the album cover makes me pee in your pants every time I see you!

Speaking of which, how come every time I ram my dick in the C drive, the naked lady on the screen doesn't have an orgasm?

Reader Comments (Ben Greenstein)
My opinion - lame. Biggest problem is that all of the songs are the same - I mean, LITERALLY. There are parts where the melodies are slightly different, but for the most part they aren't changed around at all. This strikes me as the kind of "experiment" that just doesn't work. Oh, and I have the CD-ROM version, and the "interactive" program is just as much a waste of time. Just a bunch of weird, distorted graphics that look more like a bad screensaver (either that, or my computer is really fucked up!). I'd have to give this a three.

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Have A Bad Day - Cryptic 1996.
Rating = 3

It's the soundtrack to a CD-ROM. Come on -- how interesting is it going to be? Mostly instrumental and forgettable, the doldrums broken only by the hoedown narrative "Lottie The Human Log" and creepy as sin peek at the sick mind of the loving father and husband "Daddy's Poems." The rest of it is dangling from the end of my rod stewart as we speak, just a-suckin' away.

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I Murdered Mommy - Ralph America 2004
Rating = 3

It's the abandoned soundtrack to a never-completed CD-ROM. C moon -- isn't that a great song? If only The Residents had performed "C Moon" on here, I'd have given it a 52. Instead, it's a bunch of keyboard instrumentals -- not even really songs, but just incidental music filled with tiny non-recurring riffs. Several promising instances of clomping tribal percussion, wiggly Eastern melody and gigantic dance rhythm rise from the mush of cornball 'ScArY' music and bland soundtrack nothings, but not often enough to render the underwritten overly interesting.

And what's with all the CD-ROM soundtracks? Surely there are some other, more interesting, formats out there for which to score boring soundtracks. Here are a few ideas:

Candy Corn, the soundtrack to a 3D micro-cassette
May I Wish You A Lousy Morning, the soundtrack to a Virtual Reality back rub
I Raped Dad, an abandoned soundtrack to a never-completed High Definition 8-track cartridge
Chocolate Chip Cookie In The Shape Of A Fish, the soundtrack to a pair of socks
Have An Unmerry Christmas And A Non-Happy New Year, the soundtrack to a Frisbee with a picture of Mr. T on it
I Committed Grand Larceny On My Step-Sister, the soundtrack to a never-completed IKEA table

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Night Of The Hunters - Ralph America 2007
Rating = 2

These boring, chintzy keyboard instrumentals were recorded in the stinky mid-90's -- and stink? Lordy Lordy bless my Swordy! If you thought Our Finest Flowers stunk... If you thought Have A Bad Day stunk... If you thought Cube-E Live In Holland stunk... If you thought The Big Bubble stunk....

Well, you were right. All those albums stunk.

According to The Residents, these recordings were initially intended for That Slab Called Night, "a concept project based on the effect darkness has on perception, the world of the shadow." Well, apparently darkness makes everything look like a shitty keyboard song because that's all you'll find on this disc of donkey dump.

Speaking of grotesque phrases that I'd rather not have on my page, check out this little nursery rhyme that was coursing through my head on the way to work this morning:

Urine Sample Jim
Is suckin' my ballsac!
Urine Sample Jim
Is lickin' my buttcrack!
Suckin' my ballsac!
Lickin' my buttcrack!
What a crazy pair!

I'm thinking of selling it to Dr. Seuss for his next annoying book with ugly drawings. Who made this guy famous? He SUCKS! You want children's books, Richard Scarry's your man. Lowly Worm, that absent-minded rabbit guy, the way there's a little word next to everything - THAT'S an author to put your kids to bed at.

There is NO POSSIBLE WAY that more than one person was involved in the creation of this music. It's all just corny cheap keyboard tones (fake strings, etc) playing obvious 'SCAAAAAARY!' chord changes, backed by tribal beats and fakey ambient noise. A Casio version of eerie Safari music. It's astonishing to think that this pile of embarrassing, slightly out-of-tune homemade recordings is credited to the same Residents that would soon wow the nation with Animal Lover, Demons Dance Alone, Tweedles and The Bunny Boy. This just sounds like a soundtrack that some Star Trek fan living in his parents' basement put together for a shot-on-video movie his friends made. Hopefully with zombies.

Also it's really really really long. 21 songs, 90 minutes, 1000 copies. Can you imagine how long it would take to listen to all 1000 copies to make sure they all work okay? Probably something like 90,000 years!

As many people believe, I actually take notes on all 'CDs for review' as I listen to them, in order to provide you with the most accurate description possible. Also because I can never remember how anything goes. Here is just a sampling of some of the written comments inspired by this stunning achievement:

- "Nice opening beat, then it's all downhill"
- "Tribal beat and wiggly noises"
- "Just keeps getting simpler and duller"
- "Shambly, ugly"
- "Shitty exotic twangy instrument and woodblock or something"
- "They find a decent hook halfway through, and then DUMP it!"
- "Crappy oriental-sounding crap with shitty keyboard"
- "A motif we heard earlier. Still overdramatic and uninteresting."
- "Watery noises. Then a ball in a spraypaint can noise."
- "Nice chimes, weak riff"
- "Dark, short & crap"
- "Nothing happening, then some buzziness and such."

With so many impressive, full-band Residents releases flying at us left and right over the past decade, it's easy to forget how worthless they were for a while there. This release brings it all back. All those horrible, horrible memories.

Reader Comments
I don't actually give a shit about this album because I haven't heard it yet.
I like Richard Scarry.
All those dogs in cars. That cat policeman. That asshole (animal of some sort) in Indian headgear who tried to blame his driving shortcomings on native Americans. I like the way Lowly Worm (fantastic name!) made cameos in certain frames (window sill!). He's the only guy I can truly say knew his ass from his...
Speaking of which, you know how worms, supposedly, are homaphrodites? So, when they go at it by themselves, are they making love, or just jacking off? (Hugh Eldred-Grigg)
I just wanted to second your shout-out to Richard Scarry. If you were to finally review every album ever released and decide to convert your website into the internet's definitive Richard Scarry resource centre, I for one would not mind.

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Our Tired, Our Poor, Our Huddled Masses - Euro Ralph 1997
Rating = 8

On the verge of suddenly against all odds becoming GOOD again, The Residents felt the time was right to put together a handy 4-disc box set of album tracks, singles and rarities. But what's hilarious see - and a neat idea to boot - is that instead of just picking the least bad songs from spotty 80's/'90s CDs Have A Bad Day, Gingerbread Man, Freak Show, and that Cube E and Mole crap, or trying to figure out what single portion of weirdness best represents the genius to be found on such staggeringly oddball assortments as God In 3 Persons, Eskimo, The Third Reich 'N' Roll, Fingerprince, Not Available and Meet The Residents, they've instead edited together 10-minute 'concentrates' of each of these records for your listening entertajoyment. In other words, instead of hearing "N-R-G Crisis Blues" in its entirety, you get a 'concentrate' featuring bits and pieces of that track, along with segments of "Smelly Tongues," "Nobody Like Me," "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'," and every other doggoned thing that Meet The Residents might have on tap for you! I personally am TOTALLY for what seems to me a very original idea in box set creation because it makes it a worthwhile purchase even for huge lifelong fans of the band. I mean, sure I own all these albums anyway, but I've certainly never heard their high points thrown together in a jumbled stew like this! Plus there are singles I'd never buy and an entire disc of what I guess are previously unreleased rarities - mostly keyboard-and-a-hick-drawl rarities, but they aren't bad!

Before I begin reviewing the box set, however - or rather, now that I have already mostly reviewed the box set - please note that Our Tired, Our Poor, Our Huddled Masses is actually sold in two distinct forms. The one I am reviewing is a 4-disc box set, as evidenced by the fact that I've explained that about fifteen times by now. The one that you are more likely to see on America's shelves is a two-disc version on Rykodisc. Although, judging by the track listing, this shorter version would also earn an 8 on my trusty quality scale, it's not the one you want. It provides a decent mixture of stuff from the first three discs, but absolutely NOTHING from the Rarities disc is included. And don't you want the Rarities disc? If your answer is "no," rethink again because that disc on its own earns a 7 on the ol' Prindle scale! Why, it features warped Residentsalized covers of Michael Jackson's "Beat It" and "America, America, God Shed His Grace On Thee," plus a scarie eery siren synth wearning tone track, hokey Japanese-cartoon-sounding action music, some godawful but historically interesting early live material, and a few songs that represent by far the most tribally rhythmic African dancey material you'd ever expect to hear from a bunch of people who wear Eyeballs on their heads for a living.

Hey everyone! This is Bill from Mark Prindle(TM)'s Record Review Guide! You know, the Residents sure have written a lot of weird, dark-yet-playful music in their day. And a lot of it has really sucked the knob. But you sure wouldn't know it from this excellently programmed box set! I highly recommend it - sure, it has a few stinkers here and there, but not anywhere NEAR as many stinkers as you'd expect from the band that gave us Tunes Of Two Cities. So please look for yourself a copy - you won't regert it!

Hi! I'm Jim from Mark Prindle(TM)'s Guide Review Record! Today, I'm pressing onto vinyl a critique of my Mt. Everest tour guide. First of all, he's got B.O. from here to Hey! What th
























That was hilarious

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1997: The Missing Year-The Original Disfigured Night Arrangement EP - RSD 2009
Rating = 4

The Residence refer to this 3-song, 16-minute EP as a "classically styled, highly experimental" project, and I refer to that 4-word, 1-comma appraisal as "accurate." It's a bunch of instrumental keyboard music (shockingly), but inclusive of tones that resemble such popular acoustic instruments as harmonica and accordian. Each track contains some nice passages -- some melancholia, a wee bit o' downhome carnivalesque, some oldtimey pop from the Gershwin school, a teacup of harmonious beautifulia -- but they inevitably give way to maddeningly abstract non-melody. Personally, me myself, I take heart in the more traditional of the musics on display herein, irregardlessly of their unusually straightforward non-Residentsialiaties. Foresooth, ne'er, it would be up tw'ern the fan (or 'fanatic') of the garde-avant to appreciate those moments which leave mine ears writhing in confusion. But let us not think lesser of one another for these, the unchosen personal choices of the brain patterns and emissions. For wouldn't we all love poverty and vegetables were it not our lot to have such a naturally occurring aversion to both? Aye! Just as the morning dove might enjoy emitting a fourth 'hoo' were it only allowed such leisure! But alack, no is the wheretofore, and the mind predetermines its neurological preferences without enquiring the opinion of you, me or that fat blue and green fella we call 'The Planet.'

In other words, I'd like it if I could but it sucks dix.

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1997: The Missing Year-Scattered Unfinished Music Sketches - RSD 2009
Rating = 6

Hay I'm Steve Martin and this is the Oscars.

Hay I'm Alec Baldwin and this is also the Oscars.

Hay Alec, here's a little rib-tickler for you that I think you'll appreciate it.

Hit me Steve, for I enjoy your comedy, especially The Pink Panther II.

What's the difference between The Oscars and Kim Basinger?

Gee Steve, I don't know. What is the difference between The Oscars and my estranged ex-wife Kim Basinger?

Well Alec, The Oscars is an "extravaganza," and Kim Basinger has an "extra vagina"!

The hell does that mean?

That you NUTTED her so hard you made a new hole in her body!

Oh! Ha ha! That was great! My daughter's a whore.

Okay, and now to present the next award, please welcome Ben Stiller and Gabourey Sidibe.

Hello, my name is Gabourey Sidibe and -- why, Ben Stiller! Why are you covered in blue paint in a hilarious manner?

Well you see, Gabourey, I'm one of those Avatar people!

Wow! Only in New York! Say, Ben Stiller. As one of those Avatar people, what would you like to say to the audience tonight?

Gleep glop! That's how they talk, right? I didn't actually see the movie.

Ben Stiller my beating heart!

Gleep glop! I'm hilarious.

And our next award is in the category "Best Cover Tune On The Residents' 1997: The Missing Year-Scattered Unfinished Music Sketches CD of previously unreleased instrumental recordings." And the nominees are:

Gleep glop!

Ha ha! Ben, you're too much! The first nominee is "She Cried." This elderly Jay & The Americans tear-jerker has been given a modern 'unrecognizable' twist by The Residents, who replace its somber tones and haunting vocals with a buzzing drone, high-pitched squeals and creepy shivering fear chords.

The second nominee is "Creeping Death." Nobody ever could've imagined America's Residents putting their own Residential spin on a classic Metallica thrasher, but nobody couldn't have been more right! And sure, they play some ugly, purposely wrong notes but come on -- it's the Residents doing a Metallica cover. You certainly didn't hear THAT in the '70s or '80s!

The third nominee is "Another One Bites The Dust." It takes a while for the familiar Queen melody to finally show up (half the song, in fact!), but once it does, there's no stopping it. Granted, they play it wrong but since when have The Residents played anything right? Why, it's their downright nom de plume (cirque du soleil) to play songs wrong. Still, there's no denying that classic Queen beat -- atonal bottle clinking and buzzy organ notwithstanding.

The fourth nominee is "Tocatta and Fugue," one of Johann Sebastian Bach's most successful hit singles. This one kinda stinks. But hey - so did Inglourious Basterds and IT got nominated! Har har sis boom bar!

Oh Ben, you silly goose! You're correct; that movie wasn't very good. Also, what's up with whatsisname winning "Best Supporting Actor"? He was playing a stock character! Has the Academy just never seen a World War II film before!?

I don't know, LaToya! But get on with it! Gleep glop!

Will do. The final nominee is "We Are The World," which bears absolutely no similarity whatsoever in any way to the original recording by Band-Aid or whoever the hell did it.

It wasn't Band-Aid; they did "Do They Know It's Christmas."

I don't give a care; "We Are The World" is a terrible song.

I'm with you, Steve. And back to you, Alec!


And the winner is.... "CREEPING DEATH"! Come on up here, "Creeping Death"!

Oh my God! Oh wow! I never expected this. Oh my - whoo! There are so many people I want to thank. First of all, The Residents themselves for recording me -- this trophy's really for YOU, guys! And also all the untitled non-cover tunes surrounding me on this album. With their intriguing and disorienting mixture of odd noises, buzzes, whistles, samples, glass-pipe beatings and other synthesized strangeness, I'd argue that most of them are even stronger than my competitors in this category. In fact, it seems strange to me that The Residents never released these tracks, considering how much more melodic, bizarre and inspired they are than most of the band's CD-ROM work of the period. I'm particularly thinking of the jittery anxious Track One, multi-riffed superhit Track Three, dark rollicking Track Seven and happy, early '60sy Track Eight. The rest are of course a bit weaker, but hey -- we can't all be Sylvester Schwarzenneger! Ha ha! Back to you, Ben, Lakesha, Steve and Alec!

Thanks all of you! Hey Alec - Gabourey and I have something in common: in our first movies, we were both 'Jerk's!

Ha ha! Good one, Steve! Hey, check this. The moustache Brad Pitt wore in Inglourious Basterds is the same one my little pig daughter has growing under her nose, the thoughtless little bastard!

Ha ha! That's great, Alec! Hey, you know how Kathryn Bigelow and her ex-husband James Cameron were both nominated for Best Director?

Yes Steve, I do know that!

Well, she was so pleased to be nominated with him, she sent him a beautiful gift basket with a timmer inside!

No, it says 'timer.'


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1997: The Missing Year-Adobe Disfigured Night - RSD 2009
Rating = 8

America's Chinatown bar & musical warehouse Fontana's witnessed a miracle last night: the greatest living musical performance ever to take place on the planet Earth. Yes, attendees may not have expected much when they paid their seven dollar, climbed down into the cool crisp basement and stared at the stage upon which one "Mark Prindle" was scheduled to appear at 11:00 PM, but the angels were in alignment with the stars that night and what they got was something else entirely:

Three of the drunkest people in the Universe trying to put on a show.

Now now, don't start in with your nagging. We didn't intend to be 400 sheets to the wind apiece, but when myself, mywife and myfriend Jim Laakso arrived at the club at 7:45 PM, chances of any audience at all showing up seemed a fool's paradise. As such, we went out for a bite to eat at a local Mexican restaurant. Strangely, this restaurant not only played three AC/DC albums while we were in attendance (Ballbreaker, Flick Of The Switch and Highway To Hell was just starting up when we left), but also sold alcohol-infested margaritas. And they just kept selling them and selling them! I tell ya, by the time we arrived back at the club, we needed some beers to wash down all that alcohol!

As such, memories of the performance are a bit hazy. Here are the highlights that I can remember:

- When we began our set, there were about twenty people in the audience. When we finished 45 minutes later, there were two.

- Our opening song, a rewritten-for-the-stage version of "My Songs Would Be Significantly Less Sucky If I Bothered Saving Up For More Expensive Recording Equipment," was abandoned after one verse because I was too drunk to play it correctly.

- During Jim Laakso's intentionally awful drum solo in "Hot Rockin' 2Nite," I shouted into my mic, "MAKE IT TALK!"

- After Jim Laakso's intentionally awful drum solo in "Hot Rockin' 2Nite," I said into the mic, "No no, you have 40 more minutes. Go ahead." So he continued.

- Upon realizing that the soundman hadn't miked her toy xylophone loudly enough for the crowd to hear her "Hot Rockin' 2Nite" solo, my wife screamed, "TURN UP MY XYLOPHONE, BITCH!" and hurled the instrument off the stool on which it rested.

- I began playing "Xylodark" by myself, even though the guitar is supposed to be the third instrument to join (after toy xylophone and drums). Upon realizing my mistake, I abandoned the song entirely.

- On a spur-of-the-moment whim, Jim Laakso changed his vocal spotlight "Who'da Thunk Billy Graham Was A Pedophile?" to "Who'da Thunk Billy CORGAN Was A Pedophile?" The line about the little boy's 'gish' was particularly nauseating.

- I performed the 'serious' song "Angst" in its entirety, even though I knew it sounded like shit and was completely out of place in the set.

- For some reason, every time I stopped playing my guitar -- even if I turned the volume knob down -- my distortion pedal would feed back loudly through the amp. I didn't realize the potential impact of this situation until the first chorus of "Get Your Knitting Needle Out Of My Ass," when I had to literally leave the mic stand, walk back to the distortion pedal, click it off, walk back to the mic stand, say "Get your knitting needle out of my ass!" in a funny voice, leave the mic stand again, walk back to the distortion pedal, click it back on, walk back to the mic stand, etc. Nearly immediately upon making this realization, I abandoned the song.

- Halfway through the set, I lost my pick. Too drunk to locate my box of extra picks, I instead just performed the rest of the set with my thumb and forefinger pursed together as if a pick were between them. At no point did it occur to me to perform my one song that is actually written to be finger-picked ("Lorp And The Pain"), which is even more ridiculous when you realize it was on the set list.

- I played the intro to The Rolling Stones' "Paint It, Black" before remembering that I don't actually know how to play the rest of the song. I fumbled around trying to find the first chord for a few seconds before giving up.

- I clearly recall playing at least one verse of Aerosmith's "Same Old Song And Dance." It may have been even more; who knows?

- At one point, I informed the audience, "Okay, this next song is called..." and bent a string so it went 'bwee!'. I then made the same 'bwee!' noise again and said, "Thanks! Okay, this next song..."

- Eager to show everybody how I'd taught myself AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" the previous week, I sloshedly hit about four of every ten notes correctly, hoarsely screamed into the mic "I WAS CAUGHT! IN THE MEEDLE OF A RANG TAY TANG!" and then went on to something else.

- I've no clue what song we were doing, but suddenly it hit me, "Mark! You're not animated enough! Do something they'll remember tomorrow!" My solution? Jump up and down and kick my legs out to the sides like an idiot. Over and over again.

- When the soundman told us we had two minutes left, I decided to launch into my updated rendition of "That Dog On Frasier" with its new closing couplet, "That dog in Cujo was a thousand times scarier; When Sarah Palin dies, I hope they piss on the corpse before they bury her." Unfortunately, as I reached the final line, I totally blanked on the name 'Sarah Palin.' The song took a strange pause until I finally remembered it and completed the lyric.

- For God knows what reason, I launched into a slow ballad rendition of The Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" at one point. I thankfully gave it up after one verse.

- At another point, Jim Laakso suddenly burst out from behind the drum kit and announced, "Wait, I have a joke!" His joke? "What did Jann Wenner say after Mick Jagger ejaculated in his mouth? That it was Mick's best release since Some Girls!"

- Although I somehow managed to miss this, my wife informs me that while I was stumbling around trying to play the hits, she took her undershirt off, threw it into the crowd and started yelling into the mic, "WHERE'S MY SHIRT!? WHERE'D MY SHIRT GO!?" like a cheap whore.

- After the show, as I chatted with Jim Laakso and the only two audience members who'd stayed for the entire set, I noticed a young man putting his arm around my inebriated wife while they chatted. I yelled over to him, "Hey, get your arm off my wife or I'll kick your fucken ass!" Without looking at me, he muttered, "I don't think so. You're just some guy with a web site." But when I responded, "Yeah, and I'm a first-degree Black Belt" and began moving towards him, he walked away! This is very fortunate because, although it is true that I've earned a first-degree Black Belt, I haven't practiced Tae Kwon Do since I quit the school 16 months ago!

But I'm not the only one with memories. When pressured for his remembrances, drummer Jim Laakso responded with the following snippets and claptraps:

"you introduced us as radiohead in a ridiculous british accent, saying we were going to be playing all new songs.

throughout the set you kept mentioning/sort-of-apologizing for drunkenness, but always blamed it on someone else in the band... usually brenda ('sorry my wife got so drunk that she ruined the show').

on several occasions you just turned and asked me to 'lay down a beat,' which you then improvised over. one of those 'songs' was a blues ditty about your life -- the line i remember is 'in other words, i'm a winner.'

there was a moment where your wife suddenly rushed down those stairs on the right and onto the stage. might've been the shirt incident at the end? oh, and at that point (shirt) she also yelled 'time for the striptease!'

after 'same old song and dance,' you lamented the fact that we were the only recent act with whom steven tyler HADN'T jumped up on stage.

at some point you put your guitar down, walked over to the keyboard, started a beat, and played something for a minute or two. i have no idea what it was -- one of your songs? a cover? something you were making up on the spot? i drummed along to it a bit. can't recall whether you sang."

That was my failed attempt to shitfacedly figure out "Who Wants A Filbert?"! But Jim Laakso's not the only one with memories. When pleaded at for any additional remembrances he could recall, audience member Joe Stancati replied:

"I think you've hit all the high points of the evening there. Given how much you all drank, it's impressive you remembered all that! One thing I remember a bit differently is that I recall that you first said that were going to kick the dude's ass and that you were a first-degree blackbelt, and THEN he responded with something like, 'No you don't, I know what you do- you have a music review site . . .' As if you couldn't have a review site AND be a blackbelt."

But Joe Stancati isn't the only one with a cerebrum or cerebellum or wherever one remembers stuff. My wife claims:

"After the margarita pitcher, you guys had beers but I hate beer so I thought vodka soda was an appropriate drink. I remember coming on to the stage and chatting with a member of the previous band as we set up; he seemed like a nice fellow, and we discussed the trials of being aging rock stars. Somehow I felt it was my responsibility to 'bring it' to this show; that I had nothing to lose. When I couldn't hear myself or my instruments, I channeled my best Clash cover art and attempted to smash the toy xylophone--which fortunately is made for 3-year-olds, so it remains unharmed. I think I screwed up the vocals to FML ('Fuck my Liver') by saying 'it deserves to die' instead of '[it] don't deserve to live.' I played the slide whistle upside down during Jim's song. After I realized I was a miserable drunken failure, I went outside to bum a Newport from my new BFF, the aforementioned Other Band Member. I admitted how terrible we are, but insisted 'the guitarist is actually good!' He and the rest of his band recommended that we be more funny, since we were neither good NOR funny in their opinion (they were actually sensible and sober folks). In spite of the insults, I assisted them in hailing a cab by showing some leg and claiming the band 'wasn't going far,' which wasn't the truth at all. At least in terms of cab rides.

I heard my name called from inside the club (it probably was Mark blaming me for the bad set,) so I ran in to play a miserable rendition of "Disco Jaws" because I couldn't hit the notes on the keyboard in order in spite of the fact that they were clearly numbered 1 through 9. Then I noticed we had only two people in the audience, and one of them had already seen me partially unclothed before after walking in to a bathroom with a faulty lock at the Lit Lounge, so I took off the shirt under my dress and threw it across the room (which sorta showed off the Alexander McQueen-esque cut of the dress, I think). It was around that point that the soundman had enough and kicked us out to the bar upstairs, where Mark and friends talked animatedly about music. Being obsessed with completely different non-fiction subjects, I grabbed the hands of two young men and asked them if they liked science: one did, one didn't. It was the perfect setup for a great debate. Then some jerk (ie, Mark) came over and threatened to kick one of their asses. I reminded Mark that I was also a black belt, and said I would kick his ass if he kicked one of their asses. I think the young men felt that a conversation about intracellular signaling proteins wasn't exciting enough to risk bodily harm, and left.

So I texted inappropriately to coworkers for a long time, all alone, while Mark spoke with the guys. I believe at one point I traumatized Jim with a confession of my deepest psychological fears, and told him to get a haircut. He was the one who got me the last unnecessary vodka, though. I abdicate all responsibility after the 7th drink.

All in all, it was the best show yet."

Also, this Residents album is really good.

When The Residents' long-time lighting collaborator Chris McGregor asked The Residents to take part in a fund-raiser for the San Jose Tech Museum, they were all like "Sure" but then there was no time to come up with anything! In a pique of excellent thought processing, they grabbed a bunch of scattered unfinished music sketches (see previous entry) and pieced them together with portions of "Disfigured Night" (see prior entry). Then somebody said, "Dammit! Now we need to write some lyrics!," leading someone else to respond, "Up your ass! Who needs new lyrics when we've got all these OLD lyrics sitting around?" The result is an excellent 46-minute performance that compiles various instrumental passages from their 1997 tapes ("She Cried," "Another One Bites The Dust," "Creeping Death," etc.) into extended works, and then tops them with golden oldie lyrics like "Lizard Lady," "Bouncing Benny," "Gone Again" and "Bach Is Dead."

It works REALLY well. Even the pieces of music that didn't seem very interesting on the two previous discs come to life when strung together into longer pieces and augmented with male and female vocals. Furthermore, they throw in a great cover of The Rolling Stones' "Paint It, Black" (Gah! So THAT'S why I played it last night!) and what I believe to be a new piece about a woman mourning her late husband. Both are terrific. Goddammit, this entire CD is terrific! The only stinker is "We Are The World," which -- even with vocals -- is just as unrecognizable as it was instrumentally.

Why in the world did they let this stuff sit around for over a decade before releasing it!? This music is so GOOD!

Not as good as 'bwee!' by Mark Prindle, of course, but so's your - hey, I just thought up a joke!

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Kook who?
What are you, some kind of cuckoo bird? Or clock?

See, it's all in the timing.

Add your thoughts?

1997: The Missing Year-The Marlboro Eyeball Experience - RSD 2009
Rating = 7

It's funny the things you remember. Like this time when I was in the third or fourth grade, my friends and I were all playing on a burned-out wooden platform on our school playground. A new student asked if he could join our game and I, being a monstrous prick, sneered into his face, "YOU CAN'T PLAY!" As it turns out he was a tough guy from the redneck side of the tracks, and thus responded by shoving me off of the wooden platform. I got up and ran as he burst down the steps after me. The last thing I remember from the incident is hearing my friend Courtney shout to my friend Glenn, "Glenn! Save Mark!"

Or this other time when this deaf-mute kid Billy, who could see people's most painful memories just by touching them, befriended a one-legged monkey who had lost his best friend, a one-legged girl who always sang a certain song. Billy became obsessed with the song and vowed to reunite the monkey with the girl. Unfortunately, he then started actually feeling peoples' most painful memories just by touching them, so he was wracked with pain and horror all the time. Then, wouldn't you know it, the monkey died! So Billy sealed himself off in depression, falling deeper and deeper into despair until one day he found a wrapped present. He quickly opened it, only to find the monkey's head inside! Then the head jumped out and bit off Billy's leg!! Then Billy turned into the one-legged girl and started singing, "We Are The World"!!! I know!!!! None of us kids could believe it!!!!!

Or the time I stepped on a bee.

Yes it really is crazy the things we remember. Why it seems like just the other day I was listening to The Residents' 1997: The Missing Year-The Marlboro Eyeball Experience CD and thinking to myself, "Who the fuck-ass wrote this story about a one-legged monkey and a pain-wracked deaf-mute who turns into a girl and sings 'We Are The World'!?"

I've narrowed it down to four suspects:

(A) An alcoholic grandfather

(B) A bunch of little kids playing that game where one begins a story, then the next continues it, and so on until the story is complete and makes no sense at all because little kids are idiots

(C) Some loser who keeps a 'Dream Diary'

(D) A member of the Residents

It's certainly a disturbing little tale. Look at some of these horrifying verbal images:

"He saw a woman raped by brothers who had left her in
the back seat of a Chevy that had honked its horn at him"

"Then he met a mad milkman
whose sister swallowed shards of glass inside a sugar rose,
and died with blood exploding from her mouth and from her nose"

"As Billy bumped the driver's shoulder, visions formed inside
his mind of something slowly sliced to pieces 'til it died"

"With increasing frequency, more incidents occurred:
Dead babies cried from safety pins and memories from birds
told of chicks that left their nests and fell beneath the feet
of cattle who were not concerned with tiny things that tweet"

"Then one day as Billy pulled the monkey from the mud,
it wheezed and sneezed and filled the air with tiny drops of blood;
with heat projecting from its skin and fluid from its eyes,
the monkey barely breathed for two more days and then it died"

But the thing is -- it's also sickly funny. I mean, you go through this whole bizarre, depressing and ultra-rhyming tale only to find that the 'beautiful song' you've been hearing about is just a disgustingly phlegm-voiced girl shrieking "We Are The World"! (And finally the Residents' cover of "We Are The World" actually sounds like a Residents cover of "We Are The World")

Unfortunately, the music doesn't keep up with the lyrics. The album is similar to Adobe Disfigured Night in that it's largely created from the Original Disfigured Night Arrangement and Scattered Unfinished Music Sketches material, but the passages used here are, for the most part, the more abstract ones. Only the second of the five unnamed tracks has a strong melodic hook (I believe it's from track one on Scattered Unfinished Music Sketches? I'm not going to look it up though.). The others are mostly dark ambience, electronic effects and slow morose chord changes -- inoffensive background music for a horror story, but not sufficiently relistenable to render The Marlboro Eyeball Experience one of the Residents' strongest efforts.

Incidentally, the story of Silly Billy is actually titled "Disfigured Night," but this particular live performance was conducted on behalf of Marlboro Cigarettes, thus the canceriffic CD title.

Marlboro Cigarettes: They're Emphysemagnificent!

Add your thoughts?

1997: The Missing Year-The Fillmore Dress Rehearsal (Act One) - RSD 2009
Rating = 7

I was enjoying an episode of Darkroom the other day when I suddenly found myself asking myself, "Hey Mark, what is your favorite TV show?" Well, obviously it's either Open All Night or No Soap Radio, but WHICH ONE!?!? And I don't mean to sound like I'm knocking Mr. Merlin or The New Show -- those are great, great shows -- but when you're looking for the cream of the crop, you can't be influenced by critical consensus. Let the critics rave all they want about AfterMASH and Three's A Crowd, but when the chips are down, do you really care that Enos just won its sixth Grammy or It's Your Move is entering its fifteenth season? Hell no! You understand that REAL quality (and not just COMMERCE) comes in the form of true televised art like The $1.98 Beauty Show, a.k.a. Pablo and Nearly Departed. Thus, this album.

When The Residents were invited to perform at San Francisco's legendary Fillmore on Halloween 1997, they were so excited they shat all over the inside of their eyeballs.

Okay that's not true, but they were pretty excited. So they came up with a plan to "Fillmore" seats HAHA! WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

So they came up with a plan to "Sellmore" tickets. The second act would consist of their recent 'Disfigured Night' piece, and the first would be not so much a 'greatest hits' set as a 'bunch of songs' from 'a few particular albums.' It is the Dress Rehearsal of this 'non-hits' first act that is featured on the CD supposedly under discussion.

If you're pretty fond of four songs each from Freak Show and Gingerbread Man, two from Have A Bad Day, and one each from The Commercial Album, Our Finest Flowers and Stars And Hank Forever, you couldn't be more in luck! The songs are given a new lease (or "leash") on life in improved full-band arrangements full of fuzz guitars, eerie drones, disturbing sound effects, synthesized ugliness, emotionless narration, batshirt vocals and even actual melodies. Let's face it though; some of these songs are just too weak to be saved. In particular, "Everyone Comes To The Freak Show," "Loss Of Innocence" and "44" may have lyrics of interest, but their non-hooks are a wash.

A-washin' my car, that is! Heh heh. Yes, I have songs washing my car.

Considering that most of the songs are pulled from not particularly good albums, they sure did arrange a good set here! Buy it, try it out and give it a 7. Then let me cook you something.

You know what I'd like to cook for you today? A SHIT CASSEROLE, FUCKFACE!!!!

Sorry, just quoting Julia Child, another of my favorite shows.

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Live At The Fillmore - Ralph America 1998
Rating = 6

This live double-CD features two sets: the 'Bunch Of Songs' set I just described in the last review (but without "Herman The Human Mole," which I guess didn't go over in Dress) and the "Disfigured Night" story that I just described two reviews ago. As such, you may be poking at your calculator and wondering, "How is it that Mark Prindle added two 7-rated CDs and got a 6-rated double-CD?" Well, that's a valid and dear question, and one that deserves to be addressed.

Valid And Dear Question
134 Spring Lane
Cuspwood, MO 39332

HA HA! Address humor! Just a little gag for my friends in the Post Office, all of whom are about to get laid off because of the recession. (Ditto for Blockbuster Video, but I don't have a joke for them.)

No, but in all seriousness, here are the reasons for the change in my seasons:

1. 'Disfigured Night' sounds even less musical here than it does on The Marlboro Smokers' Death Catalog.

2. It might just be my imagination, but I'd swear that Set One is a lot draggier here than it was in Dress Rehearsal. For example, each 'Gingerbread Man' introduction seems to drag on for about 25 years before the actual song finally starts.

3. "Hello Skinny" is a fine encore and should be hailed as such, but "This Is A Man's Man's Man's World" is way too long and empty. More like "This Is A BLAND BLAND BLAND (SOMETHING THAT RHYMES WITH 'WORLD' AND IS HILARIOUS)," if you ask me!!!

4. Sometimes Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder will hit you in unexpected ways. For example, just yesterday I decided I was in the mood to listen to the Rolling Stones but, being who I am, I couldn't simply play a Rolling Stones record like a rational person would. Instead, I had to get out all of my Rolling Stones albums and CDs, and separate out the ones with just one or two non-LP tracks (examples: live albums, compilations, bootlegs) so I could listen to those onesy-twosy tracks first. Then I had to look through the track listing of each album, figure out how many songs from each my wife might know, then put them in order from 'most' to 'least' so that I can play the 'most' albums when she's home and the 'least' albums when she's not. And this is why, since the moment I decided I was in the mood to listen to the Rolling Stones, I've heard nothing but shit like "Crackin' Up," "Going To A Go-Go" and "Fuckin' Andrew."

Which brings me to my actual point: my OCD demands that I grade an album or CD according to EVERY track on it (except appointed CD 'bonus tracks,' which are not included in my grade). The way my brain figures it is that if a band has bothered to give something a title, then clearly they consider it a 'track' to be judged alongside all the other 'tracks'. As such, when The Residents pile on bullshit like "Introduction" (a narrator explaining the story of 'Disfigured Night,' even though it's completely spelled out in the lyrics), "Curtain Call" (two minutes of audience applause) and "Good Night" (a tape of a keyboard playing "We Are The World"), it's reflected in my grade.

Also the crowd keeps clapping and laughing at visual jokes I can't see, and that makes me so angry my teeth turn into darts and kill rapists. In this way, I am an American hero. Thank you, Mark Prindle! You still can't have a job though; fuck off.

But you know me - I'm just one guy. Look at what some of my Facebook friends are saying about Live At The Fillmore:

Esceptico Jr: "I'm so not with you on this one. This record is very good in my opinion, I'm thinking a 7 or an 8, but I'll wait for your review to get on that. Suffice to say that the arrangements on that piece of crap album Freak show are really something, specially on Benny the bouncing bump."

Andrew Conner: "Yeah, I think this is the best live album they've ever put out."

Dunia Fadel: "^ i 'gree! well deserving of an 8."

Anthony DeCurtis: "A digitally remixed and remastered version of the 1973 Derek and the Dominos double album In Concert, with five previously unreleased performances and two tracks that have only appeared on the four-CD Clapton retrospective, Crossroads."

William Ruhlmann: "In his liner notes, Anthony DeCurtis calls Live at the Fillmore 'a digitally remixed and remastered version of the 1973 Derek and the Dominos double album In Concert, with five previously unreleased performances and two tracks that have only appeared on the four-CD Clapton retrospective, Crossroads.' But this does not adequately describe the album."

Esceptico Jr: "I'm so not with William on this one. Anthony's liner notes are very good in my opinion, I'm thinking a 7 or an 8, but I'll wait for your review to get on that. Suffice to say that his comments on that piece of crap album In Concert are really something, specially when he calls it a 'double album'."

Andrew Conner: "Yeah, I think these are the best liner notes he's ever put out."

Dunia Fadel: "^ i ag'ee! well deserving of an 8."

Good old Friends. Is there any Beach Boys album they can't be the name of?

(Besides all of them but Friends?)

(Unless you're friends with the entire country of Holland)

(Or fifteen fat people)

(Or a man named "Good Timin: Live At Knebworth England 1980")

In conclusion, The Beach Boys were one of America's finest goodtime harmony pop-surf-rock bands, and The Residents sound identical to them.

Reader Comments

Esceptico Jr. (Guillermo)
Since Mark pointed out I (or most of his facebook friends) rarely comment on here I'll gladly do so. As I stated on this very review I disagreed a whole lot and still do so, but I'm gonna point some facts here.

1) As I said, most of the arrangements on that piece of shit album "Freak show" are awesome. That solely deserve a whole lot more credit than you give on your review. YES, maybe "Ted" is a little bit draggy but it's so fucking demented that reminds me that old residents vibe from the earlier records.

2) Molly fucking Harvey. Dude, she was (or still is?) one of the best things that ever happened to The Residents. You mentioned her briefly on your Demons dance alone review. She is absolutely astounding every time she opens her mouth in every single record she's ever been. Right, you lose all of her antics on this particular record and that's a bitch I must say.

3) The dragging. Mmmm, I don't think the dragging on the whole album would make it deserve four points less, because that was kinda like the key word here. I've been drinking all day, so I must've lost something here and there, but hey, maybe you're like punishing The Residents for not releasing this whole show as a DVD instead of a recording. Because we all know you like to punish musical mistakes, you punisher of musical mistakes.

4) I don't remember saying that to William about the liner notes, but my name in the english language is in fact William. So yeah, I must've tell myself to fuck off. Why wouldn't I?

5) Benny the bouncing bump is so fucking great, I just love it so much I'd marry that fucking song.

Add your thoughts?

Wormwood - Ralph 1999.
Rating = 7

An idea so wonderful, even The Residents couldn't ruin it! The concept here is that the band went through the bible and found 18 different stories of sex, violence and hatred so grotesque that it is inconceivable that Bible-thumpers have the audacity to trash the entertainment industry for not promoting "family values." These stories are presented by The Residents in first-person, backed by bells, chimes and other synth effects playing melodies that are catchy, dark and at times hilariously "church"-sounding. The CD is a real eye-opener. What better way to attack Christians than by throwing their own doctrine back at them? It's awfully long though and at times gets a bit tiresome. Still, an excellent idea that is, for the most part, presented with smarts and dangly participles.

A good idea: The Residents on both this one and Freak Show use lots of outside vocalist contributions, so you don't have to just listen to that hick voice the whole time. Yay!

Say, did I mention that The Residents wear big eyeballs on their heads?

We just bought a Christmas tree and trimmed it to the sounds of this CD. HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Oh! Excellent liner notes, as always. They tell you what's going on in each song and where in the Bible you can find the story that is being related.

Reader Comments (Ben Greenstein)
Actually, this one is really pretty good. The concept of the album is a great idea - and the music sounds great as the background for these spooky semi-spoken stories. Solar sunbeams. The only problem is that the songs sound a little samey after a while - but at least they're not the same like on Gingerbread Man. I could actually give this one a seven. It's decent! (Michael J. West)
As a self-proclaimed Residents fan, I give this album a 4. "But why?" Ask you. "It's got a really great concept and they put a lot of work into it!" And I think that's why. Studying the amount of sex and violence in the Bible is a great idea, and long overdue. But on Wormwood, the whole thing comes off as really academic and sterile, with nondescript songs and without the kind of character and/or bite that the Residents always have. More interesting to talk about, in other words, than to listen to. It might be that the MIDI stuff they are relying on is really starting to sound bland. In any case, this is my least favorite of all their albums. But if I'm in a good mood, I might generously assign it a 5....

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Diskomo 2000 - ESD 2000.
Rating = 7

Most of this is old material, but I never had it before so I'm reviewing it here! This is three different dance remixes of the main Eskimo theme, done as a joke on the critics, as well as an old EP of children's songs called Goosebump. The remixes are cute and silly, and the children's songs are as warped and frightening as you'd expect coming from the Presidents Of The United States Of America.

Then after Diskomo 2000, they had huge hits with "Lump," "Peaches" and "Plump Leeches."

Reader Comments
Oh,'s too bad you don't seem to like the Residents as much as I do, because you wrote so many good reviews of bands I like, too. Oh, by the way, I'm from Germany so my English is shit, please don't kill me. The first Residents' album I listened to was Fingerprince and I just loved starts with this really nice drums and a nice riff and then it gets WEIRD! and stays... Godsong is so great, great lyrics, why didnt anybody cover it and make it a number one single? And I like the rest of it too somehow. Then I got Meet The Residents and The Third Reich'n'Roll and these two albums were the most crazy stuff I ever heard...I think it's just funny and cool...throwing about one thousand sounds together, never caring about key, rhythmn or anything else, singing, screaming, mourning the best DADA lyrics's great. I always thought that they had a kind of punk attitude, you know, no matter whether we can play or not, we'll make music... the bad thing is that about 1981 they began to think they were a kind of ART company or something and did some boring things... but SANTA DOG, their first single, sometimes included on MEET THE RESIDENTS, NOT AVAILABLE, SATISFACTION, their best cover, somtimes included on THE THIRD REICH'N'ROLL, FINGERPRINCE, DUCK STAB/BUST & GLEN/ESKIMO and THE COMMERCIAL ALBUM are great, i love them. on the new albums they have some good moments, but they're all CONCEPTS and that sucks somehow. Anyway, the Residents deserve to be mentioned as a great band...they did their thing for at least 8 years which is not too bad. Their first albums RULE, get them or get OUR TIRED OUR POOR OUR HUDDLED MASSES, four cd best of, which features all their great thingies and their first Live Gig, the strangest thing ever recorded, i swear!!! Oh, did I mention, that they are really rad live? REALLY! Go to a concert, even if you don't like the records, their shows are the best thing in the world! maybe i'll say more about certain albums later, but for now...i'm outta here
oh sure I like UNCONVENTIONAL r n r but this is just goofen off willy billy doolally stuff and they all voted for Reagan and are interchangeable under those eyeball heads and really have no talent just rely on session musicians and daft special effects and cover up deficiencies with loon 'art rock' ideas.....if y like 'art rock' go for Eno or early Pulp or Beefheart or Talking Heads...not this as it is bourgeois pseudo-delinquent farty crashing noises like kids at play in toolsheds....talent free you see....and smart-arsed like P. Gabriel at a posh gathering of wanky hippies....writing melodies is HARD and requires great skill, originality and work....these fuckers are Daddy-come-home boys with small dicks and read too many books jako Goonsberg and Burroughs...ho ho the American Dream y fucken cunt like Zappa who was a humourless anti-everything turd and his mind-cancer finally killed him....hate needs direction in music you see these people have no guts it is transparently obvious from the creed that cannot free them from clutches of goofish garage rock that was as original as walking peas in 1965 and now sounds like dogs unwelcome and as repetitive. Now free your knee! and listen to honest 1956 Bo Diddley or 1985 Fall or 1966 Sonics. But if you really like Blur then your bleached head on a shitty stick you do-right don't-look-at-me fucking clown of 2001.

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In Between Screams: Intermission Music From Wormwood EP - Ralph America 1999
Rating = 2

On at least two occasions when I was a young man of 4 years old or so, I was enjoying a leisurely bath with my older brother when suddenly an American Turd found its way out of my rectum and into the gentle water in which we soaked. At these moments, we did what any self-respecting bather would do: simply moved way to the front of the bathtub so the Dump wouldn't touch us with its fecal brownness. In years hence, many have asked me (particularly on job interviews, as I always include this incident on my resume), "Mark, why didn't you simply get out of the tub and use the toilet, which was located less than six inches away from the tub?" And my answer has always been the same: "I mistook my turd for The Residents' In Between Screams: Intermission Music From Wormwood EP.

This is the kind of horse-ass release that makes you want to locate The Residents and pinch them in the arm. Apparently back when they were performing Wormwood in front of audiences wide and far, they would fill the Intermission air by playing old gospel records with cheap keyboard music on top of them. Apparently one day some bald fat patron told them, "I GOTTA HAVE THAT!" (and I can make fun of bald people because I'm bald too, fucken DNA on my mother's side the cock) because the next thing you know, they're selling this piece of fuck like it's an actual record. IT'S NOT!!!! It's a bunch of shitty snippets from gospel records with "bwee bwooo bwee" keyboard chords on top! You know what, in life? EAT IT!

Heh heh. Good old "Weird Al" Yankovic.

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Roadworms (The Berlin Sessions) - Euro Ralph 2000.
Rating = 7

I avoided buying this for quite the while thinking that it was another live album, but that turns out not to be the case. It's actually a bunch of studio recordings of drastically refashioned Wormwood songs, played as they were performed on tour. Which was different! Surprisingly different! Like, I mean, like WAY different! Some of the songs are slowed way down, others played on more sophisticated church organs and synths, some feature really loud Van Halen-style guitars, others thrive on grotesquely over-uglied vocals -- but one thing's certain = not a single song on Wormwood has been made any LESS depressing. You could at least find the occasional new wavey bounciness on that album - that's not the case on this one. It struck me even on first listen that this release sounds much more like the Swans than it does the Residents. Just very, very dark. And some of the vocals are so ugly they literally made my penis curl up and hide inside my neighbor's wife, especially the screaming female ones in "Abraham" (which I'm not positive was even on Wormwood - if it was, it had a different title and stumped me!) and especially "Dinah And The Unclean Skin." There are moments of jarring volume uppages, times where you'll want to just turn off the wretched noise and put on some Ben Folds Five (if you're a fag), and other passages where you will sit there and let your jaw drop to the ethereal, tingly melodies ("Hanging By His Hair" especially). Each song progresses and builds nicely, in darn normal manners considering it's The "Look at how strange we can be" Residents.

Not every song is improved, but many are, and ALL are fascinatingly altered enough to interest any fan of the original album. If you own Wormwood, don't think that you shouldn't bother with this one -- if you like that album, you DEFINITELY should buy this one, because you'll get more out of it than anybody else! Complete with the new Grand Funk homage "Un-American Band" (chorus: "We're coming to your town, we're gonna worship it down"), Roadworms is like The Residents' BBC Sessions or Peel Sessions or Berlin Sessions or - WAIT! THAT'S IT!

God, I just had the worst thought. What if Gilbert Gottfried moved into your house?

Reader Comments

Dunia Fadel
Unlike most other bands, it's near impossible for me to try and describe what the Residents sound like in a few lines (or in many lines for that matter), but you do it so well with all these reviews Mark, so poop on the haters who are complaining that you're "wasting your time"! <3

I'm really tired right now, and still going through all your Residents reviews (I have to read everything more than once to grasp all the info…I'm pretty weird) -and- (maybe if I catch myself, I'll comment on every one!), but this ranking caught my eye because WTF!? You gave Live at the Fillmore one star less than this! And you're giving The Ughs 4 stars!!!! That's ridiculous. Gingerbread Man, in my opinion, is their worst release. OK, it could be Freak Show... Our Finest Flowers and Had a Bad Day were pretty awful too…but let's not go there.

Anyway, Roadworms isn't better than Live at Fillmore for me, or some of the other albums you ranked less than a 7, but honestly, there's so much guitar on this that it makes it impossible for me not to understand your infatuation with it because I love it too. And I agree, it's far more "listenable" than a lot of their other live releases (which I haven't heard in their entirety…yet), and so much more original than Wormwood!

In conclusion, however, I think you have distorted copies of Live at the Fillmore and The Ughs! and I would be more than happy to mail you better versions...just give me an OK. :-P

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Play Wormwood DVD - Music Video Distributors 2005
Rating = 7

The Residents of the United States of America (R.U.S.A.) herein perform "Curious Stories From The Bible" in a live concert setting for 105 minutes of your day. These guys are a visual nightmare of bizarrities, with the narrator wearing a giant black skull on his head, the lead singers (one male, one female) wearing icky pointy bird beak masks, and the rest of the band dressed up in those gorgeous top-hatted eyeballs. Blacklit colors create a beautiful stage ambience, and constant weirdo props (a big pointy finger, huge disturbing painted heads, etc) and tricks-of-the-eye keep the mood interesting; my favorite gag involves the lead singer holding a small carved wooden and painted flat body over his black clothing so that it looks like he's a little tiny man dancing in the air above the stage.

The only problem is that, as interesting a concept as Wormwood is (and it's helped along by the black skull narrator sharing brief summaries of the Bible Tales and where they can be found in the Good Book), much of the music in this work is just not terribly pleasant to listen to. A few of the tracks stand out as musically or lyrically memorable ("David's Dick," "God's Magic Finger," "Burn Baby Burn"), but many of the compositions are so purposefully ugly, compounded by the lead singer using a grotesquely ragged shout for much of the show, that sitting through 105 minutes of it can get a bit tiresome. It's still definitely worth watching though! Not too many bands put as much care into the visual aspect of their art as The Residents do.

In other news, after two and a half years of Tae Kwon Doing, I think I'm gonna call it quits. Our membership is up (me and my wife, that is. Though I do have to take a 'royal wee'), and the GODDAMNED school just changed adult classes from the already inconveniently late 7:55-8:55 PM to an unfathomable 8:30-9:30 PM! So I'm supposed to get home from work at 6 PM every night, NOT eat dinner because I don't want to puke it all over myself during a medicine ball exercise, hang around twiddling my dick for 2 and a half hours, then go to class, come home, take a shower, lament the fact that all the restaurants are already closed, and go to bed? Fuck my ass up the ass if you think I'm gonna put up with that cockamamie bullshit! Not to mention that I already have far too many nightmares from my long-gone school daze to deal with having to remember TEN different forms and like a hundred billion kicking combinations. Thirdly, I don't really like it! Sparring is fun when I don't suck, and breaking boards with a swift punch is quite the ego-booster, but I've essentially dreaded going to class all three times a week for most of the two and a half years I've been going. It's not fun! It's unberably hot, extremely tiring and often very painful. I'm glad I learned some self-defense skills, but do I honestly care enough about martial arts to go through the ridiculously rigorous training I would need in order to pass a Black Belt Test? No. I unfortunately do not. I kept hoping I would get some sort of "Kicker's High" out of it, but I never did. I know I need to exercise a few times a week because I'm elderly and fattening, but I could do without wearing a big hot uniform, I could do without snapping the shit out of my bare toes with a jump rope, I could do without stretching down to my foot whose bare heel is pressed painfully against a wooden bar on the wall, I could do without all the squatting nonsense that makes my legs feel like they're full of fire ants that are literally on fire, and I could DEFINITELY live without ruining every goddamned fucking evening by having to go to class at EIGHT RIDICULOUS THIRTY. So there you have it. I went from white belt through low yellow, high yellow, low green, high green, low blue, high blue, low brown and high brown to my current low red belt. Given a couple more months, I'm sure I could get my high red belt. But the next step after that is black belt, and NO WAY am I in any position to get that. You're supposed to be able to do your splits, for example, and when I try, there's like a 7-foot triangle of air between my legs. And you're supposed to be able to do 100 push-ups on your first two knuckles on a wooden board. I can barely do knuckle push-ups on a comfy padded mat, let alone grind my bones down to a nub on a fuckin' tree product ass. Sure, there are certain things I do well - I can jump really high, I have a strong side kick, and my punch would put Muhammed Ali in the hospital (present day) - but I've seen what these black belt people can do and I'm all like "Bite my ass if you think my hand is ever going through THAT many boards." And then they all bite my ass, but see they're just being polite. The bottom line, I suppose, is that my lifestyle calls for an exercise plan with much more time flexibility. I can't do 8:30-9:30 a night. Forget it. Besides, that's the hour when three pretty women stand in line and I make love to those babies in an hour's time.

That was my blog entry. I would have posted it in my blog if I had one, but I don't.

I do have a 'klog' (dick log), but that's already out of space from when I spent five months transcribing the Talmud.

And Roger Daltrey 'Ride A Rock Horse' tattoos don't grow on trees, so don't even THINK about dragging my sac into this.

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Dot.Com - Ralph America 2000
Rating = 7

So come on down to Big Jim's Water Heater Maintenance and Male Prostitutes -- where we put the "semen" back in "baSEMENt"!

I hope you enjoyed that ad, because we're all very proud of it here at Big Steve's Advertising Agency and Male Escorts - where we put the "semen" back in "advertiSEMENt"!

The Residents have become huge fans of the download format over the past few years. In fact, several of the releases reviewed on this page are available only via download. In additional fact, the band appears to be issuing every single goddamned thing they ever even thought about recording via this method, so be careful where you keep your OCD. (Take a look around and you'll see what I mean!)

As far as I can tell, this DL enthusiasm began in the late 1990's when The Residents made 12 rare songs available for purchase on some sort of 'Buy or Die' website. Apparently they weren't completely sold on it though (or maybe technology hadn't caught up with them yet) because soon afterwards they went ahead and compiled the downloads onto a physical CD called (presumably pronounced "Dot Dot Com," which little kids should totally play these days instead of "Duck Duck Goose"). Don't get so excited that you shit through your nose though, because most of these 'rarities' are either alternate versions of album tracks or have since been released on other CDs.

To witness:
"The Sour Song" - Our Finest Flowers - probably an alternate version; I've no intention of checking.
"Nineteen Ninety-Nine" - A Prince cover! And GOOD! Anxiety-reeling vocals!
"Ninth Rain" - Bridegroom Of Blood
"Wanda The Worm Woman" - From live Prague performance of Freak Show
"Conceiving Ada" - Theme from an arthouse film. Not just 'normal' in its sweeping cinematic orchestral mood, but downright cheesy, if people still use that word. If not, replace it with "Imma."
"Paint It Black' - Adobe Disfigured Night
"Hunters Opening Titles" - Alternate version of Hunters song
"Eskimo Opera Proposal Excerpt" - From a project that never came to fruition, but -- shockingly -- it sounds a lot like Eskimo
"Walter Westinghouse" - Live version of Babyfingers/Residue track
"I Hear Ya Got Religion" - Supposedly the very first Residents recording ever, dating all the way back to 1969! It's gross and rednecky, but also quite funny and likable with acoustic guitar, standup bass, brappy saxophones and lyrics like "I hear ya got religion/I heard it from God's ass!"
"Santa Dog (Gamelan)" - Bridegroom Of Blood
"Fire 99 - Santa Dog 2nd Millennium" - Refused, which I haven't reviewed here, but it's a collection of every "Santa Dog" recording and re-recording.

If you're any kind of Residents fan at all, you NEED "Nineteen Ninety-Nine" and "I Hear Ya Got Religion," and if you're a hardcore collector (or record reviewer), you'll want "Conceiving Ada" as well, but the rest of the disc is of minor interest. This isn't to say that the material is substandard (see my rating of '7') -- just that it's much less 'rare' than it was a decade ago.

Kinda like my STEAK! Heh heh heh.

Yes, I've been cooking a steak for a full ten years. I like it EXTREMELY medium well.

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Demons Dance Alone - Cryptic 2002.
Rating = 7

A laughing demon holds a bleeding Resident eyeball in his arms as clenched fists rain down from the sky all around him. Having read a while back that most of these songs were written in the days following 9/11/01, my initial interpretation of the album artwork was fists as bricks pounding people to the ground as demons dance in glee - alone. But The Residents have always been so metaphorical, it could just as easily be about a dog eating beef jerky for all I know. Either way, what we have here is a Residents broadway musical on the subjects of loss, denial and emotional pain.

And I do mean "musical," as in Andrew Lloyd Weber/Tim Rice/Elton John over-obvious-emotional music that makes its point LOUD AND CLEAR so that even the old people way up in the balcony (they're dead, btw - I'm serious! Smell 'em!) can understand. The music on this disc, while sorrowful, is hardly "weird" at all. They've replaced made-up chords with minor chords, resulting in a full CD of tunes that remind me of "My Favorite Things." And I don't just mean boobs with carrots glued to them - I mean the song too. This is NOT the kind of CD that makes you think, "How on Earth did they do that? And why?" But, on the brighter side, it's also not a CD that makes you think, "That's just a guy with a keyboard! I'm becoming irate!"

The deal is this -- every song on here is fully composed and completed. Synth-heavy, yes, and often reliant on the same repeated melodic themes, but complete. It sounds as if they actually did put thought and effort into putting the CD together. The lyrics are distressing and depressing, whether you take them literally or not (just one example: From "The Ghost Child": "She was neglected/But no one expected/She'd hold her breath for ever and ever"). The songs discuss child and spousal abuse, sickness, betrayal, poverty, death and all kinds of awful things, all strung together by bits and pieces of a story called "Tongue," about a poor man who has to watch every woman he loves lose weight, shrivel up and die. Is this about the emotional death caused by marriage? Jesus, I don't know. The lyrics are great though.

So the lyrics are great and the mix is solid, full of different synths, keyboards, pianos, beats and even guitar solos! Wavery, chorused, watery, distorted guitar solos. So what is going to make the difference for you, the listener, is going to be the melodies. Some -- "Life Would Be Wonderful" and "Make Me Moo," for example -- are undeniably emotional and instantly catchy. But a good deal of these songs sound EXACTLY like Leonard Cohen - the chord sequences, moods and vocal melodies are TOTAL Leonard Cohen. Even the usually hick-voiced lead singer lowers his voice to a low, gruff whisper to intone these dark tales. As a FURTHER even, even the songs sung by the WOMAN sound like Leonard Cohen! And to me, Leonard Cohen just isn't an "emotional" songwriter most of the time. His type of songs sound like smoky bar drunken self-pity to me - not true universal despair of the sort intoned by this album's lyrics. So essentially, what many Residents fans are calling a deeply emotional work sounds to me more like a combination of Cohen self-pity and Broadway self-pity (except in the songs sung by little kids - THOSE sound creepy and intense just because you hate to think of terrible things happening to little kids - like that WHORE CUNT who beat the hell out of her four-year-old daughter while a security camera watched her. She's pleading innocent!? How could she possibly plead innocent after that? I hope she has ALL her kids taken away from her. I betcha people would be quick to adopt them - especially lil' Martha!) But again -- the lyrics are great! Here's another bit, this from "The Beekeeper's Daughter": "Tripping over Rover, he landed in clover/With bees stinging his face and his hands/Running back inside, he attempted to hide/But they saw the direction he ran."

I'm done. Go away.

Reader Comments (Michael J. West)
Well, I agree with yez that the lyrics are great, and that the music is very complete, and that the whole thing overall is very thoughtful. Where we seem (which is to say I'm not quite sure) to disagree, is that I think that Demons is one of the best albums that the Rz have ever done. It ranks probably right up with Eskimo and God in Three Persons in the pantheon. I don't particularly see any real direct connection to 9/11 in any way, though; I think the album is a series of case studies in vulnerability. Of all sorts. Just using Sept. 11 and the aftermath as a springboard into it. So I give this a mid-to-high 8, which is certainly much higher than I gave the middling Wormwood.

Also, let me add that the live show they did for this tour was an amazing, almost transcendent experience. Worth every bit of the effort you put into getting to your closest venue for them.
I've never heard the Residents, which is probably a situation I should rectify soon, since they're pretty much universally regarded as one of the weirdest bands of all time and I like a lot of pretty weird music. Plus, the malignant conceptual genius of Third Reich 'n' Roll really intrigues me. (To me, the genius is in what I've heard about the music - not that popular music is brainwashing our youth - I don't need the Residents to tell me that one - but the demonstrations of how many classic riffs sound a lot like each other sounds fascinating).

But I really wanted to comment just to state, for the record, that Leonard Cohen is a genius, and that his songs move me like few others can.

That's all.

Carry on.

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Demons Dance Alone DVD - Music Video Distributors 2003
Rating = 8

Whatever in Sam Nation the album was about, the live show definitely appears to tell the story of a doomed, obsessive love lost. Dressed in grey camouflage with disfigured metal facemasks and giant rubber band hair, the two remaining Residents (one male, one female) combine eroticism, grotesquery and emotional pain in their gigantic dramatics and lurching dance movements as a bunch of non-Resident musicians-in-disguise create late-period Leonard Cohen circus-gloom behind them. The effect is unreal but hyperreal as well. For example, I'd find myself attracted to the female character simply because she was a female with a female voice -- then I'd recoil in disgust upon remembering that her face was that of a monster -- then I'd feel almost unbearable sorrow for the two sick characters as he ignores her emotional needs, she cheats on him (I think?), he longs for happier days as a child with his doggy, she dreams of the happiness that motherhood would bring, and they completely fail to console each other through every hurdle and disappointment. And sure, I could be wrong about the plot, but the pantomimed loneliness, need and emptiness expressed throughout the stage show are far, far too familiar for any viewer who has ever experienced the death of an intimate relationship.

The DVD itself is pretty interesting as well. See, it was filmed by a guy wandering around the stage with a camera, but the show's atmospheric (DARK) lighting made it difficult to videotape what was actually going on. Then they tried infrared and that made everything too green and grainy. So finally they went back and digitally reprocessed the footage to add color and special effects. The result is the masterpiece that you're holding in your hand right now.


Hmmm. You do have a point about the homonymical qualities of such a statement. Perhaps instead of the confusing "masterpiece," I should have used the grammatically neutral term "titmouse."

The musical assets of this titmouse come all over your ears loud and clear, but the quick, jagged movements of the principals are far too steeped in modern dance and the recurring "devil guy who can't play the trumpet" gag isn't funny at all. But why get mad and call a band "boring old bags" just because Eric Drew Feldman is playing with them? Come on, that's not fair. Don't be turned off by the broad strokes of bad "artsy" theatrics -- stick in there until you start feeling the emotions. Take it from me: eventually you won't be able to fight this feeling anymore. You'll have forgotten what you started fighting for. That's when it's time to bring your ship into the shore and throw away your oars (of cynicism) forever.

And that's my review of The Residents' new DVD You Can Tune A Piano, But You Can't Tuna-Scented Yeast Infection.

Reader Comments (Michael J. West)
We here at Michael J. West Enterprises, Residential Snobbery Division, feel a need to correct your information.

1) The female onstage is not a Resident. She's a woman named Molly Harvey who's played on appeared on (I believe) every Residents album since "Gingerbread Man." The male singer, though, he's a Resident. Like you couldn't tell that by hearing his voice.

2) The "non-Resident musicians-in-disguise" ARE Residents. Jackass.

But actually, I loved your interpretation of the live show, which I'd never really thought of except as a dramatic version of the album...but I think you're closer to the truth than I am.

Also I was never sure if "Devil Guy Who Can't Play The Trumpet" was supposed to be funny. I don't think when I saw the show in D.C. that anyone ever laughed...but then, as you can imagine from the DVD, we were all absolutely spellbound.

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WB:RMX - Cryptic 2004
Rating = 6

Because I'm a "wild and crusty guy," tonight I thought up a hilarious prank for Muslim extremists to play on grieving New York Cityers. Here's the idea -- every year around 9/11 (this week, for example), NYC lights up two big ol' spotlights at Ground Zero, aimed directly upwards as if they were Twin Towers. So I thought "Wouldn't it be funny..." to find a hidden spot in NYC (an Extreme Mosque, for example) to house a spotlight shaped like a PLANE! And then you could just have your plane spotlight soar through the air and crash into the Twin Tower spotlight OVER and OVER and OVER again!!!! Preferably accompanied by a really loud "CRASSSHHHHH! noise! Oh! And then you could have a bunch of little tiny spotlights shaped like people that go "AUGGHH!! AWUWHHHGG!!" and jump out of the Twin Tower spotlight! God this is a GREAT FUCKING IDEA! Somebody get me an Extreme Muslim on the phone POST-HASTE!!!

I was tappin' that ass the other day when it suddenly occurred to me, "Steve, you haven't reviewed a Residents CD in nearly one day." Well, that time is now!

The original Warner Brothers Album was a smelly sock on the ear of the world -- a horrible, amateurish, noisy bunch of racket-making and redneck yalping. So imagine the wonder in the eyes of a child on the bright new dawn of an American dream upon learning that The Residents somehow converted the tapes into a bass-pumpin' House Dance record! Weirdly (and hilariously) enough, that's precisely what they did. And although they certainly did a pretty interesting job about it, let's be honest: you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still running for Vice President of the United States on the McCain ticket.

What they specifically did is listen back to all the (terrible) old tapes, find their favorite (tiny) snippets of music and noise, create (delightful) endless loops out of them, and then pile on dance beats and modern-day electronic gizmos, synths and guitars! Dumbest of all, they then plopped the old-timey hick vocals on top, thus rendering every track a cover of Rednex's "Cotton Eyed Joe."

If you are a fan of looped noises, you must purchase WB:RMX. They seriously plucked out the very few listenable moments of The Warner Brothers Album (a simple pretty piano line here, a funny guitar noise there, some strange violin squeals here, a bit of goofy horn racket there), poured them all into 'infinite loop,' layered them together in various combinations, and created entirely new songs on top of them!

Unfortunately, as clever as the concept is, the songs themselves only strike gold about half the time. The best tracks are melodic masterpieces of fun calamitous danceable noise, but the worst are just minimal blips, strums and beats with no real focus. As for the new melodies, they give us everything from heavy metal to soap opera strings, groovy samba to Arabian dance, Techno to experimental -- all crafted and performed on top of decades-old lo-fi hissy monophonic tapes of garbage.

To be more specific, one song has a shaky maraca.

Now let's end the week with a hilarious joke for all the people in the world:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Sarah Palin!
Sarah Palin who?
Sarah Palin' in comparison to pretty much every other VP candidate in the history of the nation!

Thanks, that was my way of converting Republicans into Democrats. Now all you Republicans are out there going, "You know?.... He's right!" Actually the amazing thing about the Republican party is how they manage to convince less-discriminating voters that they're "just like you! Just average folks!" when their actual policies make it clear that they don't give two goddamns about "average folks." Would you rather share a beer with Obama or McCain? WHO FUCKING CARES?! IT'S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN ANYWAY!! Palin has never even been to Europe. McCain doesn't even know how to send an email. These are people who should be cleaning urinals, not running the country. As Roger Ebert put it, "I want a vice president who is better, wiser, well-traveled, has met world leaders, who three months ago had an opinion on Iraq. Someone who doesn't repeat bald-faced lies about earmarks and the Bridge to Nowhere."

Granted, he was talking about Shrek 2, but come on the guy has cancer.

Reader Comments
It is way beyond a rework or remix. It's more - let's write some new songs and sample the WB album. Very dancey, electronic sort of thing but they throw in industrial, metal and other elements.

And of course, they have to do completely freaking weird stuff, like slow parts of the singing on Ohm to like 1/3rd the normal speed.

I honestly like it more than anything they have done since "Stars and Hank Forever", which only means I'd give it a 6/10. Given your like of their early 2000s albums, I think you would enjoy this.

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12 Days Of Brumalia - Ralph America 2004
Rating = 6

Ho ho ho! Merry Sexmas, everybody! I'm Santa Cox and I'm here to make sure that all you guys and gals have the merriest, horniest Sexmas ever! Let me reach into my sac and see what I have for you this year.

Well well WELL! For all you ladies out there, I've got this! An unfinished wooden block! And I think we ALL know what you'll be doing with this unfinished wooden block oooh la la! Don't get it too soggy now, ladies! Har har ho ho HO!

Now let's see what I have for you men. Well well WELL! It's a donut hole! Speaking of "wooden blocks," I think I see a few forming out there right now (in your pants!).

What else do we have here. Oh, something for all the gay little boys out there! It's a... well, a poop log. Apparently you're supposed to poke at it with the tip of your penis and fantasize you're making love to Tom Selleck or something, I don't know. Let's move on.

Okay, now something for all you Sapphic Sweeties and Lesbian Lovers out there! It's... hmm. A Slinky. I'm not sure exactly how that's supposed to.... Maybe let it roll from one vagina to the other? Who packed this sac anyway? Usually I have really sexy things.

Oh now HERE we go! For all you uniform fetishists out there, it's a brand new sexy.... umm, astronaut's uniform. Just like the astronauts wear. Gigantic, white and puffy. With a helmet.

Okay, I'll try one more time. A-ha! I feel something silky, slinky and moist down at the bottom here! What do we have here!?

It's a seal. A live seal.

A live SEXY seal, that is!!!! (*makes love to seal while bashing it with a hammer*) YOU'RE DEAD, SEAL!!!! FUCK YOU!!!!!

And that's the story of how Victoria's Secret ruined Christmas. And if you enjoyed that, you'll LOVE the great new five-year-old Residents CD 12 Days Of Brumalia! You see, one day in 2003, The Residents posted a song per day for thirteen days on their web site into 2004, and then a week later that summer they issued it as a CD one month. And what a knockout!

"Hold your horses," you're wondering. "Did they just make up the word 'Brumalia'? I mean, I love that comic strip Broom-Hilda, but I don't see how the two are related." I understand your concern, so I've taken the time to look up the word on the Internet. According to, "Brumalia was an ancient Greek solstice festival in honor of Dionysus. During the Brumalia, the fermented grape wine was poured into jars. The festival included drinking and merriment and was popular enough to last until the 12th century in somewhat altered form." So there you goat!

I have to tell you something about the Residents and their ways and rules of the world. See, they tend toward being contrary. Contrary not only to what most music fans want, but even to what their own fans might want. And although it was a really nice idea for them to offer their regular web site visitors a brand new song each day for thirteen days, some of these songs are as ugly as Kirstie Alley in a something something.

In its finest moments, Brumalia hits the ears as a Residents-meets-(classic)-Meat Beat Manifesto experiment, with big club beats, horns, strings and odd electronic tones swirling back and forth in an ethereal, dischordant but focused mix. But at its worst, it presents unappealing synth riffs further ruined by ear-piercing treble guitar and the ugliest vocals you will find on any Residents album (often sped up to violently unpleasant effect). Most of the tracks fall somewhere in between, mixing creepy electronic passages and great jazz breaks with 'I hate you' riffs and offputting voice effects.

Still, I must stress that this is by no means a throwaway project. There are some exceptionally brilliant and bizarre pieces on this disc, my favorites being the discordant electronic oddity "Turtle Dove," exciting jazz groove "Calling Bird," disconcerting tone-sliding creeper "Swami Swan" and all-over-the-place "Big Hand" (which, in two and a half minutes, weaves its way through nightmare-jazz, bachelor pad exotica and orchestral soap opera schmaltz -- complete with crowd cheers!). Even the weak songs don't sound lazy or half-assed like so much of the band's '90s work did; they just sound extremely unpleasant! Pissy minor keys, pinched-nose female vocals, ugly synth blorps - I'd rather jam my dick in the spokes of a bicycle going 100 miles an hour!

Oh I'm sorry - did I say "my dick"? I of course meant "some other guy's dick."

As icky as it can get at times, 12 Days Of Brumalia is definitely up to the Residents' high 21st century creative standards and should be considered a must-own by any fans of their recent material. Unfortunately they only printed up 1000 copies, so your best bet is to find an ILLEGAL DOWNLOAD that will SEND YOU TO PRISON online. That's what I did, and now I'm locked up in ALCATRAZ!!!

And this damn BIRDMAN keeps SHITTING GUANO on me!!! FUCK YOU, BIRDMAN!!!!

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The Way We Were - Ralph America 2005
Rating = 7

In Australia, The Residents performed five Commercial Album songs, four from Our Finest Flowers, three from Wormwood, two each from Duck Stab and Demons Dance Alone, and one each from Stranger Than Supper, Intermission, Residue Of The Residents, God In 3 Persons, Freak Show, Liver Music and The King & Eye. Unfortunately, let's not kid ourselves. Let's be honest. Let's not hide the truth behind politeness. This late-period version of The Residents absolutely could not perform the old '70s songs worth a toot sweet. Who could!? Those songs were written and arranged as oddball studio constructions, and never intended for live performance. As such, live they're just ugly rock songs. Other than that, the main problem is the gross distorted guitar with its puke-informingly chorus-cleansed '80s metal tone making The Residents sound like the Bullet Boys. Also, it's an audience tape so the sound is godawful -- as muddy and bassy as a fish in a mud pu - never mind.

Don't get me - some of the songs are terrif, and that bit in the one song is hilarious where he's like "Life is all about teeth! The toothpaste commercials! THEY understand!" but -- and this is just a note of conjecture from me to you:

(A) Guitar tone is important. Don't let your guitarist sound like CC Deville.

(B) Record your shows yourselves. If you rely on an audience tape, it will likely be so bassy and muddy that you'll feel like there's a fish in

I love The Residents and many of their songs -- on this particular concert CD, the newer songs work much better because they were a bit more 'normal' in the first place. But in consideration of their '70s material, how do you successfully convert an avant-garde studio construction into a live pop-rock performance? Not like THIS hopefully, because it sounds like garbage!

I'm glad they played "The Sleeper" though. I love that song. "'WHY?' I SAID, 'WHY?'" Remember that bit? That was great.

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Animal Lover - Ralph 2005
Rating = 8

By gum and golly, the Residents in 2005 have released one of their best albums of all time. Definitely their finest since... Crikey, since the one with Renaldo & The Loaf? Comparisons are useless; this is a DAMNED fine CD. One lovely-hearted writer to this very web site said that it's the kind of record that can "give you that extra little oomph you need if you've been considering suicide and haven't gone through with it yet." And that righter was write! Built chiefly upon soft gamelan-esque chimes, bells and tones (covered at various times with strings, possibly fake horns and twisted guitar runs) and featuring a boxload of haunting female-male group vocals, Animal Lover's music alternates between cold/soulless icebergs and beautiful late-Swansy sorrow, with some of the most inspired musical interplay we've heard from this band since the '70s (particularly in the exceedingly creepy and noisy final track, "Burn My Bones").

And the lyrics - Good GOD! - the lyrics are ... well, they focus on the sick, evil, insane, lost and hopeless among us. The album title refers to a brilliant creative idea they worked into the project -- although the songs themselves have nothing to do with animals, as you read through the beautifully illustrated hardcover book that accompanies the disc, you FIRST experience each song's happenings through the eyes of an animal. So you only get half the story. Then the lyrics, printed on the next page, reveal what is REALLY happening. For example, the very first page is written from a zoo tiger's point of view. The tiger has been noticing a man staring at her constantly, as if he is obsessed. She starts to feel comfortable around him because he is there so often. Then suddenly one night he breaks into the zoo covered in blood to bring her a gift -- a dog carcass. The police arrest him, but she feels flattered that somebody cared enough to deliver her a dog carcass. Right? So then you turn the page and the song's lyrics (from the MAN'S point of view) reveal that he has lost his mind while travelling across the country and believes that he has turned into a cat. He kills the dog not as a gift for the tiger (whom he has fallen in love with), but because HE is hungry. "The world he had constructed, from felines and despair/On the way to Oklahoma, became as clear as air." The entire booklet and CD is designed in this way. Pretty neat, eh? It was my idea!

Okay, it wasn't really my idea. Elsewhere on this feel-bad hit of the summer, you'll hear tales of unjust stonings, Salem Witch Trials driven by malevolent children, dying parents, young men losing their minds in the war, a cult focused on avoiding your problems by sleeping as much as possible, childnappers, werewolves, paranoia, obsession, depression, repression, compulsion and The Monkey Man, which is probably not about heroin even though you'd think it would be. These sorts of lyrics, attached to the weirdestly-scaled vocal melodies and least "positive hippy vibe" music you're going to hear outside of the death metal genre, result in a disturbing but disarmingly impressive piece of work. It can be a bit much at times, and the 29-minute bonus disc of its musical themes thrown together into a meaningless pastiche is completely unnecessary (and boring), but man what a terrific piece of well-constructed work they've come up with. If you thought Milkwood and Lonely Demons Danceday were a comeback, wait til you hear THIS fuckin' piece of shit masterpiece! A high, high 8 with honors. It's enough to make you forget that The Big Bubble ever happened!

Reader Comments
I am in full agreement that this is one of The Residents' best albums of their career, even though I'm the one who made the suicide joke. See, that's what drew me to The Residents in the first place, that their best works are simultaneouly magnificently beautiful and really fucking ugly. And get under your skin like burrowing beetles. Or into your head like earworms. It's a pain/pleasure thing -- you're compelled to keep revisiting the songs like playing with a loose tooth, or picking at a hangnail. It hurts so good, as John "Don't call me Cougar" Mellencamp so astutely noted in his 1982 dissertation "American Fool: How I'm Actually Much Smarter Than My Dumb Hick Audience, But Shh, Don't Tell Them." No Residents album has haunted me like this since God In 3 Persons. (Though Demons Dance Alone had quite a few moments.)

The book is essential to the album -- if you just download or copy the songs, you'll miss half the experience. In fact, it's really kind of cool that ye olde-fashioned "book" technology is much more essential to Animal Lover than the CD-ROMs are to Gingerbread Man & Freak Show. I imagine they're going to have to have a narrator tell the animals' stories on stage when they perform these songs live. I hadn't really noticed that the animals' stories come from a limited viewpoint, while the humans' songs tell the "truth", but that makes sense now that you've pointed it out. (Though if someone could please tell me WTF's going on in the pigeon / "sky outside my window" song...? thx.)

There's more to the Animal Lover concept, according to the Rezzies' press releases: Apparently, the musical foundation of the songs is based on recordings of the rhythms of animal mating rituals -- insects, frogs, whales, and even humans. I say "apparently" because it is apparent to me that this is pure hogwash. I don't hear an animal anywhere, and most of these songs don't even *have* rhythms! And sexual (or sexy) this album is NOT, unless you find stories of withered genitals titillating -- you do get one of those, withered-genital fetishists! But hey, even if it's a lie, "this music is based on animal sex" is a great hook for a reviewer to hang a story on, isn't it?

The only other way the animal "concept" works for me is maybe the notions of the "lone wolf" versus "herd mentality." Cause like you noted, the people in these songs are just all kinds of fucked-up, but they seem to cluster into two sorts of madness: individual dementia, or group hysteria. And there's a lot more of the second group -- modern witch trial, consumer frenzy, homophobic murder, isolating cult, tribal crime, war). It's kind of like a sequel to Demons Dance Alone, only where that one focused more on individuals' trauma, Animal Lover focuses more on how we go crazy together.

So I guess the big message The Residents have for us in the 21st century is we're our own worst enemies, and also each other's worst enemies?

Pardon me... I, uh, have to go sharpen the knives...
would have thought it was quite clear that they all have cancer now, and that the one guy's original friends that played with him are gone or dead, and "the residents' is actually just this one guy with two girlfriends and they hate us all so much they're trying to figure out a way to convince me to commit suicide and, hey, good try. Good fucking try. So close! But I ain't going to my window today, see? Not tomorrow, neither. Suck it, residents! And damn your post-hipster angsty genius bullshit!
the original residents were homer flynn, hardy fox, jay clem and john kennedy (the last name i am not 100% sure). they didnt want to be known to the public so they always wore masks and stuff on fotos and at rare performances during the early years, building up the residents mythology which in my opinion contributed a lot to their fame.

they WERE public to everybody but they choose to call themselves the "managers" of the residents under the name Cryptic Corporation. later founded ralph records and all that.

jay clem and john kennedy quit i think sometime after the first mole record, mark of the mole. after the tour or something, i dont remember why, i guess tour stress, boredom or something.

after that i am not sure who played with them, but i think for a long time almost all during the 80s it was just hardy and homer. hardy plays keyboards and homer is the singer, the growling texas voice of the residents. during the early yeras in the 70s the other from time to time also contributed some vocals.

i guess nowadays everybody they list as manager, technician or something could possibly be a resident. i know that at least that guy guido who runs euro ralph played guitar during the Wormwood tour.

knowing this and putting all the myth aside it is much more clear why the 70s were so experimentingly interesting, the 80s so godawful boring and the 90s and nowadays more mature, normal but also more pleasent. they simply lost 2 members and probably didnt have a clue what to do. and hardy is not the greatest keyboarder of all times, homer writes brilliant lyrics, always did, but his voice is only good in context and during the 80s they just didnt find their way.

another thing is that the residents are not and never were just about music. from the beginning on it was a freaked out hippie art students project involving art painting, collages, costumes, performances and all that. i think i remember that hardy did a lot of record cover stuff in the 70s. i guess jay and john were quite good musicians - that none of them could not play their instruments in the beginning is complete bullshit, you can hear that these guys construct a lot to make it sound weird but people who cant play music at all sound different! so much for that.

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River Of Crime! Episodes 1-5 - Cordless 2007
Rating = 7

Isn't it amazing how Bono is working tirelessly to relieve third-world nations from debt while simultaneously infecting all of Africa with the AIDS virus? My theory is that he wants the debt forgiven so when all the people die he can turn the whole continent into a big pair of sunglasses.

I hate Sniglets. This is just between you and me. I can't believe they've retained their massive popularity over the past two decades, but it seems you can't leave your car without running into a conversation comprised entirely of Rich Hall's hilarious creations. Here are four I just made up. They all rhyme with "Residents" in tribute to the Residents, whose new CD I am currently reviewing.

"Nesidents" - People who think that $85 is a fantastic bargain for a framed autograph of former Monkee Michael Nesmith. (See the Merchandise section in's 'Products' section - I'M NOT MAKING THIS UP).

"Lesidents" - Dental dams for lesbians. Also known as 'dental dams'.

"Desidents" - What you get when Lucille Ball's drunken husband drives his car into the side of your house.

"Presidents" - Residents of a house that has a big 'P' on it.

Ha ha! Yes, who doesn't enjoy a Sniglet that rhymes with "Residents"? Most if not all, some say!

With River of Crime!, The Residents once again find themselves on the forefront of a groundbreaking new entertainment medium that will be obsolete and near-forgotten three years from now. This time, it's the 'podcast.' Ha ha! "Podcast"! Yeah, THAT'S gonna last through dinner. Say! Anybody seen my Sony MiniDisc? H ha aha ahhAHHAHAHAHAH!!! No but seriously. River of Crime! is a radio series that, according to the press release, is "told in the spirit of the 'True Crime' radio broadcasts of days gone by, but with a whole new twist and macabre" feel "that only The Residents can create." Furthermore, "consumers can purchase each episode (14-18 minutes each) from" shitty "online retailers (iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, etc...), or by purchasing a special physical CD package to be sold through an exclusive" pornography "retailer to be announced shortly."

Although I have seen the physical version in stores (it comes with one disc of all five episodes and one disc of just the music from all five episodes), the version I accidentally purchased on Amazon is the sneaky, hilarious CD-R version, which is a package of two blank CDs and instructions on how to go online, download and burn all five episodes plus artwork, complete scripts, and four bonus tracks. I shall now attempt, in five words or more, to review the River Of Crime! project:

Through a combination of original music, narration by the resident hick singer, additional voice actors, sound effects, creepy backup vocals, distortion/echo effects and gruesome subject matter, the band has created a collection of 16-minute radio dramas about a man whose youthful obsession with criminal activity has led him to the belief that crime itself is stalking him.

I'm pretty sure that The Residents have "pulled a fast one" here, by which I mean "done something clever." You see, unless my ears and mind are ganging up to deceive me, it is not a "River Of Crime" that the narrator is riding at all, but a "River of Loss." Although ostensibly about criminal acts, each episode ultimately focuses on the torturous human emotions caused by the loss of a loved one -- a father, a daughter, a lover, a friend, a niece.

The other key theme, closely related to the first, is that of "fascination from afar" vs. "first-person experience." That's a godawful way of phrasing it and thank God I'm not writing this for a schoolmarm, but what i mean is that, while the narrator (as a child) is absolutely obsessed with all the awesome serial killers and child murderers he reads about, each episode demonstrates that an act of human evil is a hell of a lot less cool (and more painful) when it actually happens to you.

The first episode, "The Kid Who Collected Crimes!," allows the series' central figure to tell his story -- of how he grew up fascinated by the electric chair and criminals ("For me, crime became the art form of the sociopath!") before breaking into an executed killer's home and stealing her wedding photo ("IT WAS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!!!") and ultimately finding himself unable to escape the dark, crime-ridden world he's accidentally created for himself. But see, there's the jigger. The terwilliger, if I may. He pinpoints the moment of his immersion in the "River Of Crime" to the moment that he steals the photo and escapes from the house, nearly being caught by the executed killer's aunt. But what has actually happened, if you ask me and possibly The Residents unless I'm wrong in which case fuck it, is that this is actually his first encounter with a person suffering the pain of human loss. Yes, the executed girl was a murderer, but she was still this woman's niece, and this woman misses her terribly. Thus the "River of Loss" I proposed earlier, in my arrogance. Mostly devoid of humor or suspense, the 17-minute episode really shouldn't be as interesting as it is, but the ever-changing and all-enveloping mixture of warped music, true crime anecdotes, colorful characters and well-written narration keep it moving at a clippy fever all ass-day for 17 minutes!

Episode B, "Gator Hator!" focuses on a single grisly true crime episode, and if you've seen Tobe Hooper's Eaten Alive, you know all about it. But again the Residents pump fresh blood into a tired old circulatory system by putting the focus on the emotions of the characters involved, rather than on the dirty deeds done dirt cheap album by AC/DC. Yes, it took some "big balls" to approach the story in this way, but hey, "it ain't no fun waitin' 'round to be a millionaire." So "ride on," "problem child"!

Also, "Love At First Feel" (if you have the American version).

In the end, it's not about a restaurant owner who feeds his waitresses to alligators; it's about a woman who lost her best friend to an act of human evil and is still scarred by the loss.

And so forth. Episode 3, "The Misdelivered Mummy" is not, at its heart, about a mummy at all. It's about a woman whose entire life was destroyed by the murder of her soulmate. Episode 5, "Termites From Formosa" (the most harrowing episode, and the only possible conclusion to the series) is likewise not about termites, but about the moment in our narrator's life when he finally gets it. And I skipped episode 4 there because I have an issue with it.

Episode 4, "The Beards," could have easily been the most disturbing episode in the series, but for a final resolution that feels naggingly like a cop-out. In this piece, the narrator recalls a Christmas Eve in his teens when he got stuck babysitting a neighbor's little daughter. Because she has just read "Bluebeard" (theme - fatal flaw, such as that displayed by the narrator in this piece, BUT I DIGRESS)(and UNDRESS - WHEE! A PENIS!), the little girl is scared and can't fall asleep. This annoys the teen babysitter because he is excitedly reading newspaper articles and encyclopedia entries about totally wicked-ass child torturers and killers. Finally, when she interrupts him one too many times, he snaps and spanks her. Interesting, but not nearly as interesting as the fact that two days later, the child disappears. Now see, that would have been a PERFECT ending -- after all his fascination with the deviant acts of child killers, to have such a monster actually prey upon a child whose voice we've been hearing all throughout the episode. THAT would have chilled a fellow to the bone. Unfortunately, I guess The Residents felt that such an ending would be too dark even for them, so they allow her to suddenly reappear in her backyard two weeks later. To me, it kills the piece. But better the piece than a fictional child, I guess!

(I don't really guess that at all, but apparently somebody did)

The Residents have made a startling comeback from minimalist mediocrity to haunting relevance over the past 7 or 8 years, and this Podcast experiment is just another piece of cake on the icing. Although not every moment is exciting as dirt, the concept is excellent, the mix is chockful of interesting moments and it's always funny to hear the Residents' hick singer cuss for no reason (ex. "I went to my room, climbed out the window, and went to see the goddamned alligator!"; "The problem with that though was the first thing Meemaw would talk about when she got home would always be the goddamned sermon!"). Though I can't imagine anybody wanting to listen to the full collection more than a few times, it's surely worth plugging into your MP3 box for a skateboard ride or two.

And if you don't ride a skateboard, stop being a nerd and ride a skateboard. How are you ever going to work towards a career as a skateboard rider if you don't ride a skateboard? Come on! Reach for those dreams! The dreams of being a really good skateboard rider, that is!

(*zooms away on a skateboard*)

(*performs 50-50 grind, 5-0 grind, nose grind, smith grind and feeble grind, all by accident while bouncing on face across the parkway*)

Reader Comments
The first Residents song I ever heard, and far and away my favorite, was on a sampler album that also had tracks from other Ralph Records acts. As far as I can tell, "Dumbo the Clown" is not on any of the group's albums, with the possible exception of an import, outtakes compilation, called Residue Deux, and I'm not convinced it exists.

And yet, I think it may be their best song. With Christmas coming soon, I was reminded of this charming, creepy, semi-seasonal song.

Add your thoughts?

Tweedles! - Mute 2006
Rating = 8

I believe it was John Leonard of The Beatles who once said, "Woman is the nigger of the world." Well, I don't need that kind of bad language on my site, but nowhere is this philosophy better exemplified than in the narration of The Residents' Tweedles!. The narrator, as voiced by legendary Residents vocalist "Guy With Hick Voice," is a misogynist sex-obsessed sociopath -- a cheater, mistreater, user, abuser and all around mean-spirited love'em-and-leave'emer prone to observations like "There's no better feeling than a hard-on," "Somtimes it seems like life is working against you - and that's why God created alcohol!" and "Steaks and orgasms - how empty life would be without them!"

Additional wis and witdom from The Tweedles! narrator:

On his mother: "She was a bitch, but I miss her."

On his moral fiber: "I have no values!"

On the classic film Imitation Of Life: "The movie was really kind of shitty, but I loved the title!"

On all the women he has used and thrown away: "I got what I want; they're no longer worth the effort."

To a woman he has just cheated on, re: why he's so late arriving at her home: "I passed this woman by the side of the road, and she had a flat tire. TWO flat tires! Yeah, she was kinda cute, but.... So then when I was cumming -- I mean, 'coming' to see you.... I sprained my ankle changing the tire, and this nurse came by!.... Look, it doesn't matter what I say if you're not going to trust me. If you really loved me, you wouldn't pull this kinda shit!"

To yet another broken-hearted woman left in his wake: "It's time for me to part... It's time for me to part... It's time for me to PARTY!"

At times, he expresses dismay that his love always fades ("Sometimes I feel like nothing would make me happier than holding hands with a woman on the beach....") and by the end of the album, he seems to understand that he has led "a life that's wasted hour after hour," but he is so narcissistic that he doesn't give a second thought to any of the women he has hurt, except when an unwelcome memory accidentally invades his reptile brain. Goddamn you, Narrator of Tweedles! You've done nobody good but wrong!

Apparently the impetus for this record was a trip to Transylvania that the band took in order to record in a studio that a Residents fan had constructed in the region. There, they were inspired not only to craft this story about a 'vampire' who feasts on broken hearts, but also to incorporate the local sounds and musics into their synth-and-guitar compositions. As such, each song is a fascinating combination of state-of-the-art electronic instruments and traditional acoustic instruments, Residents synthesized sorrow and traditional Transylvanian folk/orchestral music. It's killer awesome bitchin bonus wicked cool! You'll be all like listening to this dark synth wash and shit, and then this fucken Transylvanian street singer will pop in there all of a sudden, or The Film Orchestra Of Bucharest will bring in some trumpets to do they thing, or these church bells and carnival noises will be all up your ass with the skeet skeet. But enough of my modern slang, for the kids.

Tweedles! combines eerieness, horns, violins, sound effects (real-life sound effects from Transylvania!), sexism, redneck narration and occasional singing, melancholy, ethnic instruments and vocals, synth washes and melodies, occasional distorted guitar squabble, and -- in a move that will either excite or annoy long-time Residents fans -- a return of the ugly female 'chorus' vocals that were so prevalent on God In Three Persons. Personally, I think the CD would be even better without such an aurally unpleasant '80s throwback intruding every few minutes, but maybe they wanted to demonstrate a thematic connection to their earlier twisted sexual story. In any case, the rest of music is so brilliantly arranged, combining unrelated acoustic and electric instrumentation together in ways that really shouldn't work but somehow do, that we must try to forgive the ugly female 'chorus' vocals for their trespasses, as they forgive those who trespass against them.

Reverbed piano, violins, horn sections, Townshendy synth, vibraphone, blistering distorted metal guitar, gamelan, bubbling water noises, modern drum-n-bass sound, cool jazz, pulse beats, eerie string plucking, wah-wah organ, twisted carnival music, bendy blues licks on odd foreign instruments -- you don't NEVER know whatchur gonna get down here at the Tweedles! album!!!

The Residents have been on a MAJOR roll since '99, and this could be their best 'comeback era' CD yet. It's definitely their most musically inventive release probably since the '70s! It might have even earned a 9 if not for those ugly female 'chorus' vocals, which I will never forgive as long as air flows through these lungs.

Oh, that's not air? Then what is it?

What!? Who the hell filled my iron lung with ham and discolored eggs?

Oh, if it was a doctor, I guess that's okay.



































GET IT???????????????

Reader Comments
Okay, so I bought Animal Lover and Tweedles recently, and I figured I felt strongly enough that I had to leave some kind of comment on your page. First off, you were right when you said these guys have been on a roll since '99. These albums are good. Really good. Some of the best the band's ever done, in fact. For the first time in years, they're finally making music as ambitious and intelligent as their increasingly complex lyrical themes, elevating them from clever novelty act to one of the most relevant "older" bands working today. And frankly, it's hard to find any "younger" bands doing music with this much depth.

For example, let's look at the character of Tweedles. You could probably dismiss the idea of a sexually predatory clown as being just another wacky/disturbing Residents concept, but that would be ignoring the fact that Tweedles himself is a pretty complex character, the kind you're more likely to find in a short story than your standard rock concept album. His observations are by turns repulsive, eloquent, funny, creepy, and in the end, kind of pitiful. The whole thing ultimately comes off like a vicious satire on the male id and the inherent selfishness of desire, but it's also a real hoot and a half, with some fantastic music to boot.

On the other hand, the stories in Animal Lover position the animals as being impassive observers to the worst aspects of human nature, making the unsettling point that our increased intellect only gives us the potential to be even more fucked-up and irrational than our less "evolved" counterparts. What makes it more than just a bitterly misanthropic tirade on how much our species sucks, though, is how much compassion the eyeballed ones have for their characters. Anyone who can write a song called What Have My Chickens Done Now? and make it absolutely heartbreaking must be doing something right.

My point is this: The Residents are the only band I can think of who are actually having one of the best, most productive phases of their career more than 30 years in.

The new one kinda blows, though.
What's this about cruelty to animals, that appears every now and then in the lyrics on their albums? What's that all about? (Sometimes it doesn't even seem to be presented with horror and repudiation, but more indifferently, like it was an accepted part of human behavior.)
Now I know what John Wayne Gacy’s theme music might’ve been. Sick stuff but fantastic music.

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Best Left Unspoken... Obscure Instrumentals Volume One: Pollex Christi And Other Selections - Ralph America 2006
Rating = 6

Today in America with pain, sorrow and universal health care, this album features songs that are hard to find elsewhere unless you're a busybody. It includes the entire 1997 Pollex Christi CD, which is just a bunch of classical music motifs strewn together with silly pop gags ("Beethoven's 9th," "Peter Gunn Theme," "Star Trek Theme," "Popeye The Sailor Man," etc), along with tracks from Demons Dance Alone Deluxe Disc, Golden Goat DVD Single, Stranger Than Supper, Residue Deux, I Murdered Mommy and Kettles Of Fish Bonus Disc, as well as rare outtakes from Animal Lover, Mole Trilogy, Tweedles and the Masters Of Horror television series.

I'm not a huge fan of straightforward classical music, and there's a lot of that on here. But it's a compilation, so you never know what you're going to get. Oh wait, yes you do: keyboard shit. If you like keyboards and their fancy friends The Synthesizers, you'll welcome these tones with open teeth. But it's all instrumental, mostly classical and all synthy. Sorrow, Fripp-esque guitars, "Peter & The Wolf"-esque wussy flutes, mellotrons, creepiness, "Auld Lang Syne," going all over the place, distorted guitar licks - come on, it's a compilation. Stop trying to make me find an overriding theme or style. I can't!

However, "Pickle" clearly has vocals. COME ON ASSHOLES, IF IT'S NOT AN INSTRUMENTAL, DON'T TRY TO PRETEND IT IS. We all hear the vocals. I heard them, you heard them, we all heard them. Steve heard them. Bill wasn't paying attention, but Dave heard them. And Hurkey.

Compilations can only be judged by an independent jury of one. I'm judging as a non-classical fan. Your rating might be 15 points higher.

Here's a joke:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Pollex Christi!
Pollex Christi who?
(*urinates on door*)

Add your thoughts?

Best Left Unspoken... Obscure Instrumentals Volume Two: High Horses And Other Selections - Ralph America 2007
Rating = 5

This, the second installment in The Residents' billion-selling Best Left Flugledoken series, includes the 2003 High Horses EP, along with tracks from Buckaroo Blues, Residue Deux, Anganok, The 12 Days Of Brumalia, Bridegroom of Blood, WBRMX (vinyl release) and Icky Flix DVD, as well as rare outtakes from River Of Crime, Animal Lover and a Japanese record label that asked them to re-record "Twinkle" from Goosebump. I will now discuss every song in second-by-second detail.

"High Horses Pt. 1"
00:01 - Nothing happens yet.
00:02 - Ambient fairground noise.
00:03 - Ambient fairground noise and footsteps.
00:04 - Ambient fairground noise and footsteps continue.
00:05 - Ambient fairground noise and footsteps continue on.
00:06 - An adult male voice joins the ambient fairground noise and footsteps.
00:07 - Really loud high-heeled footsteps go running by.
00:08 - The adult male voice continues.
00:09 - An excited child shouts in joy.
00:10 - The excited shouting child, ambient fairground noise and footsteps continue.
00:11 - A xylophone or something begins playing carousel music.
00:12 - The rest of the album.

Yes, I think we're all pretty proud of my indexing but sometimes you must take a wider view of these things. In my wider view, this CD is a bunch of bland instrumentals, most of which you can get elsewhere if desire you so to do is occurring. To begin with, the "High Horses" centerpiece is a near-nineteen-minute exploration into children's carousel music that, though dark and occasionally nightmarish, essentially sounds like a bunch of oompah music at an Italian wedding (except "Pt. 2," which sounds like Nick Cave's "The Carny"). Only "Pt. 4" is sick, twisted, twick and sisted enough to pass Residents muster; the rest are just too traditional and soundalike to pay much notice.

From there, you move into tragically hit-or-miss and devastatingly inconsistent territory. The life-affirmingly brooding/goofy "Two Testes" must share space with the murderously corny Phil Collins pussyboy "Twinkle." The literally God chord changes of "Icky Flix Theme" have only to glance over their shoulders to see the gaseous ten-minute keyboard dickaroo "God In Three Person's Over." And Bridegroom of Blood stinks! Why are there two songs on here from it? And don't give me this "It didn't exist yet" nonsense. Time is a mere construct.

Speaking of which, I was really close to completing a time machine once, but then an older version of myself showed up and told me I'd never succeed because time travel is impossible. Not one to expend effort on fruitless ventures, I converted it into a lemonade stand.

(Don't buy any -- I took a 1.21 jigodump in the ice tray.)

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Best Left Unspoken... Obscure Instrumentals Volume Three: For Elsie And Other Selections - Ralph America 2007
Rating = 8

Similar to a book you might read, this compilation CD includes the 1987 For Elsie EP, along with tracks from The Way We Were DVD and 12 Days Of Brumalia, as well as an Animal Lover outtake, an abandoned overture to the Wormwood live show and a speedy nervous unreleased zinger from 1996.

I've never considered myself a Beethoven fan. Certainly I love the hilarious dog movie, but I've never given long shrift to the related composer so I naturally expected the Residents' NINE different takes on "Fur Elise" to be as painful as a root canal performed by a porcupine covered in bees, each of which has a fire ant on it. But aloha! The Residents have twisted, turned and butter churned the song in so many different and exciting ways that the Ludwigger himself is undoubtedly rolling in his grave, impotently shrieking, "I sucked in life and I suck in death!"

First there's the straightforward violin (synth) reading. Next is the patented Residents-copyrighted trademark version, filled with warped tones, wrong notes, disturbing clangs and Devo-y industrial synths. But starting with track three, the "Fur Elise" melody becomes a mere afterthought, awkwardly squashed on top of whatever unrelated piece of music they're destroying at the time. A fuzzed-out guitar bed, a throbbing bass groove with clanky xylophone accompaniment, Christmas chimes and morose violins, booming drone and eerie guitar clicks, swingin' Foetus sleaze-jazz, suspenseful guitar riffing, contrapuntal interplaying rhythmic tones, and a banana. Aren't these good things? The banana and so forth? I hope you don't think I've just randomly inserted the banana in order to make the other items appear more nutritious.

I mainly rate this disc higher than the first two Best Friends' Underwear comps because I find "For Elsie" much more intriguing and musically diverse than "Pollex PISSti" and "High HorseSHIT." However, it certainly doesn't hurt that the remaining five tracks have their strengths too -- particularly the loveable '96 zinger "Angle," Middle Eastern "Animal Lover Seven" and healthy nutritious banana.

Say! That reminds me of a little joke:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Banana who?
Ba Na Na, that doowop band that played Woodstock.
No, that was 'Sha Na Na.'
That may be, but a banana is healthier.
You're right; please come in. And bring the banana.

In conclusion, banana

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Voice Of Midnight - Mute 2007
Rating = 5

After a streak of good-to-terrific studio albums, The Residents have finally fallen back to Earth with their first weak album since 1996's Have A Bad Day. A foray into "musical theater," this is an intriguingly morbid but awkwardly scripted and abysmally acted adaptation of a 190-year-old Prussian short story called "En Der Sandmann" by Metallica. I use a lot of adverbs; I realized that recently. If they bug you, just think of them as product placements for "ly"-sol. Yes, "ly"-sol. The good-smelliest air freshener in town. That's "ly"-sol! Ask for it by golly! See? There's another one. The adverb "golly."

Voice Of Midnight tells the tale of a young man named Nate who is paranoid that "The Sandman" murdered his father and is now coming to kill him. Over the course of the story, he alienates his girlfriend Clair, falls in love with a girl across the street who apparently is just an animated mannequin of some sort (?), gets psychiatric help, reunites with Clair, but then LoSeS hIs MiNd, leading to tragedy and tapestry. The story itself is pretty creepy and open to multiple interpretations (as evidenced by the question mark I put next to the 'animated mannequin' statement. That whole section is a bit fuzzy), but the script constantly forces the characters to make expository comments that nobody would ever make (ex. "Stop, Nate! You're pushing me towards a railing! There's people down there! They're looking up at us!"), the acting is terrible, and the music isn't nearly as inventive as The Residents are capable of. Remember "My Humps"? That was a great song.

Let's address the acting first, since it's this facet that buries the project right from the get-go. Gerri Lawler is fine as Clair, but she's only in it for a few minutes at the beginning and end. The real culprit is Corey Rosen, who portrays Nate as a nerdy, unlikeable wimp who cannot sing and over-emotes every line as he reads it off a piece of paper. The Residents' Singer should have played this role himself; his excellent River Of Crime and Tweedles! readings proved that he has the dramatic range and skill to pull off this sort of difficult role (and it is a difficult role, far too complex for Rosen) (as well as me, incidentally. I would have stunk at it too). Maybe he was afraid he'd sound too old for the part? Whatever the case, I maintain that the casting of Rosen was a mistake. As the primary voice of the project, he makes the entire affair sound like an amateur production. Somebody go on Wikipedia and change his entry to "the worst person ever." No no - send out a MySpace Bulletin entitled "Corey Rosen's a asshole." And then post a quiz.

But hey, don't blame it all on Corey Rosen like I just did! Equally at fault for this project's shortcomings are The Residents themselves. I guess they "shot their wad" on Tweedles! or "blew their goo" on Animal Lover or "came" on Demons Dance Alone or something, because there is just nothing going on here musically. There's almost no memorable melody, The Residents' Singer hoarsely whispers all his vocals through a trebly sleigh bell effect, and far too much space is handed over to guitarist Nolan Cook, who (unusually, compared to his previous work with the Residents) just dicks around playing ugly solos the whole time. Carla Fabrizio's strings are fine, but who buys an album for strings? Come on you buy a box of string for that.

But you know The Residents, always wanting to try something different. This time they're essentially the back-up band for a high school musical. They provide some melodic passages every once in a while -- "The Telescope" has a catchy three-chord motif, and there's a great eerie keyboard segment near the end of "Seven Cats" -- but mostly seem content to sit in the background and toss out some sound effects or a guitar solo every once in a while. But come on, this album's been out for two weeks - where's the NEW Residents album already? Get on the stick, you lazy pieces of crap!

Mmmm. I could sure go for a piece of crap on a stick right about now.

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RMX - iTunes 2007
Rating = 8

Last night I enjoyed a hearty live performance by Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine. In a 100-minute set, they performed The Audacity of Hype in its entirety, three new songs ("Victory Stinks," "Dot Com Monte Carlo," "The Cells That Will Not Die") and five Dead Kennedys classics ("California Uber Alles," "Let's Lynch The Landlord," "Police Truck," "Holiday In Cambodia," "Bleed For Me"). I enjoyed the tiddlywinks out of it! Jello may be 50 pounds heavier than when you last saw him, but he's still the King -- if not the only practitioner -- of punk mime. Half the time you can't tell what the hell he's pretending to do, but I managed to decipher a few of his charades and will share them with you now:

- He shot himself through the head during two different songs ("Victory Stinks" and "Holiday In Cambodia")
- In the middle of "Bleed For Me," he imitated the famous Abu Ghraib photo of a hooded fellow holding his arms out to the sides
- At the beginning of "Let's Lynch The Landlord," he impersonated a fat(ter) landlord approaching a tenant's door, pounding on it, and yelling while pointing at the rent notice in his hand
- During the intro to "New Feudalism," he signed some checks and dropped them in a mailbox
- In "Clean As A Thistle," he made a shocking motion suggesting a gigantic erection
- Most impressively of all, "Electronic Plantation" began with a lengthy exercise that found him typing manically on a keyboard, wiping the sweat from his brow, typing manically some more, checking his watch, making an 'I can't believe it's still this early!' face, picking up the keyboard, breaking it over his knee, picking up his monitor, moving it over to the windowsill and pushing it out

He also entertained the crowd with his patented time-consuming brand of liberal commentary, largely regarding his disappointment in President Obama. The Right of course got theirs too, in bitter observations like "...a half-assed health plan that barely fixes the problem, and they're acting like it's Armageddon!" But he saved his most telling commentary for the show's conclusion, when he politely asked the Slam Dance Pit if they could look for one of his prescription earplugs, which had fallen out when he crowd surfed during "Holiday In Cambodia." "They're expensive as shit!" he added in a desparate plea to help the poor.

Say what you like about Jello "Fatty Arbuckle" Biafra, but he put on an extremely energetic show and it was a gasser to hear some of my favorite Dead Kennedys songs performed live in their original warbly voice. This is a Residents album review.

RMX is kind of a misleading title because it makes it sound like a shitty Al Jourgenson moneygrab of swishy noises. Instead, it's a compilation of songs "previously released by The Residents on their MySpace site, the short-lived Vomitorious Downloads section of the 'Bog,' the Baby Skeletons 12-inch and as extras from the River of Crime download series." Well I don't know about all that, but this is a bunch of great reworkings of already great songs from Our Finest Flowers, Duck Stab, Stars & Hank Forever, Icky Flix, Freak Show, Title In Limbo, Residue of the Residents, The Warner Brothers Album and It's A Man's Man's Man's World, as well as a wiggly rubber band song called "Teddy" and a "We Are The World" copyright infringement entitled "Just For You." You will find many different synthesizer tones on here, some of which are downright funny-sounding.

The only remix that reaches a Jourgenson level of pointlessness is "The Sleeper," which simply filters the original recording through an annoying headachy trebly high-pitched electronic filter. The others seem solid enough, but I honestly haven't internalized the Residents' discography enough to tell you whether or not they are radical departures from the versions you already know. As such, consider this a Collector's Item Only. But a very good one!

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Smell My Picture - Ralph America 2008
Rating = 7

As the one-time author of "Snort My Jiggler," a top-selling record by Atlanta's posthumous Low-Maintenance Perennials, I heartily endorse the sentence construction "(Verb Related to a Nasal Activity) My (Word Ending in an 'R' Sound)." In fact, for generations I've lobbied for a Constitutional Amendment that would require all musical composers to draft at least one track with a title formatted thusly.

Examples may include:

- "Sniff My Lawnmower" by Pearl Jam

- "Experience The Odor Of My Grandmother" by James Taylor

- "Inhale (Through The Nose) My Bacon Cheeseburger" by Enya

Unfortunately the liberal media has launched a series of vindictive personal attacks to keep my Constitutional Amendment from earning the respect and passitude it deserves. I guess it's true what they say: "You can put lipstick on a pig, but I'm pretty sure it's still illegal to fuck it in the ass."

Smell My Picture may be the greatest evidence yet that The Residents are on a hot quality streak the likes of which they haven't experienced since the '70s. Though comprised entirely of instrumental outtakes, these 18 tracks showcase an astonishing amount of musical innovation -- and some great tunes! Keyboards, guitars, sound effects and world music instruments overlap and intertwine to create unique pieces of music that range from bizarre to brilliant to exotic to ugly to eerie to lovely to boring to jazzy to rhythmic to hooky to OH NO OUT OF SPACE HAVE TO START NEW PARAGRAPH

The interesting thing about OH NO OUT OF SPACE AGAIN

Built from songs that didn't quite 'cut the mustard' for River Of Crime, Tweedles and The Voice Of Midnight, Smell My Picture invites the question, "Say, why didn't you use any of this stuff on The Voice Of Midnight instead of the reeking stool you flung around like a chimpanzee on that piece of butt bacon?"

Speaking of disgusting turns-of-phrase, here's a little joke I'll hopefully make up before I get to it:

Q. Why couldn't the gay baseball pitcher smell The Residents' picture?
A. Because he had a nose full of ball hairs!

Nope, didn't make it. FIE ON YOU, TARDY JOKE MUSE!

Although not every selection is a must-hear ("In An Ugly Mood" certainly lives up to its name, for example), I'd say a full half of them are as compositionally smart and sonically fascinating as any of the songs chosen in their stead for official release. And this is no one-person diddly-doo Night Of The Hunters amateur night fiddly-foo either: these are fully completed full-band performances, with all sorts of instrumental interplay and pile-up going on. Yes, from the gypsy violin, dramatic BRAMPS! and tape suckling effects of "Pardon Me" to the Secret Chiefs 3 international exotica of "Twilight Zone" to the horns, pianos, vibes, violins, car crash noise and cheering of "Jam On Sunday Afternoon" to the funky Tuff-Rock of "Pass The Peanuts" to the Chinese/Japanese 'Ah so!' orient of "Moose" to the crispy craspy keys and vocoder riffs of "Radio Drama" to the screwball melody with goofy bubbly noise of "Bourbon Street" to the woman saying 'Smell My Picture' of "Smell My Picture" to the soulful guitar licks and pulsating dance beat of "Guitar Picnic" to the TOO MUCH SPACE KEEP GOING shit

Essentially, if you're a fan of their recent material, you gots to find this thing and you gots to buy it. In fact, it'd probably be good to go into every record store in the world, saying "Do you gots (enter album title here)? Because I gots to buy it!" In time, the word 'have' will be replaced by 'gots' in the English vernacular (ex: "Do you take this woman to gots and to hold?") and the share price of Gots Incorporated will go sky high. Invest now!

Dave Fuckleberry
Senior Sales Manager
Gots Incorporated
"'Cause you don't gots NUTTIN' if you don't Gots Incorporated!"

Steve McFuckyourself
Senior Sales Associate
Nuttin' Ltd.
"'Cause when you're nuttin' some broad, there's nuttin' like a good bar of soap up your ass!"

Reader Comments (Sickboy)
"You can put lipstick on a pig, but I'm pretty sure it's still illegal to fuck it in the ass"
That made me piss my pants.
No, no, laughing!

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The Bunny Boy - Santa Dog/Mute 2008
Rating = 8

Hi, I'm Mark Brindle. You know, when I'm not directing North Devon Surf History, a short documentary of the surf history for the North Devon region of the U.K., I like to 'Hang Ten' with a good Residents album. So go grab your 'Woodie,' because 'Surf's Up' and I've got 'Suntan Lotion On My Nose' because this new Residents CD is no 'Wipe Out'! Also, 'Waves' are c

Hi, I'm Mark Pringle. You know, when I'm not composing music for David Cronenberg and the Cinema of the Extreme, a brief BBC documentary that preceded a 1997 broadcast of Videodrome, I like to 'Crash' on the couch with a good Residents album. And I don't mean to give you the 'Shivers,' but this album's so great, it'll drive you 'Rabid'! So swat away 'The Fly,' 'Spider' and 'M. Butterfly' resting on your 'Stereo,' because these songs are 'Dead Ringers' for some of the best Residents tracks ever recorded! Also, thank your wife for the 'Naked Lunch' and please accept my apo

Hi, I'm Mark Grindle. You know, when I'm not serving as miscellaneous crew for The Princess Stallion, a 1997 British TV movie about an illusory horse, I like to hop in the 'Saddle' with a good Residents album. So 'Gallop' on down to your local record salesman, and 'Whinny' (when he) opens up, 'Hoof' it to the Residents section because this CD is a 'Sugar Cube'! Also, it'll 'Throw You Off Its Back And Trample You To Death,' but I don't mean that to sc

Hi, I'm Mark W. Hindle. You know, when I'm not serving in the camera and electrical department for Mean Girls, I like to fantasize about murdering Lindsay Lohan. So 'Strangle' your worries and 'Cover In Gasoline And Throw A Lit Match At' your concerns, because this new Residents album is a 'Hanging Made To Look Like A Suicide'! Also, 'Cauterize Her Eyes Shut' because the bitc

Hi, I'm Mark Prindle. You know, when I'm not dicking around on, I like to write reviews of boisterous new releases. And The Bunny Boy is as boisterous as a baby bouncing a ball on his bugle!

The story this time apparently involves a character, the 'Bunny Boy,' who sets out looking for his missing brother and winds up having all types of big adventures. Now I didn't go to any fancy school so I don't know about all that, but I tell you one thing: The Bunny Boy is an absolute return-to-form after the dire Voice Of Midnight, continuing the astonishing comeback trail that these men have been on since Wormwood hit the stands a full decade ago.

First, let's address one of the band's own comments about the record: "A sonic roller coaster in the style of Duck Stab, The Commercial Album and Demons Dance Alone, the album features 19 fast paced songs." This statement confused the daylights out of me when I first read it because am I nuts a-jigglin' or do the wrong-sounding, off-kilter Duck Stab and The Commercial Album not sound EVEN A LITTLE BIT like the straightforward, sorrowful Demons Dance Alone? As it turns out, this description is perfect; The Bunny Boy's songsmancraftship encompasses both their original weirdo avant-garde sense of anti-melody and their newer 'normal but melancholy' approach. And as for '19 fast-paced songs,' these aren't exactly grindcore-speed so I assume what they mean is that the songs are brief. This is indeed true; only two songs exceed 2:40!

The musical elements include King Crimsony noise-distorted guitar, drums, synths, keyboards, vibes, violins and pianos -- and it's not always easy to tell which is which. Compounding this delightful problem is the overabundance of synthesizer tones, washes and runs, ranging from gamelan repetition/interplay to corny mid-'80s r'n'b tone to Pete Townshendy futuristic fuzz-bleeping. The song arrangements are surprisingly dynamic, with each track changing and building quite the sizable bit in its limited time on Earth. The lyrics (and often the music) are creepy, odd, crazy, off and insane -- quick little bits of madness sung (not simply narrated, for a change) by our favorite Southern-drawled vocalist.

What makes it so good? Honestly, everything. The melodies, arrangements and lyrics work together towards an intelligent and compellingly macabre end. Musically, they tear through an entire lifetime's worth of sounds and styles -- Tom Waits tribal shuffling, cheerful pop jaunts, music boxes, gamelans, industrial clanking, electronic dance beats, heavy metal, classical violin orchestration, corny jazz-pop, random guitar racket and noise, warm relaxed piano melody, cold gothy minimalism, Phillip Glass glissandos, morbid carnival music, church bells, harmony singing and much, many mores. If a song starts happily, it will end disturbingly. If it starts pretty, it will turn ugly. If it starts quietly, it will undergo a 20-fold increase in intensity. If it starts predictably, it will change style and instrumention 5-10 times before it ends. In short, The Bunny Boy may be musically dark, lyrically obtuse and at times unlistenably ugly, but one thing it's not is half-assed. The Residents and their musical guests clearly put a lot of thought and effort into making these songs as replayable as possible.

Notably disturbing subject matter includes:
- "Boxes full of Armageddon, boxes full of death"
- A five-year-old girl that only draws pictures of "fear, terror, panic and doom"
- A delirious fever dream about a ping-pong ball
- A young man who proudly sing-songs, "I'd like to be a butcher...Why doesn't everybody want to be a butcher?"
- The rabbit motif deteriorating from a cheerful "I love the rabbits and I know the rabbits love me!" to a discomforting "I told him I like bunnies, then he went away" and finally to a cold, emotionless "There's blood on the bunny."
- A great way to murder one's brother (duct taping a vacuum hose to his mouth and turning it on)
- The ultimate conclusion that "The black is behind everything."

A few of the passages are simply too aurally unpleasant to love, and (perversely enough) the title track is a godawful pig trough of negativity and improvisational noise, but those are absolutely the only complaints I can make about this smart, ambitious collection of stories, songs and sickness. Way to go, Residents! Hey George Bush, welcome to our Residents -- notice there's no P in them!!!!!

Somebody make an editorial cartoon out of that. And have a little guy in the lower corner adding, "Talk about a shallow candidate ool!"

Reader Comments
"- The rabbit motif deteriorating from a cheerful "I love the rabbits and I know the rabbits love me!" to a discomforting "I told him I like bunnies, then he went away" and finally to a cold, emotionless "There's blood on the bunny."

I have yet to hear this but I'm certainly looking forward to it.

I quote above, wondering if it's an acknowlegement or, at least, an echo, of the fantastic collaboration of the residents and Renaldo + the Loaf's "Title in Limbo"? Specifically, the song "Monkey and Bunny"

And why isn't there a Renaldo + The Loaf page? They only put out four albums, and they're definitely not recording anything new, damn it all. So I'm curious about your thoughts on the whole RaTL thing, but get to the Descendents first... or what ever your whim dictates... I said "dic" (heh)

Love the reviews, for long time, Sir Prindle (The queen mum did knight you, right?)

Also, the wife is quite quick witted as evidenced by the conversational exchange shown on the new Lou Reed review. A tip of the hat (and chuckles a-plenty) to her for that'un. I mean, c'mon! She just woke up, and came up with that "fish/school" gem! Fan-fucking-tastic!
I've given up on them. I hate their $20 Casio keyboard sound (you call it 'normal but melancholy') and they haven't done anything interesting since they gave up on the American Composer series. This album only roped me in due to the supposed Duck Stab reference.

Well, this is still 90% their recent boring sound with a little bit of life thrown in the mix. Comparing it to Duck Stab is like comparing Sarah Palin to Margaret Thatcher.

The only song that raises above the boredom is "What If It's True". This song has some actual energy and guitar riff.

This is the best thing they have put out in 20 years, but not by much.
The problem here is it sounds like a fucked up Britney Spears album, complete with auto-tune. It wants to rock but that damn keyboard and mister stupid is all over the place. It would be such a total win if like Built to Spill re-recorded it as a guitar album. It would be bad ass if anyone but the weirdo Residents recorded it. But this is no Demon's Dance Alone. That is one of the best albums of the two-thousands...absolutely. Sparse, emotional, beautiful, and featuring Molly Harvey. What a fucking landmark that album was. It's so good it makes my eyes burn. But if the Resident's want to get upbeat, these are the wrong instruments. That Resident's man is a damn tragedy. If you want to rock, then ROCK...ROCK DAMN IT. Make a guitar album!!!! Is this a 'fuck you' album, with some deeper point? I don't think so, and it didn't really nail any points. People wonder why they such have psychological and emotional problems, it's this facebook shit. Does it make you feel less lonely? Maybe that was the point of his Bunny Boy Youtube videos. The faker the culture, the more disconnected the people are. But I wonder if mister weirdo resident is just as driven by vanity as the rest of us

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Postcards From Patmos - Santa Dog/Ralph America 2008
Rating = 3

If you enjoy receiving postcards from assholes, then you'll love Postcards From Patmos! On this tedious and repetitive ambient CD, The Residents dust off their old analog synths for apparently no reason but to outbore Brian Eno. What begins as a very cool and brooding mood piece comprising heavy bass tones, bells, chimes, drones, wind, rain and high-pitched notes soon reveals itself to be 56 minutes long.

Apparently the problem is that these pieces were never intended to be listened to as standalone 'songs.' They were created as incidental music for the Bunny Boy Internet series. And is correct in calling the music "abstract and moody." Other potential qualifiers might include "excruciatingly boring," "complete shit" and "the same noises over and over and over."

Here are just a few of the soul-eroding sounds you'll grow to loathe during your miserable stay here at Postcards At Patmos:

- Sirens
- Indecipherable speech
- Train bells
- Car engines
- Dripping water
- Ringing telephones
- White noise
- Crickets
- Thunder
- Signal noise
- Barnyard noises
- Random notes
- Chirping birds
- Metallic clinking
- Swizzly electronics
- Water drums
- Clicking percussion
- Incredible melodies you'll cherish forever

Ha! Just fibbing your ribs with that last one. No, there are no hooks here -- just buckets of foreboding "a storm's a-brewin'" ambience. At one point in "Cold Metal Strikes A Soldier's Bible," a bugle plays "Taps," but that's about it as far as actual music goes.

It's 3:15 AM and I'm too tired to be funny, so here are some bawdy adult jokes:

What's the difference between Paul McCartney and a cucumber?
McCartney sang "Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da" and a cucumber will have your wife screaming "Oh-Ya-Whee! Oh-Ya-AHHHHH!"

What's the difference between Jack Lord and a carrot?
Jack Lord was on "Hawaii 5-0" and a carrot will have your wife screaming "How are you? I'm OHHHHH!!!!"

What's the difference between Billy Carter and a fried egg?
Billy Carter was a drunken buffoon and a fried egg is what your wife will have after electrocuting herself with a dildo.

What's the difference between a squirrel and Ted Turner?
A squirrel buries his nuts in plain flora and Ted Turner buries his nuts in Jane Fonda!

Yes, there's nothing like a hilarious adult joke to help you enjoy your life as a 10-year-old. Here's to you, America!

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The Bridegroom Of Blood - Download Only 2008
Rating = 4

When Led Zeppelin recorded their hit single "Ramble On" way back in 1969, there's no way they could have known that The Residents would one day release a CD of songs in a genre that almost rhymes with it. At least that's the traditional wisdom. However, thanks to Jimmy Page's black magic, nothing could be further from the expected. Although no tapes exist, a guy heard it all through the studio window and memorized it. He told me, and here it is:

Bob Plant: "Hay, I wrote this song about The Hobbit because I'm six years old."

Jim Page: "That's great. Let's call it 'Ramble On.'"

John Baldwin: "Wait just a minute and hold on right there! Why should we listen to you and call it 'Ramble On'?? What have YOU ever done?"

John Bonham! John Henry Bonham: "I'm going down the pub."

Bob Plant: "Hay, I'm with John Baldwin. What does 'Ramble On' have to do with The Lord Of The Rings? I also wrote a song about Curious George Goes To The Hospital."

Jim Page: "Well, you see.... I was engaging with the powers of Black Magick last night, and they revealed to me that some time long in the future hence, a strange band of minstrels entitled The Residents shall release a work filled with 'Gamelan' music. And 'Ramble On' sort of rhymes with 'Gamelan.'"

John Baldwin: "Now wait just one goddamned minute! Are you telling me that this so-called 'The Residents Band' will release an entire album composed of Indonesian ensemble music, typically from the islands of Bali or Java, featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums and gongs, bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings? And do you expect me to believe that this record will be created in collaboration with Gamelan Sekar Jaya, a San Francisco Bay Area-based Balinese gamelan ensemble formed in 1979 that has been called 'the finest Balinese gamelan ensemble outside of Indonesia' by Indonesia's Tempo Magazine?"

John Bonham! John Henry Bonham: "Okay, I downed the pub."

Bob Plant: "Have you guys read Sideways Stories From Wayside School? I'm working on the chorus right now."

Jim Page: "My dear Sir Baldwin, I think you've got it. You've precisely nailed exactly what the Dark Overlords of Valhalla told me during the Black Mass yesterday eve. Are we then in agreeance on this song title?"

John Baldwin: "Am I talking to my DICK here!? You expect me to believe that just because your so-called 'The Residents Band and Chorale' plans to release a Gamelan record, that it's going to be any good!? For Christ's love on a carrot cake, check the evidence, man! You've heard 'I Hear Ya Got Religion'; it was only on Top Of The Pops like every week for a year! Do you honestly think this redneck gang of yahoos you call 'The Residents with Orchestra and Singers' is going to come up with Gamelan music that isn't overwhelmingly ugly, morose and boring?"

John Bonham! John Henry Bonham: "I've never in my life felt this drunk. I'd better have some quadruple vodkas to sober me up."

Bob Plant: "All this talk about Gamelans is making me thirsty! Could somebody make me a glass of milk with Strawberry Quik in it? YAAAAAAAAAY!"

Jim Page: "Tut, Lord Baldwin. You are ever so negative! My contacts in the Netherworld of Demonry assure me that The Residents' gamelan CD will mostly feature songs with which the band's fans will already be familiar: a single called "Santa Dog," a song from the Animal Lover CD, two versions of a song from the Wormwood CD, and a song from the Wormwood live show. The only unknown quantity will be an unused sketch entitled "Ninth Rain," which Lucifer and his fiery minions assure me will have already appeared on a compilation entitled anyway."

John Baldwin: "WHAT the FUCK do you THINK I AM, an IMBECILE!? First of all, I don't know what you're talking about when you say 'CD', but if it's some futuristic audio technology created from Cow Dung, then count me out! Secondly, just because they're gamelan versions of familiar songs, that doesn't mean they're any GOOD! Oh sure, 'Wormwood Gamelan Fillmore '98' might feature some fascinating interplay and group vocals, and 'Burn My Bones (Instrumental)' may surprise us all with its disconcerting buzz drone, foreboding acoustic guitar, angry gypsy melody and crazy bongo segment, but ten cents to the dollar the rest of the album variegates between bland and sickening!"

John Bonham! John Henry Bonham: "Hey, what's this in my mouth? Oh, I'm vomiting. Well, good night fellows! I'm going to bed."

Bob Plant: "Mr. Page? Can I write a song about 'Richie Rich'? Hee hee! He's so funny!"

Jim Page: "My dear King John of the Baldwin Dynasty, I fear that you may finally have me convinced. Perhaps I've been wrong to put all my faith into the powers of Evil and Deceit. I leave it to you then - what shall we call Bob's new song?"

John Baldwin: "Oh, I like 'Ramble On.' I thought we'd already agreed on that."

John Bonham! John Henry Bonham: (*dies of alcohol poisoning*) (*slowly, over the course of twelve years*)

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Ten Little Piggies: Tunes From Future Projects - MVD Audio 2009
Rating = 6

More like SIX Little Piggies, is you ask me! Heh heh. Actually, it's more like FOURTEEN Little Piggies if you look at how many songs are on the record, but don't do that. Because, in a crazy surge of craziness, The Residents have herein released a compilation of -- get this -- tracks from ten albums that -- get this -- haven't even come out yet! As such, I've done the same thing with the review, compiling it from sentences to be featured in my eventual reviews of these future projects.

Duck Stab Reimagined: " penis. And what's with all these re-recordings of old Duck Stab songs!? They used to sound like new wave -- now they sound like IDM and dub! I don't know. Weren't they good enough in the first place? This just isn't what the doctor ordered for lunch. WEIRD, sure - but mad unmelodic yo! Didn't The Residents learn anything from Still Cyco After All These Years?"

The Voice of Midnight: Instrumental: "...bag of poop. But what's with all these instrumental versions of Residents albums? Are there seriously people out there who like The Residents but NOT their ubiquitous hick singer? If so, why don't they find some other goddamned band to like!? He's the only element that gives them any humanity! The Residents would be in danger of sounding like a stuffy avant-garde German bunch of assholes without his lazy Southern drawl injecting the music with good ol' humor-flavored earthiness. Not that this particular project sounds avant-garde, per se. It's pretty much mainstream melodrama."

Strange Culture (OST): "...ass dildo. But if you like boredom, Strange Culture is for you. Drones, a couple of high echoey notes, some violin squeaks. I just described the entire album. You see, it's 'minimalist'. And it's no secret that 'minimalist' spelled backwards is 'tsilaminim,' which sounds like some medicine that would put you to sleep."

Arkansas: "Buy Arkansas"

Tweedles: Instrumental: "...-DUMBental, if you ask me! The whole point of Tweedles is the creepy narration. What kind of asshole would choose to have it removed!? Why not go listen to an instrumental Henry Rollins spoken word album while you're at it? Pricks."

The UGHS!: "...several of my FaceBook friends love this record. I think they're nuts..."

Talking Light: "...creepy new stories."

Hades: "I was instantly blown...Tickle Me...happy and ballpoint pen"

Haeckel's Tale (OST): "...Henry The Dog. In other news, The Residents were commissioned to write a score for this Showtime film, only to find their work rejected and called a 'fat asshole'. It's alright though, as far as soundtracks go. Eerie and mournful cries, church organs, buzzing noises, dark carnival music and classical string sections all make their nest in this bird of a tree."

The Bunny Boy Live: "...never find a job. But apparently The Residents are doing just fine, having recorded their 2008 tour as a special for French television. It was good in the studio, and it's good live. Wow. I am absolutely wowed by the 'wow' factor of this wowbum. (*passes a kidney stone shaped like the word 'wow'*)

Check this out! I just passed a kidney stone shaped like - What? Did the parentheses already tell you?"

Add your thoughts?

Hades - Download Only 2008
Rating = 7

As I lay the download on the turntable and the let the needle sink into the groove, I was instantly blown away by the arpeggiated diminished 7 chord with an added 9th, although actually I guess you could hear it as a C altered scale (C super locrian, 7th mode of Db Melodic Minor). Frankly, if you want to get technical, you could call it a Bb Lydian #2 (assuming the harmony is emphasizing Bb), but since it's a diminished 7 chord, any note could be the root and that added chromatic tone (C) could function as any scale tone. It could be the Maj 7 of a C# dim, the b13 of a E dim, or even the natural 11 of a G dim. Alternately, it could be the 5th mode, C phrygian dominant, since C7b9 is very closely related to Edim7 (C7b9 is Edim7 with a C added). Heck, if you want, you can look at it as a whole-half diminished scale in the keys of Bb, Db, E, or G, a half-whole diminished scale in the key of C, or as C Mixolydian b9. Then I listened closer and realized it was just a drumbeat and a bunch of swishy noises.

Hades was intended to serve as an aural art piece accompanying the launch of some Residents toys (Cabbage Patch Eskimo, Tickle Me Eyeball, Third Reich 'N Barbie), but delays and audio problems prevented it from being used. Still, I'm happy and enchanted to report that, regardless of its experimental/ambient nature, Hades is a "hell" of a good album!

Filled with gamelans, high-pitched electronics, blisteringly loud drumbeats, stringed instruments, synths, wind chimes, drones, feedback and straight-up noise, these five tracks swirl unpredictably back and forth between squealing Metal Machine Music oscillations, psychedelic racket, intriguing sample loops, and tiny portions of actual music. But why take my word for it? Here's what my ballpoint pen had to say about track two, the 13-minute "Cocytus River":

"clinking & clanky bells, gamelan, drums, GAMELAN, nice interplay! Then a big electronic beat and swirly noises. Then two clashing drumbeats, high pitch signal noise or something, low piano (maybe?) Then a cello or something overtakes the higher pitched noise, playing a somber little riff, then a high guitar (?) or something joins in for a descending riff. very cool! then electric ping-pong noises over washes of drone. then bendy acoustic stringed instrument over woozy drones - then a violin."

Admittedly all this haphazardry grows a bit familiar over the course of 45 minutes -- particularly as the same gamelan passages, wind chimes and thunder rumbles appear in multiple tracks -- but as far as 'ambient' music goes, this is about as dynamic and sonically fascinating as it gets!

Particularly in comparison to....

(scroll down past the "Add Your Thoughts?" bit)

(I realize the "Add Your Thoughts?" bit isn't dynamic and sonically fascinating either, but come on it's not even audio)

Add your thoughts?

The UGHS! - MVD Audio 2009
Rating = 4

According to, this material was intended as "loose, spontaneous music" that was later fashioned into Voice Of Midnight. But to my ears, it's corn!

Heh heh, little "ears of corn" joke for all the corn farmers out there, and the children of the corn farmers.

Heh heh, little "Children of the Corn" joke for all the Stephen King fans out there, including Tommy "Knockers" McBreasts.

Heh fs

The UGHS! sounds like Eskimo but set in the jungle, so why they didn't call it Jungle Person and give the songs titles like "Jungle Hysteria" and "The Jungle Hunt" I've no idea, though I guess the latter might've invited a lawsuit from Taito. The tracks are more noise collage than melody, driven by rhythmic loops and multiple layers of tribal drums, clanking metal, insect buzzing and twitting, nonsense chants, African percussion, odd blurts and squeaks, church bells, Jews' harp, rainfall, animal utterances, whistles, piercingly high-pitched signals, heartbeats, laughter, clanging pipes, babbling brooks, stomping, hollering, screeching, clinking, grotesque throat clearing, wisps, wiggles, throbs, chains, engines, didgeridoos, rubbery scrapes and thundering bowels, as well as (presumably to give it that 'actual music' feel) piano, horns, strings and guitar.

I'm all for doing something different -- heck, who do you think started the whole 'instead of wearing clothes, smear mayonnaise all over your dick and say you're a Martian' trend anyway? -- but I've no interest in feeling like I'm in the middle of the rain forest with a mosquito in every pore (except the 10 or so blocked by heroin needles). Sure, there are a few little pieces of music here and there -- actually, if you consider a repeated noise to be "music," then every single track has a melody or two -- but the record still basically sounds like a bunch of ambient jungle noise. In fact, it speaks volumes (loudnesses) that by far the most memorable and hooky piece of music on the record (a primitive stringed instrument and ocarina collaborating on a lovely peace melody) is used in two different tracks -- probably so the second time you hear it, you'll mistake it for a second hooky piece of music. I know these band people and their tricks. The magic rabbit and so forth. warns that some listeners may find this music 'startling and unpleasant.' And some of it very much is, at least if you're 36 years old with ears as ripped to shreds as mine. Thanks to decades of youthful music blasting and earplug-free concert attendance, I now find loud music (in bars, restaurants, even at shows!) unbearable. And that goes triple for high-pitched noises such as those found in "The Dancing Duck" and "In The Park." Why not set your goddamned infant on my turntable so I can listen to it scream for half an hour? That's not music -- it's hell on a stick! And so is this record.

GREEN Hell on a stick, that is!

I feel obligated to tell you that several of my FaceBook friends love this record. I think they're nuts, but I guess that's what I get for becoming a Fan of 'Planters'.


Oh wait, sorry. Eyebrows.

Add your thoughts?

Arkansas - Ralph 2009
Rating = 8


I love 'em. You love 'em. We ALL love 'em! They're eggs.

But society hates them. Society loathes eggs. Society passes around a hat for donations to destroy eggs. I don't know why society has adopted such an anti-egg stance. Is it the cholesterol? The yolk? Something sinister is afoot, and somehow, somewhere, society and eggs are involved.

So happy Easter everyone! Eat up, enjoy your eggs, and best of all -- color and hide your eggs! (and hair)

The Easter Bunny Boy

If you enjoyed The Bunny Boy (the Residents CD, not that 'Easter Bunny Boy' above) (that guy sucked), make a to-do list that includes the following entries:

- Buy Arkansas
- The Residents CD, not the state
- The state blows

The CD includes five Bunny Boy outtakes, three alternate arrangements of Bunny Boy songs, and two songs that were left off the album but featured in the touring show. And just like that fine record, these songs are melodic, odd and full-to-busting with different musical elements and vocals. Sometimes the songs are very ugly and atonal (and the high-pitched back-up vocals wear a bit thin), but they're always interesting and dynamic, with content-rich arrangements that just keep changing!

Gamelans galore merge with rock instruments and bizarre synthesizers for a cacophony of delight that will surely leave you wondering, "How on Earth did these songs wind up as outtakes!?" Highlights include: the sick carnival keyboard and screaming screeching climax of "Nobody Is Listening" ("He's gone! My brother disappeared!"); the bubbly sparkling synths and harmonic angel voices of "Memories For Sale"; the Radiohead-meets-Pete-Townshend emotional electronic pulse of "Sad Saint John"; the Devo-beats-Spike-Jones calamity of sci-fi synths, distorted guitar, stream engine, slide whistle and overall fucked-up weirdness that is "Two Clown Paintings"; and the gorgeously dramatic coda of slide guitars, wah guitars, western twang guitars and guitars guitars guitars that wind up the disc with "Circe."

If you've read to this point and still don't own this CD, stick an egg up your ass because you're obviously Society.

Speaking of which, I read something interesting on the Internet recently. Check this out:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again

Did you ever notice that the rhyme doesn't say anything at all about Humpty being an egg? That's because he ISN'T! Some book illustrator in ye olden times drew him as an egg and it just stuck. Humpty is in fact a man. Probably a very sexy man too, from the sounds of it.

"Hump her and dump her - that's my motto!" - Humpty Dumpty, sexy man

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Chicken Scratching With The Residents EP - Download Only 2010
Rating = 5

The Residents define "chicken scratching" as "frenetic, tense electronic music." And that's all fine and dandy like wine and candy with Tyne and Andy on Vine and Grandy except that only about THREE of these eight songs actually fit that description! The rest are just leftover keyboard instrumentals they hadn't released yet so they figured they'd ask you to give them money for it. Such is the life of an underground band: if you only have a handful of fans, you gotta rope as much revenue as possible from every one of them.

And that's all well and nice like gel and spice with Mel and 'Dice' on Bell and Rice to Prell and Fleiss near smell and lice wi

The eight tracks include the entrance music from the Bunny Boy live show, menu music from the Kettles Of Fish DVD and the title music from The Commercial DVD, along with a suite entitled "Waiting In The 503." Some of the keyboard instrumentals are fun, chintzy, hooky and adorable. Others are empty and boring incidental background nothings. A third, fitting neither category, is composed of industrial noise loops. But do you need it? That depends solely on the degree of your lust for kicks. Do you yearn to own every single sound ever recorded by one of The Residents pushing a button somewhere?

If so, send me $5000 and I'll send you a bunch of shit that I claim is 'rare, unreleased Residents.' My PayPal account is The 'rr' stands for 'rare Residents', so you know I'm legit!

Add your thoughts?

Ozan - Download Only 2010
Rating = 6

Ozan, look at my life; I'm a lot like you were. Yes, I too am 25 minutes long with 11 instrumental tracks from an abandoned 2009 Residents CD. But thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat's my life!

Neil Youngburger

The most interesting thing about these unfinished segments is the use of country-western instrumentation in several spots. The addition of fiddle, steel guitar and banjo to the usual Residents electronics, distorted guitar and disturbing mood is yet additional further indicative proof evidence that this band refuses to stop experimenting. Like a mad scientist building an electric man out of donuts, The Residents will not cease until they are the rulers of the WORLD!

However, being a bunch of incomplete scraps of this'n'that, the album doesn't hold up to repeat listens. The songs are too underdeveloped, and many of the melodies just aren't that strong or creative -- particularly compared to the highly original and deeply layered Bunny Boy material. The synth tones are certainly odd though and, again, the country-western accompaniment will make the unsuspecting Residents fan lift his eyebrows in sheer delight and delicacy.

Now here's a poem I wrote about a potato.

Tuberous crop, electric shock
She gives a lickin' that doesn't stop
She line 'em up, Push you 'round
Smokin' rings going round and round
That hot potato
Will elevate you
Her standing as the fourth world's largest food crop
Will leave you standing proud

Hard as a rock
Well, it's not quite as hard as a rock
Hard as a rock
Well, it's not quite as hard as a rock

"Lazy Al" Yankovic
Poet Laureate

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Talking Light: The Collection Of Downloads (New York, NY) - Download Only 2010
Rating = 6

When the Ringdings hit the road in January 2010, they said to themselves, "Hey, let's record all these shiznit shows and post them on the shiznernet so people will give us more shizzle." As such, at this exact moment, you can find SIXTEEN different Talking Light shows available for purchase on I chose the New York, NY show because it took place in my hometown.

LIE DETECTOR: You chose the New York, NY show because you got it for free off somebody's blog.

Granted. The concept of the Talking Light show is two-fold. The first is that The Residents -- now a mere trio -- come out dressed up as (strange-looking) people who go by the names "Randy," "Chuck" and "Bob" (drummer "Carlos" has recently left the band, we are told). This is one of the funniest postmodern ideas they've ever conceived: The Residents, an anonymous musical group, are now costumed not as eyeballs or skulls but as "The Residents," a non-anonymous musical group!

The second concept is that each concert (in addition to giving us lots of non-hits from yesteryear) revolves around four creepy new stories. Three of these -- "The Talking Light," "The Unseen Sister" and the multi-part "Mirror People" -- appear in every show, but the fourth is a crudshoot that can change any old time without warning. For example, the NYC show I'm reviewing featured "Leonard," but other stops on the tour replaced it with "Florence," "Milton," "Maggie," "Howard," "Mother" or "Pudding in Disguise." But enough about the Residents: I GOT A JOB!!!

Yes, after fifteen long and stressful months, somebody was finally intelligent enough to see the genius and drive of Mr. Mark Prindle. Hopefully I won't get fired after four days.

But back to The Residents: I GOT A JOB!!!

The show features one song each from Demons Dance Alone, Demons Dance Alone (Deluxe Edition), Stars & Hank Forever, Wormwood, Duck Stab, Animal Lover, Six Things To A Cycle, Gingerbread Man, Freak Show, Buckaroo Blues and The Big Bubble, and honestly most of them don't sound that great. Previous 2K+ Residents shows have sounded fantastic due to the number of musicians and singers onstage making it happen and seeing that dreams come alive, but with just three guys up there futzing around, the songs sound really empty. There are also several extremely ugly arrangements, often involving gross distorted vocals.

However, the new stories are creepy as a worm! Concerning (a) a dead baby, (b) an insane child, (c) an insane man, and (d) a perfectly stable and balanced man haunted by the ghost of his pet boa constrictor, these narrations more than make up for the fact that they are backed only by a few creepy chords and incidental noise. I'm hoping that the (supposedly) upcoming Talking Light CD compiles all the stories, because hearing these four certainly makes me want to hear the other six!

So if you decide to download one of the shows, pick one with a story other than "Leonard" and send me a copy. Perhaps I'll listen to it at my NEW JOB!!!

Now here are a few knock-knock jokes to end your week on a healthy today:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
I. Gotti
I. Gotti who?
I. Gotti JOB!!! ("I got a job!")

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Eye doctor
Eye doctor who?
Eye doctor JOB!!! ("I got a job!")

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Funnyman Kip Adotta
Funnyman Kip Adotta who?
Funnyman Kip Adotta JOB!!! ("Funnyman Kip, I got a job!")

Knock knock!
Who's there?
I got a
I got a who?
I got a take a dump! ("I got two tickets to the dump!")

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Dollar General - Download 2010
Rating = 5

All that stuff about getting a job in the last review - forget all that. Sometimes you think you have a job and it turns out to be a blow. My boss was a verbally abusive, disrespectful, micromanaging, screaming asshole and I only made it six weeks before telling him to "Take This Job And Shove It." In fact, I think I'll write a song about it. And call it "Take This Job And Go Fuck Yourself, You Fat Asshole Who Wears The Same Clothes Every Day."

This CD compiles instrumental pre-show music from the Talking Light tour. And since most bands leave their best material off their albums in order to play them while people are dicking around in the lobby, this can only bode well in every conceivable way.

Did somebody say "CONCEIVABLE"!? (*has sex*)

(*not really though, because my wife moved out six weeks ago*)

(*I'm lonely*)

This is drony ambient chimey tribal clangy space instrumental electronic music, with lots of echo and reverb on everything. Electronic bass notes, chimes, washes of ambient whooshes, clangs and aaahs render it somewhat Meat Beat Manifesto-y in places (for lack of any other electronic artist with whom I'm familiar), but there's too much ambience and not enough actual music. Some good rhythmic batches of noise can be found here, but if it's hit singles you're after, stick with Eskimo. (And purchase some hit singles.)

I feel very ugly. Couldn't my wife have left me while I was still attractive? Now I'm an ugly old bald wrinkly pile of shit that women would rather vomit on top of than hold hands with. Damn you, gigantic manly levels of testosterone.

Also, life is getting scary and uncertain. Thanks to the fickle nature of woman, I have to sell this apartment, move to Brooklyn, and somehow survive on my own without a job. But you know my motto - when life hands you lemons, piss in a glass, hand it to life and say "Look, lemonade."

Add your thoughts?

Chuck’s Ghost Music – Download 2011
Rating = 1

Between the years of 1980 and 1986, The Residents put out some of the greatest hardcore this nation has ever known. Beginning with the blistering anti-parent Commercial Album and continuing through the skinhead rage of Intermission EP and all the way up to 1986’s straight edge Stars & Hank Forever, the ‘dents were one of the true unassailable greats. But the less said about their post-hardcore work, the better. Between the lame hair metal of God in Three Persons, the toothless “alternative” rock of Have a Bad Day and the major label sell-out pop-punk of Tweedles!, it’s difficult to believe that they once stood alongside Black Flag, Dead Kennedys and the Misfits as the hardest of the core. And sadly, Chuck’s Ghost Music is no exception.

What happened to The ‘dents? They used to do so much to support the scene. I’d see them down at Kinko’s wearing their big eyeballs and Xeroxing a bunch of gnarly flyers to wheatpaste on telephone poles, or skateboarding with The Faction and Agression before an afternoon All Ages show. But not anymore. It seems that those days of punk rock community are long gone and it’s every man for himself, selling out his hardcore ideals just to cozy up to the businessman and his money. Chuck’s Ghost Music may revolve entirely around ambient bells, gongs, chimes, drones and tribal drums, but when I turn it on, all I can hear are cash registers going ‘Ch-ching!’ and the Residents depositing another million in their Swiss bank account.

The ‘dents used to mean everything to me and the scene. Between their Fucked Up Raygun zine and all the DIY shows they promoted at A8, they brought the whole thing together. If you weren’t there, you wouldn’t understand. And even if you were there, you were probably just a poseur living with your Mommy and Daddy in the suburbs. You certainly weren’t as there as I was. No, you were at home driving your Ferrari and eating fancy home-cooked meals prepared by your personal chef and served by a team of maids. Go listen to Blondie some more, poseur.

Better yet, pick up Chuck’s Ghost Music. This collection of boring ambient soundscapes, supposedly the soundtrack of some DVD, is probably right up your alley. You can play it in your yacht when your supermodel girlfriend gets tired of the new Van Halen album. You weren’t there.

Some of my greatest memories involve following the Residents’ mini-van around the country and watching them blow mainstream society’s minds everywhere they went. Whether opening for X in LA, MDC and DRI in SF, DI and TSOL in OC, JFA in AZ, GI and SOA in DC, DYS and SSD in MA, AOD in NJ, FOD in PA or DOA in BC, they blew the walls off of the stage and made new wave wimps like you cry home to Mommy in the suburbs. And notice I said "like you," not "you." Because "you" weren’t there.

See that dot at the top of this review? That single dot that means “worst ever”? That’s not my rating of Chuck’s Ghost Music; it’s my rating of YOU. For your failure to be there.

Remember that time the Residents singer took a dump on the stage and threw it across the room? Of course you don’t. You weren’t there. But I was. It landed on me. I started crying. It was the worst day of my life. Everybody laughing. Why weren’t you there?

I missed you so much.

Add your thoughts?

Lonely Teenager – Ralph 2011
Rating = 7

Howdy pard’ners! This here’s your ol’ buddy “Wild Mark” Prindle and it’s time for another rootin’ tootin’ hoedown of a record review! Today we’re gonna dig our spurs into the latest Residents cow patty, Lonely Teenager. So grab your ten-gallon hat and get along lil’ doggies!

So I was fucken this piece of wood with a hole in it the other day when a splinter s

Lonely teenagers. It seems like they’re everywhere - experiencing the pain of courtship, the sorrow of friendship, the excitement of Battleship. But once was a time you’d have to look nigh and far to find a lonely teenager. Because they didn’t exist. No sir, once was a time a kid went from 12 to 20 in half a second, it was weird suddenly ball hair spr

The normal business cycle calls for a band to record an album, then to tour in support of it. But if nothing else, The Residents love to experiment, often perversely defying convention. Consequently, during a time when little interest is being paid to CDs, the idea of developing a touring show without the restriction of promoting an album made perfect sense. This time the group could just play whatever they wanted instead of a predetermined show. It would be fun - and it was.

But after forty or so performances, The Residents started wondering: what would the album that "might have been" sound like? ...and they begin to imagine the fictitious album they would be supporting - had they actually recorded one. As usual with Randy, Chuck & Bob, imagination quickly leads to action, and, in a short time this action produced the curious Lonely Teenager.

Press Release Johnson

I’d like to thank Press Release Johnson for the last two paragraphs. He’s always been a friend, pal and buddy, and now’s no time to shun him just because he raped and murdered that little boy.

This album contains two songs from the Talking Light tour and six re-imaginings of earlier Residents tracks (one each from Duck Stab, The Bunny Boy, The Snakey Wake, The Gingerbread Man, Animal Lover and the deluxe edition of Demons Dance Alone). The mood is gloomy, creepy and disturbing. Although the musical accompaniment is mostly limited to droning synthesizer, crotchety lead guitar, intermittent tribal percussion and the occasional harmonica toot, the suffocating thickness of the tones keeps the songs from sounding too skeletal, even when there’s not much going on. Furthermore, the vocals are run through various distortion and pitch-manipulating effects for additional discombobulation.

There’s absolutely no reason for the minimalist “Six More Miles” to drag on for nine minutes, and if you’ve heard the non-musical stories “Talking Light” and “The Unseen Sister,” you certainly don’t need to hear them again here. But the older songs sound great in these doomy new versions – especially “The Old Woman,” who is given new and even more disturbing dialogue, an exceptionally bizarre vocal timbre and a grim backdrop that reeks of steadily-increasing insanity.

Lonely Teenager is not an essential Residents release, but it is a good one. This band knows how to wig a guy out, and guys with wigs are residents of houses.

Add your thoughts?

Coochie Brake - Ralph 2011
Rating = 6

Say what you will about how I destroyed the music business by illegally downloading every album ever recorded and emailing them to everybody in the world (including people without computers, for whom I printed out the MP3 files on a piece of paper), but you can't deny that it's had some strange and interesting effects on the way that music is released. Here, some examples might be necessary:

1. The Flaming Lips embark upon a ridiculous series of expensive limited release EPs, all packaged in Gummy Skulls or human bowels or whatever else they can drum up. All of the songs are immediately leaked onto the Internet, which was the band's intention in the first place. The pinnacle of these review-resistant releases is the 24-hour song "7 Skies H3," which in the pre-download world would've required a record company to greenlight an 18-disc box set. For one fucking song.

2. Ween leaks rare demos and unreleased tracks via MediaFire, symbolically ramming an iron fist up the nose of America's bootleggers.

3. Fugazi releases 400,000,000 live recordings at the same time, a feat previously reserved for such groundbreaking and essential artists as Pearl Jam and The Grateful Dead.

4. The Residents release roughly 20 albums in the five-year period between 2007 and 2011, mostly via download on their web site.

See? You should be thanking me for ruining the world economy.

Coochie Brake may be the least Residentsy Residents album ever recorded, for exactly one reason: the countrified hick singer is nowhere to be heard! Instead, they've brought aboard a Latino Hispanic man of some sort, who whispers, seethes and sings nearly all the lyrics in the mysterious Spanish tongue, an indecipherable dialect that has baffled linguists for centuries. At one point, he goes "Yo no se." What the hell does "Yo no se" mean? I don't know!!!

Coochie Brake is a rocky swampland in Louisiana (birthstate of The Residents) that, according to legend, once held jillions of dollars' worth of Spanish gold and silver. It was also a hideout for what I'm told were "infamous" outlaws, the West and Kimbrell clan. This is their story.

Presumably. I mean, the whole thing's in Spanish! For all I know, it's about a dog that loves grapefruit. That would explain the songs "Tied To a Cactus" and "Bitter Biter" at any rate.

Don't worry your pretty little brain though; musically, this is 100% Residents -- a collection of anxious, menacing melodies presented through a rich sonic palette of rock instruments, tribal percussion, weird drones, multi-toned synthesizers and rural acoustic ephemera. There are a few out-of-place happy passages, as well as a trio of underwritten perishables that value mood over melody ("Rot of Ages," "Tied to a Cactus," "Please Don't Go"), but more than half of the album is top-drawer Residents goodness -- strong underlying melodies anchored by bass, guitar, harp, banjo or something else entirely, coated in discombobulating noises, threatening tribal rhythms and eerie bells, chimes and electronics. And the songs grow as they go, slowly adding new riffs, sounds and instrumental tones until you can almost see the menacing alien landscape of Coochie Brake and its angry Spanish ghosts still searching the hills for their lost gold.

Don't worry too much about snagging the "Special Edition" though: "Lying Horse Rock" is a slow, dull instrumental, and "West & Kimbrell" is a fun but far too long combination of tribal chants and cheap electro-dance beats.

Now what's this I hear about you wanting to see some of my recent Facebook status updates? PLEASE NOTE: I've recently begun inserting tiny record micro-reviews on Facebook between my usual shitty jokes so, by popular request of one guy, I've included those here as well. However, I haven't separated the two types of updates, so remember: if it's not funny, it's a joke; if it's about music, it's a micro-review.

I love me thrash, I really do - really do - really do. So please allow me to recommend Annihilator's "Alice in Hell." I enjoy it, and so does America.

I love me NWOBHM, I really do - really do - really do. So please allow me to recommend Diamond Head's awesome "Lightning to the Nations" (also known as "White Album"). Metallica covered like 400 songs off of it. It's really strong.

I recently downloaded albums by nearly every band on Relapse Records and am slowly working my way through them. Bloodiest and Bodychoke sound good, but early Blood Duster is just awful. I listened to A-Bl a while back, so don't quiz me about those.

On the Relapse tip, I'm enjoying Breach's "Venom" at the moment. Not groundbreaking, but plenty heavy, pounding and shouty. They're from Sweden, and seemingly angry!

On the Relapse jib, I listened to the Circle of Animals CD last night. It was okay, but I turn to Relapse for SCORCHING IN-MY-FACE METAL, not pleasant industrial/rock/thingy.

On the Relapse pip, I'm now blaring my ears to Complete Failure's "Heal No Evil." It is extremely angry, screaming hardcore. Puts me in the mind of a cross between Born Against and the more straightforward Converge material. Definitely not intended as "fun" listening!

On the Relapse nip, I respect (the late) Chuck Schuldiner's drive to try something different, but I don't like this Control Denied crap at all!

On the Relapse pip, Convulse is a death metal band. I'm glad I was able to help you out.

On the topic of Relapse Records, good lord is Cough slow.

Tonight's Relapse Update: Criminal Element is a very heavy thrash band with NYHC vocals. As long as they keep up the speed up, they sound great. The midtempo songs have pinch harmonics and stuff though, and who needs that?

Relapse Survey Says: Culted is a doom metal band. Slow chords, hoarse screamy vocals and some evocative lead guitar every once in a while. I don't hate it one bit!

Relapse: Death Breath's "Let It Stink" is a fun, heavy and angry thrash EP. Two of the members used to be in Entombed, and they cover Discharge, Charged GBH and Bathory, as well as playing three original compositions. "Giving Head to the Dead" may be an awful song title, but the song kicks some arse!

Relapse: Windows Media Player refers to Daylight Dies as "Melodic Death Doom." I'd say it's more like "Melodic Black Metal Doom." Slow and heavy, but also sorrowful and full of depressed guitar leads. And screechy screamed vocals. If you're a goth looking for metal, try 'em maybe?

Newest Relapse listen: Deceased's "Fearless Undead Machines" is kinda goofy! The music tries to be really mean metal, but then they insert these ridiculous poetry-and-synth bits. Worst of all, the vocalist sounds like the guy in Venom! I cant believe that (a) this was the VERY FIRST band signed to Relapse, and (b) they sounded this ridiculous in 1997! I like it, but for all the wrong reasons.

Mark Prindle has 1969 Facebook friends, okay. All across the USA. Another Facebook friend for me and you. Another Facebook friend with nothing to do.

Hey! Some jackass unfriended me, leaving me with a mere 1968! What, am I supposed to quote that old "Atom Heart Mother" song now? I assure you THAT'S not gonna happen.

Now 1967.... Things aren't so good. My first friend was a hippy. Now he's a head of state.

Mark Prindle today ordered his own NEW CD copy of The Fall's "Ersatz G.B." So don't go accusing ME of destroying the record industry with downloading! (Please ignore those 400+ downloaded albums on my computer) (Oh, and the 2,000+ additional downloaded albums on discs in my dresser drawer) Because I SUPPORT my favorite artists!!!!

This web site literally has my entire office laughing so hard that tears are in our eyes:

I think what I like most about posting on Twitter is the way it allows you to really dig deep into your mind and spirit in order to share yo

Mark Prindle just watched the original "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark." SPOILER: She was correct in being afraid of the dark.

Mark Prindle the other night had yet another dream that led to me throwing a whirlwind of punches at my girlfriend while asleep. In the dream, I was walking into a high school restroom when an exiting bully punched me in the stomach. In response to his follow-up question, "You have anything to say about that?" I said, "Yeah, THIS!" and punched the daylights out of him. Unfortunately, he turned out to be my girlfriend, in real life.

Mark Prindle just watched "Assault! Jack the Ripper," a feel-good 1976 Japanese film about a man who murders women by stabbing them in the groin. You'd better reserve this on Netflix today, because I have a feeling it's going to be impossible to snag the closer we get to the holidays.

Mark Prindle last night dreamt I decided to review every Saturday Night Live episode ever aired, as if they were albums. After getting through four, I realized, "Oh hang on, this probably isn't a good idea considering I recently decided to concentrate on artists with small discographies." Then I went back to dreaming about missing the school bus, for the 400 thousandth time.

Could somebody please tell Jimmy Wales to get his gross photo off of Wikipedia? He looks like a degenerate vagrant who has just wet his pants.

Mark Prindle just watched "Curtains," a particularly boring slasher starring John Vernon and the music of Burton Cummings. Thank you, Burton Cummings, for the music.

I hereby declare all post-Danzig Misfits material "the worst garbage ever recorded."

Mark Prindle isn't exactly "Steve Norwegian Black Metal," but I must say I'm very fond of Ancient's "The Cainian Chronicle." It's just your basic Norwegian black metal, but I can't get the guitar lines out of my head! Supposedly they became just awful after this album though.

Mark Prindle must say he's quite fond of this new-fangled "Hot Snakes" band that broke up five years ago.

Mark Prindle is eating pizza at work. My co-worker Sarah just finished a slice and said, "And now it's time for number two!" which I felt was too much information.

Mark Prindle just watched "Cheerleader Camp." SPOILER: You know that character who, five minutes in, makes you think, "Hey, I bet that's the killer"? That's the killer.

Facebook thinks I may know Legs McNeil. I assure you I don't know Legs McNeil.

Kim Fowley!? Come on Facebook, I'd rather shoot myself in the face than know Kim Fowley.

Jim Rose!? Yes Facebook, it's 1994 and me and Jim Rose are just hangin' out giving each other piercings.

Mark Prindle just watched the original 1931 "Frankenstein." SPOILER: Everybody in the movie dies (in real life, between then and now).

Lately I've been thinking my meds aren't working because I always feel like crying. Turns out somebody replaced my monocle with an onion ring.

I miss Henry The Dog so much. This is much harder than I was expecting. It's been almost six weeks and I still haven't come to terms with the fact that I'll never see him again.

Happy Halloween everybody! I'm dressing as a man in a blue shirt.

I caught an anachronism in "Paranormal Activity 3" that I feel compelled to share with you: in videotape footage supposedly shot in 1988, the female protagonist sees her husband setting up a camera and says "Really?" in that annoying way that Saturday Night Live got everybody doing about ten years ago (and to this day). Shame on you, director of "Paranormal Activity 3." Now I know your film was sheer fantasy.

Mark Prindle last night dreamt of an amusement park entitled "Holocaust Museum." I couldn't believe they chose such an offensive name, which seemed to spit on the memories of the victims just for the sake of a cheap gag. Still, they had some great rides.

Mark Prindle just got a Scrabble with the word "venereal." The pride is overwhelming my apartment.

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