Release Date: Apr 16, 2016
Record label: Polyvinyl
If you have any sort of enthusiasm for listening to film music without films, it may be that enthusiasm began with the music Angelo Badalamenti composed for the films of David Lynch. The crown jewel of that collaboration were the two seasons the pair worked on the surreal '90s network television phenomenon Twin Peaks. The hooky motifs Badalamenti grafted onto Lynch's visuals became integrated with the stories themselves, even more so because viewers had two years to associate Audrey Horn, Windom Earle, and Laura Palmer (well, her memory, anyway) with their respective themes.
Xiu Xiu are an archetypally "difficult" band. Hard to measure and, at times, hard to digest, they are experimental in the most literal meaning—not musicians exploring "experimental genres" of music, but ones who actually experiment, leading to music whose ideas travel the map so broadly as to be deemed unclassifiable when put together. This approach has led the band to develop passionate followers but also put themselves in a position where these constant new approaches not only alienate the mainstream but past fans as well.
Record Store Day seems to come and go these days with a whirlwind of shit you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone to care about. The All-American Rejects’ Move Along on vinyl? A Disturbed picture disc? Logic’s Incredible True Story? With more and more releases flooding shelves everywhere (not to mention leaving pressing plants with insane backups), the annual event mostly feels like a cheap routine for major labels to cash in on the now-flattened novelty of the vinyl record. Without getting too much into the politics of it all, one thing that stood out against the noise was that finally we’d see the proper release of Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks.
The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art was onto something when it asked Xiu Xiu to perform a series of Twin Peaks soundtrack covers at a David Lynch exhibition in 2015. To say that Jamie Stewart's weird, sexy noise-troupe have something a bit Lynchian about them is a serious understatement; but perhaps it's also fair, if a bit of a mouthful, to say that they have an air of Angelo Badalamenti about them too. Frequent Lynch collaborator and Twin Peaks soundtrack composer Badalamenti, like Xiu Xiu, makes noir-tinged, discomfiting music that hovers at times on the edge of cheese.