The artist collective and band The Residents is shrouded in mystery since their first official release in 1974. To this day, the members manage to work anonymously. They refuse to give interviews and appear in public in costume, often wearing eyeball helmets that have become their trademark.
After meeting in high school in Shreveport, Louisiana, in the early Sixties, the group began recording and making art; in 1966, they moved to California. Inspired by the avantgarde and pop, The Residents anticipated the idea of audio piracy and developed groundbreaking marketing strategies and multimedia projects.
42-minute mix introducing some of the band’s conceptional thematic compositions and deconstructions of Western popular music.
Featured cover art: The Residents – Meet The Residents (1974) / God In Three Persons (1988)
NB: Due to Mixcloud’s licensing policy, the mix is split into two parts.
The (Pre-)Residents – We Stole This Riff
The band’s second demo tape for Warner Bros. Records was titled Baby Sex and became infamous for showing a woman performing fellatio on a baby. It opens with a parody of Tim Buckley’s 1970 hit Down By The Borderline. (1971, New Ralph Too)
Residents, Uninc. – Aircraft Damage
As Residents, Uninc., the group released the double 7″ EP Santa Dog. Aircraft Damage contains a passage from their film Vileness Fats, in which an Indian princess is summoned by a chant. (1972, Ralph Records / RE: New Ralph Too)
The Residents – Spotted Pinto Queen
This previously unreleased outtake gives off the atmosphere of a somber farewell song and is radically different from the opulently weird original Spotted Pinto Bean that appeared on the band’s debut LP Meet The Residents, released on their own label. (1972-73, Ralph Records / RE: New Ralph Too)
The Residents – Soulful Sax
Made to have some fun when stuck with creating the complex concept album Eskimo, this is from a series with instrumental backing tracks, of which some eventually found their way into the 7” EP Duck Stab. (1977, New Ralph Too)
The Residents – Hello Skinny
From the Buster & Glen EP, released at a time when the band became successful among new wave aficionados. (1978, Ralph Records / RE: New Ralph Too)
The Residents – Walter Westinghouse
The mini-opera Walter Westinghouse is about primitive humanoids who are replaced by a new creature destined to rule the world just as poorly. (1976, Ralph Records / RE: New Ralph Too)
The Residents and Snakefinger – Plants
From a medley of children’s songs; realized with toy instruments provided generously by Toys-R-Us, Inc., so that the studio was about two feet under children’s toys during production. (1980, Ralph Records / RE: New Ralph Too)
The Residents – Middle East Dance (From ‘ICE2’)
With the concept album Eskimo, The Residents began to explore the realm of world music before it became popular. This approach also gave rise to excursions into other regions of the world such as Kenya, Scotland and the Middle East. (around 1980, New Ralph Too)
The Residents – Devotion?
From the rock opera God In Three Persons about a man who becomes the manager of a pair of conjoined twins with miraculous healing powers used to cure the masses. Performed again in 2020 at MoMA in NYC. (1988, Rykodisc)
The Residents – His Latest Flame
Having been exposed to Elvis Presley’s music from childhood in the Fifties, The Residents decided to dedicate an entire album to the King of Rock & Roll in 1989 when they explored the importance of Old West poetry and folk songs to much popular American music. (1989, Enigma)
The Residents – The New Hymn (Recessional)
From a 12″ with pre-recorded material that accompanied the band’s first tour project, the theatrical Mole Show about a conflict between two cultures – the leisure-minded, bland Chubs and the Moles who seek salvation in hard work. (1982, Ralph Records / RE: Klanggalerie)
The Residents – The Weatherman (feat. Molly Harvey)
Split into the parts Loss, Denial, and The Three Metaphors, the album Demons Dance Alone deals with the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11th 2001. The ballad The Weatherman is from the Loss section. (2002, Ralph America)