Three new CDs worth 15 stars from three bands that were born for Twin Peaks…
You may have heard:
When I first heard the big news, my mind instantly turned to the soundtrack. Twin Peaks probably made better use of music in establishing tension and context than anything in TV history to that time, with the liquid baritone twang of Vinnie Bell’s guitar and the ethereal beauty of Julee Cruise’s vocals striking the perfect counterpoint the seething evil loose in David Lynch and Mark Frost’s twisted narrative.
In a nutshell, it’s impossible to imagine Twin Peaks without composer Angelo Badalamenti. Knowing how Lynch likes to maintain continuity of personnel, even across different projects, there’s every likelihood that he’ll want to involve Badalamenti and the rest of these artists on the new series (although Bell is nearly 80 – I have no idea if he’s still up to it).
Nonetheless, the show is to be set in the present day, and that means it’s going to need some contemporary verve for the soundtrack. David Lynch, if you’re reading, I’ve got three bands that must be in the new project.
I’ve argued that pound for pound, The Raveonettes may be the best band in the world over the past decade or so. This year’s Pe’ahi is the seventh studio release in 11 years and the worst record in the bunch was probably a solid four stars.
They belong in the new Twin Peaks series for a lot of reasons, but chief among them is that they, like Lynch and Frost, love presenting us with beautiful sounds that belie the darkness of the subject matter. You’ll rarely hear a chirpier pop ditty than “Boys Who Rape Should All Be Destroyed,” for instance, and if you’re one of those listeners who blithely hums along to your favorite tunes without paying attention to the lyrics you’d perhaps be stunned by what’s really going on underneath the surface. Jamieson Cox nicely sums up “the Raveonettes’ basic proposition”: “simple pop songs and sweet melodies, coated in layers of malicious fuzz and laden with comically dark lyrics…”
Yep. Their music is noisy, dissonant, dark, funny, perverse, twisted, lush and utterly gorgeous. Pe’ahi is all these things and then some. Sune Rose Wagner dives deep here, kicking the festivities off with a song about the time he nearly died surfing in Maui, and over the next 36 minutes or so we address topics like death, family discord, alcoholism and walking in on your father in bed with a woman who isn’t your mother.
Pe’ahi is brilliant, even by Wagner and Sharin Foo’s lofty standards, and I can’t think of a band that does a more gripping job of being gorgeous and edgy and dark and gritty all at once.
Sound like something you could work with, Mr. Lynch?
The Bloofs new disc, At the Edge of Disaster, just dropped and they had their CD release party last night. I’d have given anything to be there, because this is one of the most sumptuous albums I’ve heard in forever. Every chord, every note, every word out of Kate Hinote’s lovely throat drips with dark, romantic foreboding. I’m pondering whether or not I think it’s even better than In Line With the Broken-Hearted, their 2011 masterpiece (which made my platinum list). That I’m even asking the question is huge praise.
Their sound can be hard to describe. I wrote about their place in the new wave of Americana in 2011, and guitarist Tony Hamera talks about their style and influences in ways that perhaps hint at the frustration artists doing something a little innovative have to feel when marketing themselves.
The only reason I give us the generic label of ‘Americana’ is because I really don’t think any of the more specific genre descriptions fit us – we have elements of country, surf, garage rock, psychedelic rock, etc., but none of those in and of themselves fit our style exclusively, so I just went with ‘Americana.’
This is all true of Disaster, to be sure. I hear songs like “I Can’t Let Go” and find myself thinking this is what Patsy Cline would be doing were she alive today. Hamera’s ringing, jangly guitars call to mind everything from Duane Eddy to Peter Buck, and the trippy title track that leads off the CD has this sultry neo-Spaghetti Western vibe – not only does Lynch need The Blueflowers in the new TP series, he needs to keep them in mind should he ever decide to reboot The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
I can’t say enough about Hinote’s work here. She’s been a riveting presence on everything the band has done, but on At the Edge of Disaster she pushes the noir chanteuse persona to 11. Her voice is pure velvet, a soft blue light infusing the smoky stage of every ’40 detective movie ever made. I hate to gush, folks, but she’s really that damned good.
Note to Mr. Lynch: The Blueflowers not only need a prominent spot on the soundtrack, they need to be in the film. If there isn’t a roadhouse scene with a band on stage, filling the night with love and loss and haunted romantic doom, I’m coming to Hollywood and hunting you down. This band needs to be on that stage. Maybe singing this song, now that I think of it.
The Lost Patrol
My third recommendation for you, David, is perhaps the most obvious of the three. Have a look at the profile blurb on their Ello page.
Neo-Dreampop-Rock RIYL: Cocteau Twins, Mazzy Star, Church, Raveonettes, Julee Cruise, Cramps, Siouxsie, Slowdive, Chris Isaak, Jesus & Mary Chain, Ennio Morricone & Angelo Badalamenti [emphasis added]
Yes, The Lost Patrol have very pointedly taken some cues from Twin Peaks, and their new CD, Chasing Shadows, makes the case for their inclusion in your new series from the very first note. I mean, just listen to the first 45 seconds of track 1, “Creeper.”
The truth is, TLP’s reverence for the Twin Peaks sound goes back as long as there has been a TLP, and I’ve written in the past about their cinematic “epic retro-futurist” vibe before. In fact, I even fantasized about them getting involved with Lynch back in 2011.
So if you imagine Midnight Matinee as Duane Eddy teaming up with Hope Sandoval, Jon Crosby and The Church to do a soundtrack for a new David Lynch Western Gothic epic starring Johnny Depp and a wrung-out Elisabeth Shue, with powerful supporting turns from Zooey Deschanel and Javier Bardem, you’re probably more or less on the right track.
At that point I wasn’t even dreaming about a new TP run, so you can imagine how long it took the idea to spring into my head once I heard the news.
There are a number of tunes on Chasing Shadows that I can imagine in a new Twin Peaks, but the one I most want to hear on that soundtrack is “S’enfuir,” a beautiful ballad performed in French. It’s utterly lovely, and I can see it being put to good effect by Lynch in anything from a love scene to the authorities dragging a body from the river. This is David Lynch we’re talking about, after all.
Also, as with The Blueflowers, I want The Lost Patrol appearing in the show. Maybe they can be performing live (that worked really well in Vamps) or perhaps they can be pressed into service as cast members. The possibilities are endless.
So there you have it, David. It goes without saying that I CANNOT WAIT for the new series. Word is that both you and Mark are going to be involved in each episode, so yeah, my expectations are through the roof.
And I know your talent for using music in ways that elevate the drama and lend it a certain timelessness. The Raveonettes, Blueflowers and Lost Patrol are three bands that can help you once again transcend eras in constructing television that people will be talking about for decades.
Have your people give me a call. We can make this happen. And when the series is wrapped, maybe we can get everybody together for a big show. I’d dig the hell out of a quadruple bill featuring these three bands and you performing Crazy Clown Time front to back. That’d be a hell of a gig.