Twin Fires may have their bodies placed in Sydney, but their hearts belong to the American South.
Their EP This Time I’m Fine just dropped on Friday, and it’s the musical incarnation of a dusty road trip through the endless Southern desert in some convertible American muscle. Think Springsteen, Kings of Leon, and The Magnetic Zeros rolled into one tight-knit piece of tumbleweed.
Twin Fires taste for Southern American rock n’ roll is unmatched, so we asked them for their picks from the 2500 mile-wide music goldmine.
“There’s just something about music from the South. It’s outdoorsy, earthy and gritty. For us it feels like you’ve travelled somewhere in a beat up old car, broken up with a lover, killed someone or just gotten really fucked up for no reason at all.
Here’s a little list of our favourite sounds from the South*“.
Ed, Jake and Josie – Twin Fires
*“Not all are from the South but we reckon they sound heaps South.”
Find a Spotify playlist with every listed track at the bottom of this article.
Ryan Adams – My Winding Wheel
We are all massive Ryan Adams fans and My Winding Wheel from the record Heartbreaker is just out of this world.
There was a time when we were on tour blasting this record while driving from a show we had just played in Houston back to a ranch we were staying at. The ranch was just about in the middle of Houston and Austin. When we got back we ended up getting heaps pissed on cheap champagne and whiskey and having a nudie spa.
P.S. This song has the sickest guitar solo.
The War On Drugs – Arms Like Boulders
This one was THE song of our first tour in the U.S and it was absolutely smashed in car. The blaring harmonica and drum fill never got old… and still hasn’t. Definitely a Twinnies favourite.
Alabama Shakes – You Ain’t Alone
As far as production goes, this record is one of our favourites. We LOVE spring verbs, huge distorted vocals and big drum sounds. Spending long hours in the car we had a lot of time for good listening and the record Boys and Girls was one that got played heaps. The sound of this record and the scenery of Texas just went so well together.
Nina Simone – Who Knows Where The Time Goes?
Josie first heard this song when she was living in LA several years back and her friend Lykke Li played it to her. Originally a Sandy Denny/Fairport Convention song, the only Nina Simone version we’ve heard is live where she speaks for a good 2-3 minutes about time, where it goes, how short life is and so on. Nina is so beautifully eloquent and it’s just the most heartbreaking and delicate song.
Big Red Balloon – Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood
A lovers’ quarrel through song. It’s pretty damn hilarious but also hectically dark. Lee tells Nancy he’s going to fly away to heaven in a big red balloon; it’s pretty heavy when you think about it. Nancy then retaliates, provoking him saying “you’ll never get that damn thing off the ground”. Worth a listen if you’re feeling fed up with ya babe.
Ricky Nelson –Hello Mary Lou
This song has the most incredible guitar solo and is definitely a toe-tapper. Josie tried to learn it but she thinks she stinks at guitar.
Hank Williams – Lovesick Blues
With such a heart churning melody the “I’ve grown so used to you somehow” part gets us every time. This song doesn’t really need any further explanation.
Dwight Yoakam – The Heart That You Own
Yes, this is the same dude that was in that Seinfeld episode, you know the one where Kramer flips out and goes off to ‘La-La Land’? Dwight plays the crim the coppers pick up who George and Jerry later accidentally allow to escape. I digress, this guy is also a flip country singer and this song is so cheezy but it’s absolute gold.
Drive-By Truckers – My Sweet Annette
Just your classic song about leaving someone at the alter, no biggie. Another sweet song on this record Decoration Day is Marry Me. In fact, the whole record is just great!
The 13th Floor Elevators – Kingdom of Heaven
These guys are from Austin, TX and we spent quite a bit of time there back in 2013 and 2014. This song feels like you are at some kind of house party super buckled and not exactly knowing where you are, where your friends have gone too but you’re having the best time nonetheless.
Credence Clearwater Revival – Travelin’ Band
Credence, need we say more?
Kevin Morby – I Have Been To The Mountain
Maybe somewhat of a progression of ‘Southern’ sounds. Originally from Lubbock Texas, Kevin Morby moved to New York to Los Angeles, getting his sea legs in bands like Woods. All these incredibly disperate but dynamic sounds come together on his latest album Singing Saw which sounds like Calexico vs Bob Dylan vs Eels.
OutKast – B.O.B.
Not all Southern music sounds like an old white guy in a 10 gallon hat strumming an acoustic. This track is by no means rare, you’re probably already well acquainted; Stankonia was the cassette that you stole off your older brother or sister and ran it into the ground. The Atlanta duo helped define southern hip-hop and demonstrate perfectly that the love of music runs deep in the blood of all the people of the south.
Townes Van Zandt – Cocaine Blues (Live)
Townes Van Zandt spent most of his career travelling from dive bar to dive bar, town to town, playing for 10 bucks and a frothy. A life we definitely connect with. He was like a country/folk musician character from a Keroac novel. His songs get you entirely lost in meloncholic stories of down and out bar hoping, working for nothing, and some good ol’ substance abuse.
You can find all of Twin Fire’s picks in that neat Spotify playlist, and if you like their style be sure to hit up their upcoming Aussie shows.
You’ll find them playing the Brighton Up Bar in Sydney on September 22, and The Penny Black in Melbourne on October 7.