The final release from the Residents' fan club label, this was a slim, vinyl-sleeve package, containing a 12 minute long revisiting of the song they've been revisiting every four years. It's both a step forward and a step back: the minimalist musings here offer some of the scariest sounding work they have done for years. On the other hand, a careful listen to the lyrics reveal a strange desire to set their now familiar surreal chorus of "Santa Dog's a Jesus Fetus" into a narrative context. The last two minutes of the piece turn from deathly to some sort of uplifting resolution.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
As mentioned in my previous post, this is the CD that was included in the hard bound version of the Freak Show comic book/graphic novel. Because it was limited just like the comic book the CD was later offered in the Ralph America catalogue for individual purchase. A nice little companion piece.
The Freak Show comic book from Dark Horse Comics features an impressive collection of artists, each illustrating one song from the album (with the exception of Kyle Baker who handles both the opening and closing songs and ties all the others together with his renditions of Tex the Barker). There is also a special limited to 1,000 copies hard-cover edition of the comic which included a 13-minute CD called Blowoff, inspired by the songs on the Freak Show album.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Just as the CD cover reads, this is the intermission music from The Residents Wormwood Tour. This mood music was designed specifically to be played during the break between acts of the shows. The music, which is one track over twenty minutes long is some very cool laid back trip/hip-hoppish beats and textures, overlaid, quite haphazardly at times, by some very old-sounding gospel records. This was in a limited release of only 1,000 copies.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The Residents For Presidents is a fairly well known bootleg release that was recorded live at The 13th Anniversary Show in (presumably) Bochum, Germany 1986. With Rez classics such as Hello Skinny, Constantinople, Smelly Tongues, Tourniquet Of Roses and It's A Man's Man's Man's World, fans can consider this set as a kind of live greatest hits package. The recording was released on vinyl only and has 18 songs which were stretched over two sides. The sound quality is well listenable for a bootleg. As a special note, Snakefinger is featured here and is in his top guitar form.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Technically the third album from the group, though released as a follow-up to Meet the Residents, this 40-minute assault on the music of the '60s follows Picasso's dictum of all artists killing their (aesthetic) fathers. Two side-long medleys of songs both classic ("Papa's Got a Brand New Bag") and obscure ("Telstar") are destroyed, deconstructed, mangled, spat on, spit out, ground up, and injected with gleeful humor. If there's any concept here, it's that the brain-numbing catchiness of pop music was fascism in disguise, keeping teenyboppers docile while selling them rebellion, hence the cover art of a gestapo-uniformed Dick Clark holding a carrot. Whether it's only much-suppressed love for these songs (as they went on to return again and again to the themes and artists examined here, including James Brown, "Land of 1000 Dances," and "Double Shot"), it's up to the listener to decide. Mostly any fan of the group will spend many hours trying to decode all the songs here, all the time with a smile on their face. (Officially, there are 29 songs, but there could be more).
Thursday, July 8, 2010
The story of the Talking Light piece is basically that of an older man who questions, not only decisions he made as a teenager, but also if the events he remembers from that time happened at all. "A dead infant clutching a ring with an inscription the teenager cannot read" is the stuff of dreams. The following stories in the show may or may not shed light on the inscription. Questions remain unanswered. The Residents study death, not as a horrific end, but as the ultimate question that we all ask while wondering if any of it is even real. This entry features the live Talking Light performance that The Residents played at Ancienne Belgique in Brussels, Belgium on April 28th 2010. It includes the video footage of that show split into four individual parts.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Assorted Secrets, in a shorter form than what is poted here, first appeared as a cassette only release in 1984. This was the period where The Residents were rather short on funds after the artistic success/financial disaster of the Mole Show and the archives were raided for anything that could fill the Cryptic coffers. What you hear here is the band trying to work out how to transfer their often complex, studio based works into an acceptable live format. Some of it sounds a little flat, some of it is absolutely fascinating. Festival Of Death is of particular interest, an attempt to play a large section of the Eskimo album almost note for note. It's quite astounding and a glimpse of what a live Eskimo might have been like before the Moles got all the action. Mark Of The Mole gets a good look in here, with the entire album being performed live in front of a small invited audience. The Residents purport to hate this one, while over the years fans have begged for its release. Are our heroes ashamed of the (technically) terrible playing on Smack Your Lips? Is it the various bumps, coughs and pieces of paper being rattled heard throughout these recordings that makes them cringe? Is it the complete drop out of sound at 1:41 on Call Of The wild that embarrasses them? Do we care about such minor blemishes? Of course not! The fans love it all the same and this is well worth a listen.
Friday, July 2, 2010
The Residents had long planned to produce a children's record -- of sorts. Goosebump is a collection of Mother Goose rhymes set to music with all of the "original sinister overtones" left in place. They teamed up with their long-time collaborator Snakefinger and recorded the songs using only musical instruments bought at Toys-R-Us. Although children's toys were used to produce the music, The Residents grown-up toys were used afterwards in the mixing of the recording.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
In the early 1990s MTV created an unusual TV series called Liquid Television. Liquid Television was a series of short (one- to ten-minute) "alternative" animated films which would appear between segments. One of the shorts was Henry Sellick's Slow Bob in the Lower Dimensions, for which The Residents wrote the music. The art directory was Ronald Davis, who had created the Cubo-Residents for the Cube-E tour, contributed a character story to Bad Day on the Midway, and did design work for Freak Show Live. In addition to airing on MTV in February, 1991, the animated film toured with Expanded Entertainment's International Tournée of Animation.