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Personal Playlist: David Lynch

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The director, who has a pair of singles out, talks about his music picks.

The experimental auteur David Lynch has long dabbled in music, efforts of which have been taking a more serious turn of late. The filmmaker released a pair of singles in late November via British indie Sunday Best, and to listen to the songs -- “Good Day Today” and “I Know” -- is to get a glimpse inside the moody artist’s mind. It’s a bit of head trip, to say the least, as the songs dabble in trance-like atmospheric dance and craggily Tom Waits-like weirdness.

It is “modern blues,” Lynch said to describe the songs. Yet when it comes to what Lynch is playing outside of the studio, his tastes lean decidedly more melodic, and more enchanting than warped. A favorite of Lynch’s, for instance, is dreamy Brooklyn keyboard trio Au Revoir Simone.

“I’ve seen them live a couple times,” Lynch said. “They’re such great girls, just great. Their music tells a story.”

Also in heavy rotation around Lynch’s Los Angeles house is a track from YouTube sensation Lissie, a bluesy rocker whose debut, “Catching a Tiger,” was released this summer on Fat Possum Records. Lynch said he discovered Lissie on KCRW-FM, and was smitten by the artist’s cover of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”

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“You have to start with ‘Bad Romance,’” Lynch said. “The power is incredible. I like some of Lady Gaga a lot, and I think she has tremendous talent, but what I liked about Lissie’s cover is that it’s not tricked out. It’s pure. Reduced down to three players, it’s a great song, and Lissie knocks it out of the park.”

Of course, Lynch said he always has some old faithfuls nearby, including albums from John Lee Hooker, Stevie Ray Vaughan and ZZ Top. Can he pick a perennial favorite?

“ZZ Top’s ‘Sharp Dressed Man,’” Lynch said. “The guitar, the solo portion of that song — it’s not simple, but it’s minimal. It holds such a beauty, such a power.”

-- Todd Martens

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