Ralphing on Ralph Records (RIP)

Gary Panter literally changed the face of music when he started designing for Ralph Records

Gary Panter literally changed the face of music when he started designing for Ralph Records

I’ve been on a bit of a Ralph Records kick lately. You know Ralph Records, those mutant madmen from San Francisco (via outer space?) who released much of The Residents‘ vaulted catalog, as well as Renaldo & the Loaf, SnakefingerMx-80, Tuxedomoon, and Yello‘s criminally underrated 1980 debut, Solid Pleasure.

It’s weird that I’ve been revisiting all these oddball releases of late, without even the slightest knowledge that Ralph, who have been in business since 1972, just announced yesterday they are throwing in the towel (the announcement on their homepage has since been changed to say “has no presence has no presents in the future” and the links into the catalog have been disabled.) Even weirder, and what brought back this little musical kick was seeing more and more old out of print Ralph releases in the used bins (including a pristine copy of Renaldo & the Loaf’s 1981 debut “Songs for Swining Larvae” which I had been looking for years to find.) It seems as if there ever was a time for a Ralph Records Renaissance, now would be that time.

So mutants of the world, are you still out there? What are your favorite Ralph Records?

My top three:

Yello Solid Pleasure

The Residents Duck Stab

Renaldo & the Loaf Songs For Swinging Larvae

Ralph Records, Rest in Peace (under a pile of slime!)