Xiu Xiu Improves Upon the Music of Twin Peaks

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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:

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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.

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Kirsten Anders


Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Outlander in the Emerald City: Record Store Tour Part I

For as long as I can remember, each time I would travel to a new city I would automatically be able to rate its “coolness” factor by the amount of record stores were housed in its depths.  Thankfully for us music lovers, Seattle is teeming with a variety of shops of this nature, and I’ve decided to compile a list of my favorites from various neighborhoods.  

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For the first installment, I’m focusing on Sonic Boom Records.
For indie rock lovers especially, Sonic Boom on Market St. in Ballard is a necessary spot to check out frequently.  It is large enough to house an insane amount of music without reaching the size that can cause copious amounts of stress to those of us who often spend hours browsing for our favorite albums. It’s organized into the (new and used) vinyl section on the left side of the store, with the (new and used) CD section found on the right. 

The 45" singles section is always full of random-yet-awesome singles and splits. The local music section is one of my favorite aspects of Sonic Boom. Set up in the very front of the store, one is able to find a menagerie of old and new releases from artists originating from the greater Seattle area, including (but not limited to) samplings from Olympia-based K Records, Sub Pop, and many others. For those of you into music other than indie/alternative rock, Sonic Boom’s jazz, R&B, reggae, and world music sections are well-stocked, although it’s safe to say Sonic Boom’s main attraction is of the indie variety. 

Albums and CDs are very reasonably priced ($15-$25 for a new record, $10 $15 for a new CD). The staff is super friendly and knowledgeable about the music selection. A final perk: Sonic Boom often holds live local artist showcases on Saturdays!  Easily one of my favorite record stores in Seattle by far, make sure to give Sonic Boom a chance if you haven’t already.

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Katie Hanford

Rad Report: Modest Mouse isn’t being too modest!–reissuing of two albums

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Yo all you Rainy Dawgs out there! This is the Rad Report with blogger Rad Rebs, and before we get down and dirty with some awesome new details about Modest Mouse’s reissuing of their first two LPs, we’re about to get slightly philosophical so bare with me. Its been said that “bad news comes, don’t you worry even when it lands good news will work its way to all them plans” (Modest Mouse, “Float On”). This resonates with me as I float into a new world, full of changes and new experiences. On a broader and wider spectrum, it’s only human to wonder when our luck will take a turn for the better—into the utopian-esque world that we tend to imagine. No matter which point we are at in our lives, it seems to be inevitable that we will face a wave of challenges; at any given moment we may experience the “bad news” that Modest Mouse refers to, but just as often we find ourselves in a state of euphoria in the next instant.

We can relate to Modest Mouse in many ways as being their fellow Washingtonians—the lead singer (Isaac Brock) originally grew in Issaquah just east of the UW campus. Although growing up poor, Brock formed the band in the early nineties and received a lot of luck with their first two LPs released in 1996 and 1997 respectively.

We’ll all be considering ourselves pretty lucky starting on October 28th, when Modest Mouse’s This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About is reissued on vinyl—and AGAIN on November 4th when The Lonesome Crowded West is reissued. In a world where digital has become the norm, there still seems to be an agreement that listening to an album on vinyl has a charming sound unlike anything else. When we step back and take a moment to realize that this is the first time in over ten years that these albums have been available on vinyl, I’m predicting a pretty serious rush on these reissues. Can’t wait to get my Modest Mouse on vinyl–as Isaac Brock might sing, good news is definitely working its way to all them plans.

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Rad Rebs

More info below:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/modest-mouse/biography

http://impressionofsound.com/index.php/news/490-modest-mouse-to-reissue-first-two-albums

http://consequenceofsound.net/2014/09/modest-mouse-to-reissue-first-two-albums-with-unreleased-music/