Tag Archives: Twin Peaks

That Asian Chick, What Was Her Name

In honor of David Lynch’s release on vinyl of his single “Good Day Today” (and our love of all things Lynch), Noise Narcs is posting on the music of, for, and about David Lynch this week. See our intro post (and claim of Lynch as a Philadelphian) here, and see the rest of the DLW posts here.

Given the luminously high quality of the David Lynch posts so far*, I figured it was about time for me to come in and lower Lynch Week’s overall average by at least 2.0 standard deviations.

I wanted to write something on Lynch’s use of popular music, but gave it up when I realized I’ve only seen Twin Peaks and about two and half Lynch films, and I didn’t feel like going on and on about obvious moments of genius like “In Dreams” and “Sixteen Reasons” alone. Even if they are, perhaps, two of the all-time greatest uses of early ’60s pop in entertainment history (“Mad Men,” eat your heart out).

No. Instead, I decided to post my friend Pete “Sugglife” Sugg’s 90-second “Twin Peaks” freestyle.  This was delivered at an after-the-wedding party on a back porch in Hood River, OR, and Sugglife, I promise you, had absolutely zero advance notice of his freestyle topic.  It doesn’t have MC Chris’s sweet Badalamenti sample, but it’s still a pretty awesome party trick. Enjoy:

Sugglife: Twin Peaks Freestyle from Matt Karp on Vimeo.

* Is there anything more insufferable than a group blog filled with posts praising the other group bloggers’ entries?  Dave, don’t feel bad, your latest concert review was also luminous.

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“Sing Hallelujah, Come On Get Happy!”: Performing Pop in the Worlds of David Lynch

In honor of David Lynch’s release on vinyl of his single “Good Day Today” (and our love of all things Lynch), Noise Narcs is posting on the music of, for, and about David Lynch this week. See our intro post (and claim of Lynch as a Philadelphian) here, and see the rest of the DLW posts here.

When thinking about the music in David Lynch’s works, the first element that comes to mind is, of course, Angelo Badalamenti’s composition. A close second is the director’s fondness for foregrounding his characters’ performances of classic, 1940s-1960s, pop.

“Twin Peaks”

Leland Palmer is the most conspicuous pop performer in the series. Actor Ray Wise’s manic performances of familiar and well-loved pop music brilliantly heightens the comedy and tragedy of Leland’s breakdown. An early and important example is his heart-wrenching dance with Laura’s photograph to the Glenn Miller Orchestra’s 1940 hit “Pennsylvania 6-5000.”

But for a more exuberant performance, we fast-forward to the first episode of the second season, when Leland’s hair turns white. He sings the 1943 novelty song “Mairzy Doats,” made famous by the Merry Macs.

Then later in the episode, at dinner with the Haywards, he makes a request — the Harold Arlen classic, composed in 1929, “Get Happy.” [Sinatra’s version of the tune, from his 1954 album Swing Easy!, is below.]

Blue Velvet

One of the most haunting and indelible performances in Blue Velvet takes place at the end of the scene where Frank (Dennis Hopper) and his entourage pick up beer (“Pabst Blue Ribbon!”) and stop by Ben’s house. This revealing scene, as sexually- and violently-charged as any in the film, culminates in a performance from Ben (Dean Stockwell) who lip-syncs the wonderful, and complex, 1963 Roy Orbison hit “In Dreams.” It’s utterly transfixing, for us and for Frank. Here’s the NSFW (unless you use headphones) scene. If you haven’t seen the movie in a while, watch the entire scene. Notice how Lynch foregrounds the sound effects of Frank popping in the cassette and Ben clicking on the light. “In Dreams” starts at 5:20.

This is another example, like Leland Palmer playing his “Pennsylvania 6-5000” record, where a character selects and plays their own recorded music. But in this case it’s Frank who starts and stops the recording, giving us another glimpse at the dynamic of his relationship with Ben.

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The Voice From Another Place: Jimmy Scott and the Black Lodge

In honor of David Lynch’s release on vinyl of his single “Good Day Today” (and our love of all things Lynch), Noise Narcs is posting on the music of, for, and about David Lynch this week. See our intro post (and claim of Lynch as a Philadelphian) here, and see the rest of the DLW posts here.

Cooper enters the LodgeWhen Special Agent Dale Cooper enters the Waiting Room of the Black Lodge in the final episode of “Twin Peaks,” he is greeted by two mysterious figures. One we, and Cooper, have met before, in Cooper’s dreams. He is the Man from Another Place, the backward-talking, shuffling, dancing dwarf who acts as a sort of demented guide to the mythological realm of the Lodges. The other is a face new to Cooper, and probably to most viewers as well. It belongs to Little Jimmy Scott, “perhaps the most unjustly ignored American singer of the 20th century,” according to a New York Times Magazine profile from 2000.

If someone knows anything about Scott, it’s that he has an impossibly high voice due to a rare genetic condition, Kallmann’s syndrome, that prevented him from reaching puberty. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find a talent regarded as a singer’s singer, someone who has worked with luminaries like Lionel Hampton, Charlie Parker, and Ray Charles, to name a few.

Jimmy Scott, “They Say It’s Wonderful” [Buy Falling in Love is Wonderful]

In episode 2 of “Twin Peaks,” the Man from Another Place tells Cooper, “Where we’re from, the birds sing a pretty song and there’s always music in the air.” From what we can tell, that air, like most of the air in Twin Peaks — the town and the show — is filled with the sounds of Angelo Badalamenti. And sometimes, Jimmy Scott.

In the final episode of the series, Cooper, with the help of Sheriff Harry S. Truman and Pete “fish in the percolator” Martell, figures out how to enter the Black Lodge — via Glastonbury Grove, a circle of 12 sycamore trees in Ghostwood Forest. (Note the circle of 12 candles in Cooper’s dream.)

Cooper enters the grove, parts the red curtains and enters the Lodge. We immediately hear Jimmy Scott’s voice accompanied by synthesizer and bass. Cooper walks down the hall and into the next room. What follows is the most amazing two minutes of scripted television ever.

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Of Death and David Lynch

(I think I promised David that my first post would be a close reading of Usher’s “Confessions pt. II”, maybe subjoined to an exegesis of Akon’s “Birthmark,” but that’s going to have to wait).

Given this blog’s voracious appetite for all things Lynchian, I’m surprised that nobody has had anything to say about the Vancouver band You Say Party! We Say Die!, whose 2009 release, XXXX, was headlined by a single called “Laura Palmer’s Prom.”  Sadly, the lyrics don’t name-drop Audrey Horne or Leo Johnson or Nadine, or do anything quite so satisfyingly specific within the Twin Peaks theme.  But really, they don’t need to.  The fabulously moody, synth-swollen atmosphere captures everything dark and steamy and desperate in Lynch-world, and ties it up with a thumping, irresistibly catchy bow.

Pitchfork seems to want to compare singer Becky Ninkovic and the band to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, or Siouxie and the Banshees, but really, I think they sound more like peak-era New Order (think “Temptation”, “Age of Consent”, etc) than any male-voiced contemporary band that I can recall.  Maybe to you that makes them derivative, but to me it makes them divine.

The tragic postscript here — more gruesomely Lynchian than ever — is that just this April, the band’s drummer, Devon Clifford, collapsed onstage at a show in Vancouver, and died two days later of a brain hemorrhage.  The band is soldiering on, minus another member who quit, under the shortened name ‘You Say Party.’   From what I’ve heard of them — just “Laura Palmer’s Prom” and a few other similarly synthy tunes on their Myspace page, I hope they stay together, not just because it’s the only decent thing to hope for, but because they’re making some pretty terrific music.

You can buy XXXX here, in digital, CD, or LP format.

You Say Party! We Say Die!, “Laura Palmer’s Prom”

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Pie’s So Good, It Is a Crime

If there’s on thing we at Noise Narcs like, it’s Twin Peaks. If there’s one thing we’re pretty indifferent to, it’s novelty rap. Therefore, without comment:

[Via Videogum]

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