17 February 2005

The Residents

Example


As a minor continuation from the last post The Residents are one of those bands that I like the idea of more than I like the sound. They've made some decent records but they tend to be intellectually crisp and dry; you wouldn't want to snuggle down with The Residents on a cold day.

The Residents - Love Me Tender


I guess what first attracted me was a picture in the now long dimmed light of Underground music magazine (circa 1988?). The Eyes have it. As a barely struggling indie wannabe ("Lets be, like, a cross between Big Black, Loop and, er, Nurse With Wound..." ) I liked the self confidence that exuded from them, as if they'd worked out long ago that the inner demons of plaguesuccess that snaffled most of their contempories (even the SPK guy had a go at pop before hawking around the Hollywood studios, dragging Brian Lustmord behind him)was simply never an option. They knew what they were about (cultish pisstaking and Frank Sidebottom brainballs) and they were going to stick at it, no matter what.

The Residents - A Spirit Steals a Child


They seemed to have honesty, an integrity which never tried to look too far into the future, never secretly imagined Grammy nominations or Brit Awards, never seemed to want more respect than the .5% of the population who willfully buy obscure and/or unlistenable records just to piss off the Duran Duran fans (I counted myself one of those - now I realise I quite liked Duran Duran, weird).

And so it turned out. They've been going for years and years and I'd guess they're probably no better known now than they were then. Something makes me perversely pleased about that.

The Residents - Harry the Head


The sad thing, though is that no one ever mentions them as influences even when you can hear Resident shards throughout bootlegging, electronica, The Go!Team etc etc... it could be auto-suggestion but aren't they due a little recognition? Perhaps they're too inconsistent, perhaps they've just been going too long (the jokes can only timestretch so far), perhaps they just lacked the inherent seriousness required of 'major' artists... even Negativland seem locked onto a coherent metaphysic / politic.

After all,the silliness in Throbbing Gristle is ignored in favour of a grey palette that perhaps suits personal recollections of the world before Punk. No one seems prepared to admit that innovators could be just pissing around with the Xerox machines and knackered electro-bits; everything has to have intent.

And what is the intent of The Residents? Where are they going with all this?

The Residents - The Walrus Hunt

6 comments:

the X said...

Completely agree about the Residents...they were one of those bands i got into because of their "alternative"/cultish aspect and me being a confused occult indie teen searching for different sounds, non-commercial artists and noise and doom...
in retrospect, they seem like one of those "joke"/prank bands that didn't know when it was about time for the joke to end...
i do think they're like a cabaret or kiss in a way: you like them because of their "subversive" appeal, the show, the spectacle, the costumes, but at their core they're just hollow, empty, substance-less...
(and what the fuck am i supposed to do with ALL their records on vinyl? -never even listened to them all!:-0
they're more a "phenomenon" than a band...

Loki said...

but you're still glad they're there, surely?

the X said...

-Yep, the world needs more Momus'es and Residents and Danielle's and the Knife's and Devo's and Vienna Vegetable Orchestras and Finnish Acid Folksters and Simon Finn'sters and cassette-noise-jazz-screech-sters and Batoh's and Ashra's and Ufomammuts and italian stoner-progster's and electronic buzz scientists and dubby dubsters and spoken wordists and screeching guitars tweaked thorough 14-year-old suburb kids' bedroom effects boxes...
-Fuck the music industry, let's make MUSIC! the kins has no clothes... get your speakers out and lets make some bass! :)
:D

kek-w said...

Amen to that, brother!

Re: The Residents: I think they started going down hill after The Commercial LP. By the Late Eighties they'd descended into Conceptual Self-Parody. But those first 3 LPs: Phew! Unbeatable stuff...

huncke said...

I like commercial album: It's great.. It's rivolutionary..
for his time...

come to hear my songs

leave a comment&suggestions

bye

huncke said...

yes
herbert huncke..
I like w.burroughs, I think he was the most charming/sincretics/modern beat generation's man: huncke was his official pusher, a very marginal figure. From drugs to poetry..
I don't know why I'm attracted to him..lonliness/understatement/grey mood..
I think that the photograph you can see, in my blog, could be the cover of an eventual CD-R..

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