Exposé Online banner

The Residents — Petting Zoo
(East Side Digital ESD 81662, 2002, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2003-02-01

Petting Zoo Cover art

This collection is billed as a collection of the Residents’ more “accessible” tracks. I think it’s safe to say this is not an attempt to grab mainstream mass appeal, for even at their most “ear friendly,” the anonymous pop deconstructors are a long shot from even the strangest of Top 40 bands. That being said, for anyone who believes in music beyond the confines of commercial radio, this provides a reasonable introduction to the Residents’ massive body of work. Sure, the vocals don’t sound like the R&B crooner-of-the-month, and the backing vocals don’t sound like reworked gospel tunes, but you’ve heard that before, and you’re looking for something different, right? Rest assured that you’ll get some of the classics like “Constantinople” and “Smelly Tongues” and “Hello Skinny” and more recent tracks like the “.Road” (live in studio) version of “God’s Magic Finger,” and “Betty’s Body” from 2002’s Demons Dance Alone. Hearing these tracks all brought together emphasizes something that may not always be apparent in the Residents’ music: they are really excellent songwriters. “Fire Fall” is a touching evocation of old age, rather like a Tom Waits song, and “The Aging Musician” is a sad portrait of star past his peak: “Maybe if I put a bullet in my brain, they’d remember me like Kurt Cobain, and the parasites on MTV would wipe their eyes and act like they knew me.” Long-time fans won’t need this CD, but others would do well to pick it up. ‘Nuff said.


Filed under: Archives, Issue 26, 2002 releases

Related artist(s): The Residents, Philip Charles Lithman (Snakefinger)

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Iron Kim Style - Iron Kim Style – It starts out with a loose groove and wah-wah trumpet, so the first impression is of electric Miles Davis, though with more guitar and no keyboards. Later, as more diverse elements show up, that...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues