Listen Up: Xiu-Xiu Plays The Music of Twin Peaks, Streaming Now

Posted on May 25, 2016, 3:06 pm
5 mins

We may still have a long time to wait for the new season of Twin Peaks, as David Lynch continues to “grind the beans” to serve us some dark, dark brew. But we can get a taste of that bitter weirdness now, as noise-pop group Xiu Xiu are streaming their take on the series’ soundtrack.

There are few musical groups that I would trust to capture the spirit of Lynch in their own way. Xiu Xiu is kind of THE perfect fit, though. They are experimental, unbound by genres and unafraid to tread into dark territory. (Their track “Stupid in the Dark” is among my favorites from my video playlist for Halloween 2015. Go watch it if you don’t know it.) Australia’s Gallery of Modern Art knew their stuff when they commissioned Xiu Xiu to reinterpret the Twin Peaks soundtrack for their spring 2015 exhibition, David Lynch: Between Two Worlds. As it happens, the Xiu Xiu logo also merges beautifully with a simplified rendering of the Twin Peaks logo in a way that recalls the Owl Cave Symbol from the series. It was destiny.

One year (and one world tour) later, Xiu Xiu Plays The Music of Twin Peaks was released on Polyvinyl Records, and quickly sold out. A new pressing is being made for shipments in August. You can pre-order your copy, or buy the digital version online now. Plays The Music of Twin Peaks was produced by Jherek Bischoff (formerly of Seattle, now based in L.A.), who has his own new studio album coming out in July.

I presume, perhaps incorrectly, that if one likes Xiu Xiu, then one will be familiar with Lynch. (He kind of changed television forever when he and Mark Frost made Twin Peaks.) On the other hand, I imagine that some Lynch fans will be coming fresh to Xiu Xiu with this album…and they are in for the biggest treat, I think, as this is one of the band’s most melodious and accessible efforts. Xiu Xiu’s album is entirely their own interpretation, but the way they musically quote various themes and turn the lilt of the title song, “Falling,” into something truly tortured (25 years in limbo will do that to you) honors Lynch’s storytelling and the song’s original composer, Angelo Badalamenti.

You can listen to most of the tracks on the Polyvinyl Records site and stream it on music services, but a week ago the band also made the album available on YouTube. I’m embedding it below, but I’m also embedding “Falling” separately, just because it’s so perfect and gets me SO EXCITED for the new season. This atmosphere is just what I was hoping for: consistent with the past, strangely hopeful in the darkness, but irrevocably altered and stripped of its innocence. Yes, yes, yes.

“Falling” is track 10 of 12 on the album, and is followed by an angsty interpretation of the “Love Theme,” which was already haunting and melancholy to start. The breathy woodwinds playing in a quiet room are now needle sharp synths puncturing a haze of wailing noise, or just bubbling beneath its surface.

That’s really the end of the music in so many ways. But the album ends with the track “Josie’s Past,” in which a reading from Laura Palmer‘s diary is heard over a jumble of disturbed noises and voices. The female voices squeaks in an almost unhinged way about the abuses suffered under…you know who.

I realize that for those who aren’t familiar with Twin Peaks, that sentence means nothing. And for your sake I will say no more except GET OFF OF THIS PAGE NOW AND GO WATCH THE SERIES.

As for the rest of us, I think I speak for everyone when I tell David Lynch, GRIND THOSE BEANS FASTER AND GIVE US THAT DARK, DARK BREW.

Listen to Xiu Xiu Plays The Music of Twin Peaks below.


T.s. Flock is a writer and arts critic based in Seattle and co-founder of Vanguard Seattle.

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