Bands of the Bang Bang Bar: A guide to all the artists playing in the new season of Twin Peaks

If you’ve been watching the new season of Twin Peaks, you probably would have noticed that Angelo Badalamenti’s brooding original soundtrack – which includes the iconic Laura’s Theme and the Twin Peaks Theme (that still features at the beginning) – is basically nowhere to be heard.

Instead, each episode is bookended with a performance by a different band, playing a ‘live’ show at the Bang Bang Bar – Twin Peaks’ roadhouse and go-to watering hole. But who exactly are these artists?

Bang Bang

The new series of Twin Peaks is tied together by a strong musical motif, but not in the same way the original was. Here’s a guide to all the artists being featured.

Well for one, they’re all real bands. And for two, they (mostly) all exude the same Lynchian aesthetic: dark, dreamy, mysterious.

We can imagine that this component of The Return of Twin Peaks will remain throughout the entirety of the series. So, why not get acquainted with the artists? The show has never let us down when it comes to music, so who knows, you just might discover your new favourite indie band in Lynch’s selections.

Episode 2 – Chromatics

Chromatics were the first band to feature on The Return of Twin Peaks – and they brought all the moodiness and ethereality of the original series with them. At the end of debut episode they play their 2015 tune, Shadow – a song that wouldn’t be out of place on the Drive soundtrack, as well as a number of Lynch films. In fact, the band contributed music to Ryan Gosling’s Lynch-inspired directorial debut Lost River.

Chromatics are a personal favourite of Lynch’s and released a Twin Peaks-inspired video following the track being featured on the show. Check it out below.

Episode 3 – The Cactus Blossoms

Veering away from the show’s synth-heavy 80s/90s aesthetic, The Cactus Blossoms brought an Americana vibe to Twin Peaks in episode 3. The song they performed was called Mississippi and featured brushy drums, throbbing folk-country guitars and crooned two-part harmonies.

Despite their 50s country vibe, the Minnesota-based band still captured the surreality and mystique that we’ve come to expect from Lynch’s creative output. Chatting with NPR about the feature, Jack Torrey of the band said: “[It’s] such a wild and beautiful thing. When we were recording the album and heard what the new songs were sounding like we even joked that if we keep going down this road that Lynch might find us. It’s a strange world!”

Episode 4 – Au Revoir Simone

Au Revoir Simone and David Lynch actually go way back. Apparently the trio and Lynch met in a bookstore many years ago and he fell in love with them. In 2007, they played a concert in Paris for a David Lynch retrospective exhibition, the band played at Lynch’s own wedding, and he has even remixed a track of theirs.

In episode four, they performed Lark from their 2007 album The Bird of Music. Annie Hart from the band spoke with Brooklyn Vegan about working on the show:  “Filming it with David directing was perfect. He’s been a friend of ours for years but it was our first time officially working with him and we loved it.

He just let us do our thing and made us feel so relaxed. After a take he would say in his distinctive voice, “That was beautiful” or “Just perfect, girls.” It made me realize he’s a master curator, working with the exact people who fulfill his vision. To know that Au Revoir Simone fit into that mold and are part of a bigger world simply amazes me.”

Episode 5 – Trouble

Unlike the other episodes, Trouble actually play closer to the middle  while the plot unfolds around them, rather than as a bookend. Also unlike in the other episodes David Lynch’s son plays in the band.

Trouble is comprised of Alex Zhang Hungtai, who you might know as Dirty Beaches, Riley Lynch on guitar and and longtime Lynch collaborator Dean Hurley on drums. Evoking the jazzy vibes of Badalamenti’s soundtrack, the song they play features belching saxophones and a rollicking rhythm section. It’s called Snake Eyes and will soon be available as a 7″ via Sacred Bones.

Episode 6 – Sharon Van Etten

Of all the artists featured in the new Twin Peaks, Sharon Van Etten is the most familar to us. With four albums and an EP under her belt, plus a slew of brilliant collaborations – Come on Back This Way with Jack Ladder anyone? – hers is a name that continues popping up in the all right places.

Another friend of Lynch’s, Van Etten and her band fit in like a piece of old furniture on episode six, performing Tarifa, off 2014’s Are We There and evoking the ghost of Julee Cruise, the chanteuse who featured multiple time in the original series.

Episode 7 – Booker T. and The MG’s

Ok, so episode 7 didn’t actually feature a band, just a band playing from a jukebox while a cleaner sweeps the floor of the Bang Bang Bar. What was that song? It’s called Green Onions and it’s a 1962 by Booker T. and The MG’s. It’s a banger.

Episode 8 – Nine Inch Nails

David Lynch really out-Lynched himself on episode 8. It was creepy as hell, featuring bizarre flashbacks, atomic bombs, murderous hulking figures and Nine Inch Nails performing their track She’s Gone Away (from their 2016 Not The Actual Events EP) in its entirety.

The bands lineup for the appearance included original NIN members Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, plus touring members Robin Finck, Alessandro Cortini, as well as Queens of the Stone Age drummer Joey Castillo and Reznor’s wife, musician Mariqueen Maandig. Reznor and Lynch have been friends and colleagues for many years, having worked on Lynch’s 1997 film, Lost Highway together. Lynch also directed the music video for Nine Inch Nails’ Came Back Haunted

Episode 9 – Hudson Mohawke, Sky Ferreira and Au Revoir Simone

Episode 9 saw Hudson Mohawke take to the stage at the Bang Bang Bar to perform a previously unreleased track called Human, while a drug-addled Sky Ferreira (character name: Ella) sipped a beer in a nearby booth.

It also saw the return of Au Revoir Simone, who appeared back in episode 4, who closed out the episode with their track A Violent Yet Flammable World.

Episode 10 – Moby and Rebekah Del Rio

This week’s episode of Twin Peaks saw Rebekah Del Rio performing a slow, swooning ballad called No Stars on the stage of the Bang Bang Bar. The song was actually co-written by Lynch, which is probably why it felt extra… Lynchian.

The two have actually worked together before, the most memorable time being Mulholland Drive, in which Del Rio played herself. She also played at Lynch’s Festival of Disruption last year.

Moby also made an appearance in the episode as a part of Del Rio’s backing band playing guitar. He and Lynch have also had a long working history, with the latter lending a directorial hand for Moby’s video for Shot In The Back of The Head back in 2009Lynch has also remixed some of Moby’s tunes before. Moby has also supported The David Lynch Foundation on multiple occasions.

Stayed tuned for more on the bands of Twin Peaks.