I’d been aware of The Residents since my early teens – admiring the weird album art in record shops and catching the odd tantalising mention of their latest hi-jinks in the music press. It wasn’t until the late 1990s, however, that I heard my first Residents’ album – 1981’s Mark of the Mole. Despite being an admirer of the unusual, I really wasn’t sure what to make of it initially. It clanged; it clanked; it sounded like it was recorded in a cave under layers of filth. Occasionally, the playing was clumsy, childlike – albeit in a defiant, deliberate way – and that was both jarring and intriguing. There were also moments of epic, theatrical splendour; some insidiously addictive melodies; and an affecting commentary on humanity’s darkest tendencies. It was, above all, utterly unique. Suffice to say, very soon I was hooked and embarking on one of my life’s key journeys of musical discovery – greedily devouring a huge, constantly surprising back catalogue filled with bizarre yet perceptive storytelling, anarchic experimentation, compellingly surreal horror and, at times, great beauty. I still listen to them regularly and never tire of the multi-hued inventiveness that runs through their best albums.