Muzz – “Lord Can You Hear Me” (Spacemen 3 Cover)
City On Fire is a new Apple TV+ series written and executive produced by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, the team behind The O.C. and (the OG) Gossip Girl. It’s an adaptation of the sprawling 2015 novel City On Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg. The book was set during the 1970s in New York City around the punk scene; the television version moves the time period to 2003 but keeps the music focus, opting to set it in the midst of the NYC rock revival. (For example: one of the characters goes to a Yeah Yeah Yeahs show.)
The series has a soundtrack, which is out today alongside the series premiere, and a lot of the songs are attributed to the fake bands Ex Post Facto and Ex Nihilo, which the show’s lead character is obsessed with. Those songs were written by people involved in real bands, among them Slow Pulp’s Emily Massey, Summer Cannibals’ Jessica Boudreaux and Bethlehem Steel’s Rebecca Ryskalczyk, and Dead Tooth’s Zach Ellis. There’s also a cover of Spacemen 3’s “Lord Can You Hear Me” recorded by Muzz, the indie supergroup made up of Interpol’s Paul Banks, the Walkmen’s Matt Barrick, and Bonny Light Horseman’s Josh Kaufman. Hey, that’s a group that would know a thing or two about ’00s NYC rock.
Jonathan Leahy, the show’s music supervisor, explained the direction of the show’s original songs:
As far as the sound of the band, our number one rule was: we’re not chasing after some other band’s sound, Ex Post Facto is its own thing. Number two: this band did not make it big, these recordings need to exhibit the quirks and limitations of a band that remains forever underground. Number three: we wanted the sound of the band to match the visual aesthetic that other departments (wardrobe, hair/makeup, production design, etc.) were creating in front of the camera.
The City On Fire is a mix of “Ex Post Facto” and “Ex Nihilo” songs, the original Slow Pulp demo for “Dime,” that Spacemen 3 cover, and some selections from the series’ score, which was composed by Jason Hill. Check it out alongside the show’s trailer below.
The City On Fire soundtrack is out now.