Alex G, Frances Quinlan, Sadurn, and more feature on ‘I Saw The TV Glow’ soundtrack - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

This weekend, director Jane Schoenbrun’s buzzed-about indie horror film I Saw The TV Glow opens nationwide, distributed by A24. Set in a 1990s American suburb, the film stars Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine as Owen and Maddy, two jaded teenagers who bond over a mysterious children’s TV show. It’s a love-letter to turn-of-the-century cult classics like Twin Peaks and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and complimenting the film’s 90s vibes is an indie rock soundtrack featuring everyone from Phoebe Bridgers to Caroline Polachek – and, of course, an original score by Delco native Alex G, who soundtracked Schoenbrun’s previous film, We’re All Going To The World’s Fair.

Alex G might not be the first name you think of when you think of horror film scores, but for a slow-paced coming-of-age story set in the 90s, it’s hard to think of someone better suited to the job. While his score for We’re All Going To The World’s Fair contained many of his stylistic hallmarks (pitch-shifted vocals, grungy acoustic guitars, cheap-sounding vocal synth patches), Alex G’s score for I Saw The TV Glow sees him stepping further outside his comfort zone. “Ice Cream Transformation” is a brief string lament; “Money Machine” is a frantic sound collage; “Downed Power Line” ends with soaring risers and a dancey drum beat that feels like an indie-rock take on a Burial beat. Alex G’s quiet, morose melodies are still here in spades, but rather than serving as the basis for intimate folk songs, they’re blown up into nostalgia-inducing ambient soundscapes that swing between unnerving and depressing. In other words, it’s everything you could hope for from a new Alex G album.

And that’s just the film’s score – the soundtrack album is a veritable who’s-who of modern indie rock, featuring fifteen original compositions that sound like they’re made not for the big screen, but for the cheap Discman you blast in the backseat of your parents’ SUV on long car rides. Drab Majesty delivers an upbeat homage to Belle and Sebastian on “Photograph,” and Proper.’s track “the 90s” sounds like something the Kinsella brothers would’ve belted out at a house show back in the titular decade. Other highlights include two Deftones-esque cuts from King Woman, Caroline Polachek’s impossibly catchy “Starburned and Unkissed,” and an understated take on Broken Social Scene’s “Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl” from noise-rocker Yeule. And, of course, a collection of angsty indie rock jams in 2024 has to show some love to Philadelphia; Frances Quinlan provides the heartbreaking lo-fi indie song “Another Season,” and Sadurn lays down some tears-in-your-beer alt-country on “How Can I Get Out?”

Between Alex G’s hauntingly nostalgic score and an original soundtrack album that could go toe-to-toe with any number of 90s film soundtracks, I Saw The TV Glow might just be the indie rock/indie film crossover event of the year. It seems like the glory days of the soundtrack album are mostly over – when’s the last time a film had one as instantly iconic as the soundtracks to Pulp Fiction or Donnie Darko? – but if anyone’s keeping the memory of that era alive, it’s Schoenbrun and company.

I Saw The TV Glow | Official Trailer HD | A24
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