Exposé Online banner

Various Artists — Eyesore: A Stab at the Residents
(Vaccination VAC006, 1996, CD)

by Steve Robey, Published 1997-02-01

Eyesore: A Stab at the Residents Cover art

The Residents were, and still are, a band that is truly one of a kind. They were experimenting with sound fragments and executing twisted parodies of countless musical styles as far back as 1973, long before such a musical approach even had a name. As founders of the Ralph label, the Residents had an immeasurable influence on everyone from Fred Frith to Devo. And yet, they have still managed to maintain complete anonymity — their rare live performances (check out the Mole Show CD) were performed in eyeball-head costume, from behind a silk screen. That sort of detachment from the members' personalities leaves only the music itself as the measuring stick by which this band must be judged. Being a fan and knowing all of this, I was somewhat unsure about the veracity of a Residents tribute album. How could anyone duplicate that sort of twisted genius?

Actually, this tribute album works a surpirisingly high percentage of the time. It starts off great with "Mahogany Wood" (done by Only a Mother), which sounds frighteningly like the unfab four themselves. Most of the bands are unknown weirdo bands that obviously have taken in the Residents approach as the basis for the band itself. Some familiar names pop up, however, such as Primus ("Hello Skinny / Constantinople"; they have also recorded "Sinister Exaggerator" on one of their EPs), Snakefinger ("Smelly Tongues"), U Totem ("Sinister Exaggerator"), Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 ("Electrocutioner"), Amy Denio ("Act of Being Polite"), and even Cracker ("Blue Rosebuds").

Overall, this compilation does justice to the Residents' legacy, although I would have preferred a higher concentration on their 70s material, of which I am a big fan. Too often, the versions offered here sound too "nice" and could benefit from the edge the Residents themselves gave to their performances. Still, fans of the Residents may find a few thrills here. For those looking for an introduction, pick up the Residents' Hell! compilation on Rykodisc, or check out the Mole Show CD mentioned earlier.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 11, 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Charming Hostess, The Residents, U Totem, Amy Denio, Idiot Flesh, Various Artists, Philip Charles Lithman (Snakefinger), Frank Pahl

Latest news

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Pure Reason Revolution - The Dark Third – Pure Reason Revolution is part of a new breed of British Neo-progressive acts balancing neo-folk vocal phrases with familiar engaging art rock trappings. Led by guitarist Jon Courtney and bassist...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues