Thursday, December 4, 2008

[Oxford American] The Residents - Virtually Anonymous

The 10th Annual Oxford American Southern Music Issue hits the stands any second now, featuring such luminaries as Greil Marcus, Jack Pendarvis, Peter Guralnick, Alan Light, Kevin Brockmeier, Jeff Sharlet, and, implausible in this august gathering, myself contributing a piece on The Residents.

A sample:

Shockingly positioned where their heads should be, the Residents hide behind giant eyeball masks. They dress in hats and coats with tails, formal and distant, better than you, but possibly also at your service. With a Dadaist disdain for easy logic, they have created some sixty albums over four decades of everything from creepy dispassionate chants over twisted rumbas to grand theatrical epics, with subject matter involving garbled fairy tales and the trampled detritus of popular culture. And despite a couple of world tours and two generations of devout and obsessive fans, the Residents remain virtually anonymous.

I would be just as excited about this issue were I not fortunate enough to be involved. The Oxford American is one of the finest magazines (still) around, and this oversize issue, the first of the Music annuals to come with a double CD, promises to be a new high in their already celebrated run. Due to the financial woes that have plagued the magazine over its history, the last being an embezzlement that nearly sank it for good, there is little marketing for the music issue. So I ask you if you love this rag like I do, please buy an issue and spread the word.

It's the kind of thing you do when you're cool, as The Residents and Conway Twitty point out in the video clip below:

On newsstands Dec. 5 or available online for $9.95

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