Let me tell ya’ll about the greatest regret in my life. In anticipation for Record Store Day, I went through all of the releases and was pretty disappointed as I scrolled down the list. But when I saw the final item on the list, it made 18 years of suffering all worth it. American experimental noise pop group, Xiu Xiu, (pronounced ‘shoe-shoe’), was releasing an exclusive Record Store Day pressing of Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks, which is exactly what it sounds like. For those of you who have lived under a rock your whole miserable lives, Twin Peaks is a 1990s murder mystery television show that has a very strong cult following. I immediately began creating my Record Store Day plan of attack. I had exactly a month to go to call every record store I knew of and ask if they were ordering copies. I planned it out perfectly: I would go to Spin Cycle in Cap Hill, and if they didn’t have it, I would run as fast as I could to Everyday Music. All the record stores were opening early on the day, like, 5 AM early. So I planned to set my alarm for 4 and bus over and wait.
T-minus 1 day until Record Store Day, and my friends and I decide to go to a party that Friday night. Completely forgetting I needed to wake up at 4 the next morning, I consumed several illicit substances, and fell asleep at 2 with a dead phone. The next morning when I woke up at 11, I felt like this:
They were completely out of Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks. Unfortunately, it seems that you cannot listen to this album anywhere. It isn’t on ITunes, Spotify, Amazon, or even Tidal! I did find a way to completely-not-illegally download it, and it just made me even more disappointed.
This album is like all the greatest feelings you have ever had, the cutest dogs you have seen on the street, Citizen Kane, and your parents’ love and acceptance all wrapped into one amazing album. The Twin Peaks soundtrack itself is a pretty damn good album, so Xiu Xiu had a lot to live up to when recording this, but I would say they improved upon the original album. The general feeling of mystery still comes across in the new recordings, but with a Fabulous Muscles-era Xiu Xiu sound. The recordings themselves have a very muddy sound to them that I think adds to the tracks, but I’m not sure if this was intentional or not, I would have to listen to the vinyl to know for sure.
The album starts out with one of the more well known tracks from the soundtrack: “Laura Palmer’s Theme”, a dreary yet hopeful sounding song in honor of Laura Palmer herself. The Xiu Xiu version doesn’t sound all that different, just more bells and ominous banging in the background. “Audrey’s Dance” is a little more interesting, with more distinct countermelodies than the original song. Both this track and “Nightsea Wind” seem to have a heavy noise influence, reminiscent of Xiu Xiu’s old collab with Merzbow. I was interested to see how Xiu Xiu would interpret “Dance of the Dream Man”, which is a jazz song, and I was impressed. The song starts very heavy with lots of noise and harsh sounds, but as it moves into the jazz melody, it becomes softer, as if you are listening to it in the back of a speakeasy drinking absinth or something like that. The original “Love Theme” from Twin Peaks is a simple, yet beautiful song. Xiu Xiu manages to interpret it in a way that maintains the beauty, but makes it much more complicated and interesting. The echoey choral vocals make it sound like a song from Lord of the Rings or Halo. And of course, the most well known song from Twin Peaks, “Falling”. Before the album was released, Xiu Xiu actually released this track on Soundcloud. It features Jamie Stewarts’ breathy vocals and a slower tempo than the original song. If a song could sound like walking through fog, it’s this one.
So if you’re now convinced you can’t live your life without this album, don’t worry! Due to popular demand, Xiu Xiu is releasing a second pressing that is now available for preorder and will be released sometime in August!!! You can also listen to it track-by-track here.