TRANSISTOR’S Record Store Day 2018 Picks

photo fae Nikki A. Rae at Record Store Day 2016

For those amongst us who enjoy the sound, smell, sight and sheer eye-watering expense of vinyl, Record Store Day is pretty much our musical Christmas, not least because vast sums of money will be spent on gifts, all of them for ourselves. However, with the sheer volume of releases, re-releases and special editions on offer, it’s hard to see the wood for the trees, so we’ve assembled some of our finest vinyl collectors to give you their hot picks for RSD ’18.

Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

Twin Peaks – Music From The Limited Event Series

Not to be confused with the indie-pop outfit that share the same name, Twin Peaks is easily one of the finest pieces of entertainment to grace us and while it may have changed over the past couple of decades, its quality is consistent. This includes its score and soundtrack which range from flourishes of cheesy soap opera romance to borderline nightmarish remixes of classic tracks, all adding to the formula that makes Twin Peaks such a stunning piece of art.

Sufjan Stevens – Mystery of Love EP

While its title song may have been “done dirty” at the Oscars according to some people, there’s no denying Sufjan Stevens crafted one of 2017’s most beautiful songs for an equally mesmerising film. Call Me By Your Name wasn’t a film that relied on its soundtrack but it was one that was vastly improved by its gorgeous music which all comes to the tracks featured on this EP. If you’re maybe in the mood for something a bit different from your usual rock affair then this will be right up your street.

Jake Cordiner (@jjjjaketh)

Car Seat Headrest – Twin Fantasy (Mirror to Mirror)

The original version of one of 2018’s best albums (so far), the 2011 version of Will “Massive Furry” Toledo’s best album is a brilliant insight into how a songwriters’ style can change as they do as people. Some of the lyrics are different, some of the breakdowns are different, the whole mood of the album has changed in 7 years, and I just think it’ll be cool to hear the original on a beautiful, heavy piece of vinyl mate, ok?

 

Will Sexton (@WillSheSleeps)

Florence + The Machine – “Sky Full of Song”/”New York Poem (for Polly)”

Really hope someone will be able to pick up this gorgeous new single from Florence + The Machine (AS I’M WORKING THE WHOLE WEEKEND NOO!)*. Lovely new art-pop single from Florence and co. Love the ethereal, stripped back sound and it’s nice to hear something fresh from the band, being the first piece of music in 2 years since the gorgeous How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. What is more interesting is the new single is backed by Florence’s first recorded poem! Coming from her first book Useless Magic (released 5th of July), New York Poem (for Polly) will be a very interesting listen!

*Prizes for anyone who sorts oor Will out

Josh Adams (@jxshadams)

The National – Boxer (Live from Brussels)

What’s not to love about one of contemporary rock’s greatest bands releasing a Record Store Day exclusive vinyl, documenting their 2017 performance of arguably their most important album front to back?

Anyone who’s managed to catch The National performing tracks from Boxer live, either in concert or on YouTube, will know not only the added energy they bring to certain songs – such as Squalor Victoria or mistaken for strangers – but the deft touch of dynamics and tension the group tweak for some of their biggest numbers (see: Fake Empire and Slow Show). Also, it has a cool as shit reworking of the original album’s cover art. Gimme… NOW.

Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

Motorhead – Death or Glory

In a move that’ll shock absolutely no one, my hot pick for RSD ’18 is a reissue of Motorhead’s 1993 album Bastards under the guise of Death or Glory. If anyone’s interested, which they’re not, ‘Head were, as ‘Head do, having some trouble with their record company, and the family-friendly titled album was only largely released in Germany, and in the rest of the world, you couldn’t even steal it. A real shame considering it was one of the best, if not the best, albums they’ve ever produced.

Sure you’ve got Motorhead by numbers tracks like Burner and Born to Raise Hell, but Bastards had a wider range and more emotional depth with songs like Lost in the Ozone and Don’t Let Daddy Kiss Me, a harrowing song about the horrors of child abuse. A must listen for the most seasons of Motorhead fans, or for anyone who wants a crash course in the band’s range & depth.

Motorhead – Heroes

Heroes was something that came out of the blue, more than a year after Lemmy’s tragic passing. The final word had been growled; no new Motorhead or “lost” recordings. Then seemingly out of nowhere came this emotional, expertly done cover of Bowie’s Heroes. Not too detached from the original that it’s a hatchet job, but retains that Motorhead magic. It then formed part of a covers album, which featured the band covering some of their favourite songs, including a, dare I say it, better than original cover of Metallica’s Whiplash.

Side B features a “live” version of Heroes, featuring the most angelic of voices, the Wacken Open Air Festival choir. Lovely stuff.

Twin Peaks’ new compilation is a great soundtrack for reflection

ALBUM REVIEW

by ewan blacklaw (@ewanblacklaw)

Last year, prominent Chicago rock outfit Twin Peaks announced that they would be releasing two singles every month until the end of the year. The band had previously released three full-length albums, each one straying further from the overly tried-and-tested garage rock sound that was heard in Sunken back in 2013. The decision to release music using a different method last year resulted in a total of twelve songs being released over the course of six months, titled the Sweet ’17 Singles. Whilst singles themselves, as a concept, have been around since music was first commercialised the idea of releasing a series of planned singles as opposed to releasing a full-length album is rare, especially recently.

Due to the nature of this ‘recent’ release, there are no new songs to be heard. If anything, the release of this collection is a good chance for fans to purchase the vinyl or just an easy way to group half a year’s work together though this is not to say that the singles don’t feel at all like a cohesive piece of work. Each single follows the same general tone without feeling stale for the most part, that tone being nostalgia. The 60’s was an incredibly influential time for rock music and many bands still take inspiration from artists of that era but what Twin Peaks does differently is recreate the sound, wearing their influences on their sleeves for everyone to see.

This has been the gradual direction that the band has taken since their garage rock beginnings, with each release sounding more folky and dreamy than the last. With sounds of The Rolling Stones and The Velvet Underground creeping into their last album, Down In Heaven, as well as their live shows, it is clear that Twin Peaks know how to adapt this sound and still appeal to a younger audience.

This assortment of tracks does not feel like a cop out, which was a potential outcome when the band announced that they would be working on singles rather than on a full studio album. Each of the singles has a beautiful organic sound that creates an instant sense of nostalgia, with catchy melodies and well-polished instrumentals. It is clear that the band and their sound are growing; this growth is perfectly captured with each month that went by, and in turn with each single.

It seems that Twin Peaks, for the most part have shed their garage rock shell and have blossomed into this new sound. That’s not to say that the band are creating cutting edge tracks, or making an exclusive never heard before sound – they are just creating feel-good music with melodies that will stick in your head and lyrics that will make you miss a time before your own. Some of the stand out tracks include Blue Coupe, Come For Me and Tossing Tears, not to mention Shake Your Lonely, which seems to have become a fan favourite at recent live shows.

It is clear that Twin Peaks aren’t trying to blow anyone’s mind or challenge sonic capabilities, but with this series of singles the band continue to make catchy, easy listening tunes sprinkled with some insightful and nostalgic lyrics throughout. The band have moved forward by looking back for influence, and finding it in many great folk and rock ‘n’ roll stars of the past. While their fans may have to wait a while longer for another full album, this collection of singles should be enough to keep them going, as well as being an interesting concept for a relatively underground band to create. Overall, Twin Peaks, with their Sweet ’17 Singles, have made an interesting collection of tracks that make a great soundtrack for reflection.

rating 7

“I’ll See You Again In 25 Years” – The Troubled Production of Twin Peaks

By Olivia Armstrong (@starcadet96)

The revival of David Lynch’s and Mark Frost’s cult-hit TV show Twin Peaks has been the talk of forums and twitter following its release in May 2017. Originally airing in 1991, the show quickly gained traction as one of the most influential shows of the 90s and inspired many later works who have taken influence or inspiration (including the Silent Hill game series, Gravity Falls, Welcome to Night Vale and that’s only a few). Despite only last two seasons and being cancelled following season 2, its influence cannot be overstated and the revival has served to enthral long-time fans and introduce newcomers who are equally dazzled by its eccentric creativity.

But, some may wonder, if the show left such an impact on pop culture and was seen by many as ahead of its time, why now after so long is the series being continued and why was the it cancelled in the first place?

There are many mysteries to be solved in the town of Twin Peaks but the biggest is the death of town darling and prom queen, Laura Palmer, who is found on a beach infamously wrapped in plastic. When the Twin Peaks police department and FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper are called to investigate and solve Laura’s murder, they find that almost everyone around them has something to hide and even the town itself may have a much darker face lurking beneath the surface.

Image result for twin peaks set photos

Despite a positive reception to season one, things started to shift gears a bit during season 2. While still well-liked, executives were becoming concerned that the series ambiguity and slow pacing concerning the central mystery would wear thin on the audience’s patience. Therefore, there was immense executive pressure placed on creators Mark Frost and David Lynch to reveal the killer earlier than they intended because they were afraid of people losing interest and the ratings dropping. This cultivated with Laura’s killer being revealed in episode 16 (which is the single best episode of the show). Due to the reveal and subsequently the Laura Palmer story-line being wrapped up a few episodes later, the cast and crew were essentially left with half a season and no idea what to do with it.

This is not to say the show became completely plot-less or there was any lack of charm in the characters. After the end of the Laura Palmer arc, many of the subplots underlining the main mystery were given a lot more focus and this is where the series kept strong, giving us established conflicts and the development of more out-of-focus characters. However, many audiences and critics agreed the series did not nearly have the hook it once had with the Laura Palmer mystery and it took several episodes for the show to fully recover from having the mystery forcibly solved and pull itself back up into a solid season. And by then, it was pretty much already too late and it was moved by the network to one of the lowest rated time-slots on television (Saturday nights at 10), sealing its fate.

Image result for twin peaks set photos

It didn’t help that some subplots involved new characters who weren’t nearly as enthralling (seriously, where did John Justice Wheeler come from? The land of bland?) and the expansion of some characters who definitely didn’t deserve the screen time (James’ season 2 subplot in particular is almost painful in how long it is and how little it accomplishes in terms of plot or development).

There was still a lot of the quirky charm and humour that drew fans in but without the dark undercurrent of the teenage prom queen’s murder, the stakes didn’t feel nearly as high as they once did. Despite having a fairly strong finish and ending on what many consider the most surreal and one of the best episodes of the show to date with a titanic-sized cliff-hanger, it didn’t stop the series inevitable cancellation after the season 2 finale. It was in this episode that the enigmatic Laura Palmer uttered the iconic line to Dale Cooper “I’ll see you again in 25 years.” Of all the lines in the episode, this one was at least comprehensible but no less puzzling. Following the revival however and an almost recreation of the same scene 25 years on in the first episode, the line takes on a whole new meaning, suggesting this may have been Lynch’s intention all along or simply a joke on his part should he ever be allowed to continue the story.

This also undoubtedly played a role in the movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me being received so poorly with critics and audiences. Fans who were left wanted answers about the season 2 finale and were disappointed to see the movie was a prequel about the life of Laura Palmer and many critics also felt the show had run out of steam by this point and the movie was the final example of Lynch beating a dead horse.

Over the years, critical reception to the movie has softened considerably to the point where some even consider it an underrated masterpiece and even Lynch’s best film (myself included). But most agree it was largely tainted due to its association with Twin Peaks, not only due to the season 2 cliff-hanger but also because it took a largely different tone from the series, being much darker and more nightmarish due to Lynch having complete control over the project (whereas the original series was a collaboration between him and Mark Frost). It was a box office failure and critic Vincent Canby even went as far as to famously state “it’s not the worst movie ever made; it just seems to be.” This was taken as the final sign that Twin Peaks was truly dead and buried and some of the mysterious town’s biggest secrets may never be revealed.

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That is, until several years ago, when it was announced in 2014 that a continuation was being planned by Lynch and Frost and produced by Showtime. Despite denying for years that they would ever return to the town of Twin Peaks, both creators finally decided to continue the story in real time, with 25 years also having passed in-universe. No less than 37 actors and original series composer Angelo Badalamenti returned to reprise their roles. Which brings us to the present – 2017. Despite being in his twilight years where many would have retired from directing at this point, Lynch still felt there was some unfinished business with the quirky residents of Twin Peaks and their stories needed to be continued. At the time of this writing, eight episodes of The Return have been aired and the first two parts were shown at the Cannes Film Festival – the same festival that viciously booed Fire Walk With Me in 1992. Lynch received a five-minute standing ovation from the audience.

In a way, maybe he was always meant to return because as much as he’s clearly not finished with Twin Peaks, Twin Peaks it seems is also not finished with him.


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