A guide to the music of ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’
Twin Peaks is back, weirder and Lynch-ier than ever. (That is a good thing.) As always, music plays a big role in Lynch's universe, though Angelo Badalamenti's score this time around eschews some of the original series' kitschy themes for disquieting drones. Another update, musically, to the original series is having bands playing at the Bang Bang Bar (aka The Roadhouse) over each episode's closing credits. No sign of Twin Peaks theme singer Julee Cruise just yet, but she's listed in the cast list. Here's a guide to who plays in each episode, and we'll update after new episodes air.
Johnny Jewel of Chromatics (who appear in the first episode) has made a Spotify playlist titled "Twin Peaks: It is Happening Again" featuring end credits music and other songs used in Twin Peaks: The Return, such as Dave Brubeck's classic "Take 5." (There's a Johnny Jewel solo track on the playlist as well.) You can listen to that below.
Two new Twin Peaks soundtracks will be released September 8.
With their icy, etherial sound, Chromatics were an obvious choice for the two-part premiere episode. There's almost a direct sonic through-line you can trace back to Julee Cruise, who sang Twin Peaks' theme song and appeared at The Roadhouse in a few of the episodes. Chromatics played "Shadow", a song from the band's slightly overdue new album Dear Tommy. The band's Johnny Jewel has music in the show as well. Watch the "Shadow" video:
With a twangy, lonesome, harmony-laden sound that recalls The Everly Brothers, this Minneapolis band led by brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum fit right into Lynch’s world. You can listen to the song they performed, "Mississippi," from their 2016 album You're Dreaming, here:
Brooklyn synthpop trio Au Revoir Simone first met David Lynch at a Barnes & Noble in-store event in 2007 and the filmmaker has been a fan ever since, having even remixed one of their songs. The band perform "Lark" (from 2007's The Bird of Music) in Episode 4, and here's what the band's Annie Hart had to say about working on the show:
David picked out "Lark" -- filming it with David directing was perfect. He's been a friend of ours for years but it was our first time officially working with him and we loved it. He just let us do our thing and made us feel so relaxed. After a take he would say in his distinctive voice, "That was beautiful" or "Just perfect, girls." It made me realize he's a master curator, working with the exact people who fulfill his vision. To know that Au Revoir Simone fit into that mold and are part of a bigger world simply amazes me.
Coincidentally, Au Revoir Simone have a new video for that song, which you can watch right now:
More integrated into this episode than the last two, Trouble perform at the Bang Bang Bar while some of the story unfolds (as opposed to closing credits). You may recognize Trouble's guitarist as Alex Zhang Hungtai of Dirty Beaches...a group whose music was ofter described as Lynchian. Also in the band: David Lynch's son, Riley, on guiter and and longtime Lynch collaborator and sound engineer Dean Hurley on drums.
The song Trouble performed on tonight's episode, "Snake Eyes," is available as a 7" via Sacred Bones which you can preorder now and listen to below.
Elsewhere in the episode: Trouble's Sacred Bones' labelmates Uniform provide the perfect, unsettling soundtrack for the menacing punk dudes driving around that half-built subdivision.
Having already appeared in one weird, trippy series (The OA), here Sharon Van Etten and her band perform "Tarifa" from 2014's Are We There. After last week's more integrated performance, this week returns to having it just be over the closing credits. "I can’t believe I got to be part of such a groundbreaking show," she said on Facebook. Listen to the song, and watch video from the show, below.
Sharon is part of the 2017 edition of David Lynch's Festival of Disruption.
Episode 7 breaks with the format so far by ending the episode at the Double R Diner as Santo & Johnny's "Sleepwalk" dreamily plays on the jukebox. We do get a scene at The Roadhouse, though, set to Booker T & The MG's "Green Onions" that is mostly a long shot of a guy sweeping up the place.
The eighth episode of the new Twin Peaks broke with the format of the previous episodes, in that it featured no bands performing at The Roadhouse, but this week the venue welcomed what had to be a great get for such a tiny place: Nine Inch Nails. Their scene also came early in the episode (about 12 minutes in), instead of during the closing credits. They perform "She's Gone Away" from last year's Not the Actual Events, a song that's dark and harrowing much like the weird scene that preceded it in the episode (and the many after, this was some episode).
Sky Ferreira turns out to be a cast member of the new Twin Peaks: The Return and not one of the many musicians who perform at the show's local hangout, The Roadhouse, though that is where we meet her character, Ella. Spoiler alert: she's got got a drug problem, and a rash and it doesn't look good. It's during this scene that we do get a musical performer at the Roadhouse, Hudson Mohawke, who plays "Human."
Hudson is not the only performer at The Bang Bang Bar this week, however, as Au Revoir Simone once again appear over the closing credits, this time performing "A Violent Yet Flammable World."
This week's Twin Peaks: The Return musical guest was Rebekah Del Rio who performed "No Stars." If the song, an early '50s style ballad, seemed especially Lynchian, it might be because David Lynch cowrote it. Del Rio, who was wearing a dress with zig-zag patterns right out of the show's Red Room, had Moby in her band on guitar as well. You may remember Del Rio from her pivotal performance in Lynch's Mulholland Drive, and she also played at Lynch's Festival of Disruption last year.
This was not the only musical performance of the episode, though. Harry Dean Stanton, who plays Carl Rodd on the show, performed a version of classic western song "Red River Valley," which was a nice moment in an especially violent episode. Stanton and Lynch co-star in the upcoming film, Lucky.
No one performed at the Roadhouse this episode, nor did any character break into song (like Harry Dean Stanton's did last week). Music did play a role, though, as the final scene of the episode took place at a Las Vegas club where Dougie Jones -- who has Agent Cooper trapped inside him, unable to break out (yet) -- becomes entranced by the piano player haunting melody. The composition was "Heartbreaking," which was written and performed by show composer Angelo Badalamenti, but it was not him behind the ivories on-screen. Looking somewhere between Burt Bacharach and Roman Polanski, his identity is unknown. Yet another Twin Peaks mystery.
Elsewhere in the episode, we hear a version of Elvis' "Viva Last Vegas" performed by Shawn Colvin.
Tonight's episode was subtitled "Let's Rock" but there was no rocking at the Roadhouse, just a return appearance by The Chromatics who also performed in the two-hour season premiere. Here, they played "Saturday."
The "Let's Rock" was in fact a line uttered by Diane (Laura Dern). This episode was also the first we've seen of Audrey.
We have our first fictional performer at The Bang Bang Bar, none other than lovelorn James Hurley (aka James Marshall), still playing the only song he seemingly knows, "Just You and I." His unexpected, unsettling singing voice remains the same and here two new girls take over the backup vocals that Donna Hayward (Laura Flynn Boyle) and Maddy Ferguson (Sheryl Lee) provided in one of the old sereis' most infamous scenes (which you can watch below). We laughed at loud when the Roadhouse's emcee announced James.
Tonight's episode was absolutely action-packed, but they still made time for a closing scene at the Roadhouse, and this week's musical performer, Lissie. who performed the title track from last year's Wild Wild West. This was also the most animated crowd we've seen for band -- Nine Inch Nails didn't get this kind of response.
Despite a fracas earlier in the evening (there are probably fracases every evening), The Roadhouse still hosted it's headliner: The Veils who played the throbbing, moody "Axolotl" from 2016's Total Depravity. It's the kind of foreboding song that heightens tensions, in this case more new characters we don't know at all. This was a disjointed episode, offering what seemed to be the end of a few stories (one happy, one sad), clearing the way for what looks to be an inevitable showdown between good and evil.
Elsewhere in the episode: In one of the more surprising moments of the show it was revealed to be ZZ Top Night at The Roadhouse, and one of the sweetest moments in the series' history was soundtracked by Otis Redding's "I’ve Been Loving You Too Long."
Despite some theories that he might play malevolent spectre Bob, Eddie Vedder appeared on this week's episode of Twin Peaks as himself, under his birth name, Edward Louis Severson III. He played "Out of Sand" at the Road House...or at least a version of it.
It was a little unclear what was happening, exactly, at the end. This was the quasi penultimate episode -- the final two air back-to-back next week -- and ended with the very literal use of of one of Angelo Badalamenti's original Twin Peaks themes, A lot happened this week, as the peices fall into place for what looks to be an exciting conclusion (that may make more sense that many would've expected when the season started).
No surprise that Julee Cruise, who sings the show's theme song "Falling," would be the performer in the finale. It is however a little surprising how minor her appearance is, given her performances played such pivotal roles in the episodes of the original series. She appeared in the penultimate episode, performing "The World Spins" with Chromatics as her backing band. The last hour had no musical guest, with Lynch and Frost pulling the rug out from under things entirely..