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A Look at the Musicians on 'Twin Peaks: The Return'

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Friday Aug 11, 2017

Music has always been an integral part of "Twin Peaks" -- from its original ABC run over 25 years ago, the film that proceeded it, "Fire Walk with Me," and its revival, "Twin Peaks: The Return," which is currently airing on Showtime.

Though Angelo Badalamenti's seminal compositions, which brought a heartbeat to the show's first two seasons in the 90s, have been used sparingly in the new "Twin Peaks" series (though they do pop up at just the right times; highlighting truly emotional and nostalgic moments), co-creator David Lynch, who co-wrote and directed all 18 new episodes, has found innovative ways to incorporate music into the show.

A recurring trope, although not always consistent, on "The Return," is ending an episode with a performance at the Roadhouse -- the fictional bar in the town of Twin Peaks. Over the course of the last 14 hours that have aired so far, a number of bands and singers have shown up to close the show with a rousing or moody performance -- it's like Lynch's own version of "American Bandstand." Below is a guide to the musicians have appeared and performed music on "The Return" so far. (We're still patiently waiting for Julie Cruise's return.)


(Ruth Radelet, singer of Chromatics. Credit: Facebook)

Chromatics:

In "Part 2," Chromatics was the first act to close "The Return" and they did so with a breathtaking song called "Shadow." The band, made up of vocalists and multi-instrumentalists Ruth Radelet, Adam Miller, Nat Walker, and Johnny Jewel (the act's mastermind), highlighted the nostalgic tone of the episode with its noir brand of synth-pop, culminating in one of the most emotional moments in the series so far: A handful of actors who appeared on "Twin Peaks" as high school students in the 90s are here seen in their mid-40s.

Chromatics are one of the few acts who have appeared more than once, performing "Saturday," a song Jewel produced for his act Desire, on "Part 12." (Side note: Jewel created solo music for "The Return" with his new album "Windswept." Though he hasn't performed solo on the show, his compositions have popped up throughout the new season.)


The Cactus Blossoms: Of all the acts so far, The Cactus Blossoms, Minneapolis brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum, seem the most out of place on "The Return." They're one of the few acts that don't use synths or electronic music and closed out "Part 3" with their folk song "Mississippi," winking at some of Lynch's western influences.



(Au Revior Simone on "Twin Peaks: The Return." Credit: Facebook)

Au Revior Simone:

Au Revior Simone is the other band, besides Chromatics, to show up more than once on "The Return." The synth-pop trio, made of Erika Forster, Annie Hart and Heather D'Angelo, first show up on "Part 4" with their dazzling jam "Lark" and again on "Part 9" with stirring song called "A Violent Yet Flammable World." The band's removed yet alluring attitude fits perfectly into the world of "Twin Peaks."


Trouble: The perfectly named band Trouble appeared on "Part 5," playing a rock 'n' roll jazz number called "Snakes Eyes." It's one of the most thrilling songs to show up on "The Return" - a thumping rhythmic banger that is driven by thumping percussion, a hypnotic guitar riff and a wild saxophone. Trouble is made up of Lynch's own son, Riley Lynch, Dirty Beaches' Alex Zhang Hungta and Dean Hurley (a longtime collaborator of the "Twin Peaks" director), which made its debut on the show.


Sharon Van Etten: Folk singer Sharon Van Etten gave a stripped down version of her song "Tarifa" on "Part 6," providing a light and melodic ending to an otherwise thrilling and vicious episode of TV.



(Nine Inch Nails on "Twin Peaks: The Return." Credit: Facebook @TwinPeaksOnShowtime)

Nine Inch Nails:

Introduced in "Part 8" as "The" Nine Inch Nails in what is the best episode of television this year, the Trent Reznor-fronted band's performance uncharacteristically came around the halfway point in the show. Performing "She's Gone Away," the industrial rockers served as an intermission between the first 20 minutes of narrative story and what followed: a wild origin story of the good and bad in the world of Twin Peaks.



(Rebekah Del Rio in "Twin Peaks: The Return." Credit: Facebook @TwinPeaksOnShowtime)

Rebekah Del Rio:

Rebekah Del Rio's performance of "No Stars," co-written by Lynch, was easily the most memorable part of "Episode 10" and might be the most memorable performance of "The Return" all together. Fans may recognize the singer from Lynch's "Mulholland Drive," where she performed a Spanish rendition of Roy Orbison's "Crying." On "The Return," Del Rio's voice takes center stage as she belts out moody lyrics as Moby strums on a guitar in her backing band.


James Hurley: In what might be the most surprising performance of "The Return," actor James Hurley returned to the show as his "Twin Peaks" character James Marshall to reprise the iconic Season 2 song he made with then-girlfriend Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle) and Laura Palmer's cousin Maddy (both played by Sherly Lee). The reverbed-laden, synth-soaked "Just You and I" is a 50s-inspired love ballad that is one of the biggest and most obvious nods to "Twin Peaks" fans in "The Revival" so far. Boyle isn't returning to the series and Maddy was murdered in Season 2 but two young and anonymous brunette women back up James on the song, lending ethereal and dreamy vocals.


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