The best songs on TV this season: EW talks to the music supervisors behind 'Girls,' 'Vampire Diaries,' 'Revenge,' and more
What are music supervisors from some of TV’s hottest shows loving in 2013? Read on to find out what you’ll be hearing while you’re watching. Then listen to our Spotify playlist of their picks when you’re done:
MANISH RAVAL (Girls, Happy Endings, New Girl, Community, Ben and Kate)
“With Lena [Dunham, Girls‘ creator], music is very important to the process. We’ll send each other songs, kind of like the old-fashioned mixtape trading. In the new season [premiering on HBO Jan. 13], there’s this gigantic moment with Hannah doing cocaine for the first time, and we have Icona Pop‘s ‘I Love It.’ Angel Haze‘s ‘Werkin’ Girls’ has a big feature later in the season, and we had Tegan and Sara cover the Rolling Stones’ ‘Fool to Cry’ specifically for the show.
Otherwise, I love this So Many Wizards song ‘Lose Your Mind,’ the new Lavender Diamond album, and bands called The Babies and The Little Ones that I got to use on New Girl. Angel Olsen is someone who I’m really trying to get into something. And this song ‘Nothing Is Wrong’ by Mika Ben-Yami is just ripe to be used in something.”
SEASON KENT (Revenge, Arrow)
“For the first episode of Revenge [Jan. 6 on ABC] we got the Chromatics cover of Neil Young‘s ‘Hey Hey My My,’ for a great montage, and Tame Impala‘s ‘Elephant.’ I got their first use, and it’s from their new record that everybody is freaking out about now. I really loved this beautiful, sparse, simple Azure Ray song that we used, ‘The Heart Has Its Reasons.’ On Arrow [returning Jan. 16] I’m using more mainstream stuff because the CW audience is a little younger—like Maroon 5, deadmau5. But I did use ‘Sparkly,’ by Young Magic, a really dreamy kind of electro indie rock.
Also, I can’t stop listening to ‘Pull Me Down’ by Mikky Ekko. It’s too good, I can’t handle it right now. I’m really loving the new Local Natives album,. I think they’ll really be able to take the next step. The Jessie Ware record was one of my favorites from last year. “Forever,” by Haim — they’re three sisters, and they’re so cute and so energetic, but they really rock. You just don’t expect it at all.”
CHRIS MOLLERE (The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars)
“There’s a band called Deap Vally, kind of like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs—angsty, real cool. We’re placing their ‘Baby I Call Hell’ in a dive-bar scene in Vampire. And then a big scene at the end of that one, with Zola Jesus‘ ‘Skin.’ I also used The Neighbourhood‘s ‘Female Robbery,’ which has a darker feeling, hinting at the more Lost-like feel coming on the show. I really love the Tame Impala record from last year, and this band Churchill, I’d like to find a place for their song ‘Change.’ Same with The Joy Formidable‘s new album, Wolf’s Law. And MS MR, they have these great songs ‘Bones’ and ‘Salty Sweet.'”
GARY CALAMAR (True Blood, Dexter, 1600 Penn, Longmire)
“In the first episode [of True Blood, premiering this summer] shares its title with a song that was made popular by the Animals and Nina Simone — ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ — so we’re kind of investigating some possibilities of doing a cover with that, maybe an interesting collaboration. That’s the first thing on our plate for the new season. And there are two male-female duos out of Brooklyn that I really love. One is called Ex Cops, I don’t know if you’ve heard of them. It’s kind of like ragged pop sound, maybe Velvet Underground-y. There’s another band that has an unusual name: TKTTSM. They have a single called ‘Plastic Fantastic’ that I have been digging and playing on the radio. I’m looking forward to those — I think they’d work well on Longmire.
“There’s a new album from Nick Cave, he’s got a new single out and I’m looking forward to that full album. We had him do a song with Neko Case for True Blood last season, really looking forward to hearing what he’s got next. Jim James from My Morning Jacket also has a new solo album. I’ve hear it, it’s really interesting. And Eels have a new album and single that I really love.”
THOMAS GOLUBIĆ (Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Ray Donovan)
“The last half of the Walking Dead season [returning Feb. 10 on AMC] is going to be very song-centric, but most of them were created specifically for the show, and they’ll be on a soundtrack album. For Breaking Bad [the 2013 return date has not been announced] we’re just getting scripts in, but there are artists like Jake Bugg, this British troubadour guy; I love his ‘Trouble Town.’ Ray Donovan [debuting later this year on Showtime] is about an L.A. fixer played by Liev Schreiber, so that will have some fun, raunchy new hip-hop and old R&B.
Generally, I really like Alt-J‘s ‘Something Good,’ Django Django‘s ‘Default,’ and this Patrick Watson song, ‘Morning Sheets.’ For Ray Donovon, it’s a fast-paced contemporary story about an LA fixer played by Liev Scheiber, so that will have a lot of opportunities for some good hip-hop. The Kendrick Lamar record is great, and Frank Ocean‘s Channel Orange is great. And, like, the King Louie record is interesting– so we’re like, okay, can we find a home for it somewhere. ‘”