The Residents (1973)
In case you weren’t aware, the Residents killed rock music in 1973. That’s it. Everybody go home, we’re done here.
Okay, I know I already said that Frank Zappa pioneered parody rock and avant-garde noise. But these guys went SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO over-the-top with that notion that they broke into another level entirely and deserve special mention. To begin with, they’re an anti-band. Nobody knows who they are, to this day. They made up a mythology of creepy buffoonery in the liner notes to Meet the Residents. They perform (on rare occasions) wearing giant eyeball masks. They make incredibly grating, disturbing, psychotic art videos and music. They recently produced a box set that honest-to-God costs one million dollars. Their real first album went unreleased for decades and (technically) still remains so. They’ve made concept albums about Eskimos, the Bible, ancient mole civilizations and the fact that all pop music is a Nazi cult. They never actually sing or play instruments; it sounds more like a demented pervert rambling over a clatter of incredibly ugly tones. This is their debut album, which spits in the face of most musical rules and offers zero comfort or pleasure. And that’s the point. From then on, the boundaries of niche and avant-garde music were limitless.
Like I said, Meet the Residents destroyed music. Listen to it; it’s unlistenable. It’s so terrible, it’s great.
Key track: “N-Er-Gee Crisis Blues”
See also: Duck Stab/Buster And Glen – the Residents (1978)