I came upon Twiggs at a time where rock ‘n’ roll doom was about to set in, a time, so might say Sal Paradise, when I’d been consumed by the miserably weary feeling that everything was dead. Namely, Lou Reed. It was a few weeks before the passing of the Transformer, and I was feeling particularly restless for a sound that awakened that sidewalk-scraped, city-rough side of myself, and for music built with grit and guts around great pop construction – music like Lou made, I guess. A less jaded person might make something of that; that it’s some kind of earthy, intuitive wavelength thing, but I tend to cut life into sets of coincidences. Or maybe I’m just a bummer. Who knows. I’m bad at chasing waves of any kind. When I used to surf, I’d just spend time floating.
Anyway, Twiggs’ “Labor Day,” the opening track on their debut, self-titled record, begins with a drowsy, plucky vamp that straightened me out instantly – it reminded me of the steely, warm licks that often ushered in a Velvet Underground song, only amplified once Joe White (vocals, guitar, otherwise known as Joe Trilogy) and Abbey Philbrick’s (vocals and bass, i.e. Abbey Road) voices set in, talking back and fourth in the perfect unaffected blasé tone, as if you’re sitting at the edge of their bed, unseen, voyeuristic. I don’t know if Joe and Abbey are lovers, and I don’t ever want to find out – I want to exist in that tension. Now living in Nashville, the is certain folk and country vibe built throughout the record, but the 70s New York City essence is what struck me most – echoes of Nico, shadows of Lou – layered on top of constructed grunge and geek-rock like the Pixies’ “Velouria” or The Feelies.
After Lou died, after the palpable grief cloud shifted and I stopped saying shit-shit-shit repeatedly, we started to plan a tribute at the Stone Fox. Twiggs was the first band that I thought to email, and the first to say yes (later, The Weeks, Escondido, Alanna Royale and more would join us). They wore black turtlenecks and tweed, and handled the songs beautifully, transformatively. I felt better, I finally had a drink, I stopped saying shit-shit-shit again, being consumed by the miserably weary split-up between all of us and Lou. I was sure that everything was not, indeed, dead.
In this exclusive premiere, Twiggs tackle another legendary act: The Hollies. It’s hard not to think of British Invasion-era leading men when you look at Joe, towering and lanky with floppy brown hair, and he inhabits this particularly well. He and Abbey bring “The Air That I Breathe” into proper psychedelic basement territory, adding gauzy his-and-hers two part harmonies, bringing out the strum later lifted to Radiohead’s “Creep,” and the notes of melancholy laced over a seeming love song. Listen below.
At work on material for their next album, Twiggs has been collaborating with different producers around Nashville to hone in on their right fit – Evan P. Donohue, Coley Hinson, Rob Mitchell (former drummer for Moby). They’ve been touring (out to the West Coast) and playing locally, most recently as a part of Lightning 100/Tin Roof showcase, and are on the shortlist for Music City Mayhem.
“We just got back from California a few weeks ago where we played Orange County and this place in Hollywood that was straight out of a Stones documentary called the Overpass,” says the band. “The Overpass is listed on 15 places “not to go” while in LA…haha we had a great experience however.” Naturally.
It always helps to do what you’re not supposed to, and I hope Twiggs continue to do just that.