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

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Edward Ka-Spel - O'er a Shalabast'r Tyde Strolt Ay – Edward Ka-Spel records and releases two basic types of solo music, songs and experimental music (collages, found sounds, and electronics). O’er a Shalabast’r Tyde Strolt Ay is an amalgam of both...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover

Premier of New Echo Us Video

From the press release:

To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.

To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.

To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.

“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)

To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.

“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)

As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.



Print issues