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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Residents

The Mole Show Live At The Roxy, 1982

Review by Gary Hill

This, as you can probably gather, is a live album from 1982. The Residents are captured in all their weirdness and in fine form. Penn Jillette (yes, that Penn Jillette) serves as sort of a narrator between songs, or at least that's what you are supposed to believe. In fact, there is more to it. He gets more obnoxious as the concert goes on, eventually completely losing it, but that's all part of the show. It should be noted that I've reviewed this here as a retro review, but also as part of a new box set. I strongly recommend getting it that way.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at:

Track by Track Review
Voices of the Air
This comes in percussive and bass drives it. The vocal that joins makes me think of Yoko Ono. That holds it for a short time, but then the male vocal enters and we're taken on an intriguing ride. This is strange and quite electronic.
The Secret Seed
I love the cool electronic concepts of this piece.
This is just a short spoken introduction to the show.
The Ultimate Disaster
I love the dark, freaky concept this cut has in this live version. There is a lot of psychedelia at play here. The creepy circus music later is a great touch.
"Rather Flashy..."

Here we get another spoken bit.

God Of Darkness

Trippy sounds are on display here with a real weird science fiction vibe.

"Mole Style..."

Jillette is back out to continue the story.


A more purely proggy jam is on hand here. The vocals are low and a bit raw, but also so cool. The cut works through some changes as it moves forward. I particularly like the keyboard based movement around the half-way mark. It works out into some dramatic proggy stuff from there.

Another Land

This seems to come out of the previous cut, bringing some cool electronic prog elements along with some symphonic leanings.

"That's All We Need..."
Jillette is back here.
The New Machine
Electronic elements bring this into being. This is quite dynamic and theatrical.
"A Real Complicated Ending..."
Jillette is back here, and this is where the whole thing seems to go off the rails with a major rant that earns some parental advisories.
The Song of the Wild
Electronic textures bring this into being with a mellower, proggy arrangement. The cut grows out from there in style.
Final Confrontation
Coming out the previous track, this is an oddly infectious piece. It's a cool rocker that's decidedly proggy in a lot of ways. It works out to frantic, noisy craziness further down the road.
"We Had To Borrow Money From Our Parents..."
This is another skit bit. It's a crazed one, too. It earns another advisory.
Here we get The Residents doing The Rolling Stones. As you might guess, this is no "normal" cover, though. It's even more twisted and tweaked than DEVO's version - by a long shot. In fact, you'll likely have a hard time finding much of the song intact. There is some cool noisy guitar and a lot of twisted texture here.
Happy Home
Seeming to come out of the previous number, this has a decidedly keyboard based arrangement. As it drops to something more playful we get some Yoko Ono like vocals. This track makes its way along a strange and oddly compelling road.
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