The Polyphonic Spree leader Tim DeLaughter has penned the bulk of the soundtrack to the upcoming film “Thumbsucker,” which marks the film directorial debut of visual artist Mike Mills. The album is due Sept. 13 via Hollywood, while the film — which stars Keanu Reeves, Vince Vaughn, Tilda Swinton and Lou Pucci — hits U.S. theaters three days later.
Mills had previously coaxed Elliott Smith into handling the soundtrack, but he died in 2003 before completing work on the project. Smith did record three songs that will appear on the album: the original “Let’s Get Lost” and covers of Big Star’s “Thirteen” and Cat Stevens’ “Trouble,” the latter believed to be among the last tracks he ever put to tape.
Following Smith’s passing, Mills took solace in the music of the Polyphonic Spree after seeing the group perform. He then secured the services of DeLaughter to finish the soundtrack, which includes a lone song with the full Polyphonic Spree, “Move Away and Shine.”
Also featured is a new version of the song “Foot Dance” from DeLaughter’s former band Tripping Daisy, rechristened “Debate Montage” but still featuring the original drum track, played by Secret Machines guitarist Ben Curtis.
“I watched an early edit of the film, which led to a very focused burst of writing in my bedroom and at the home of Spree bassist Mark Pirro, who engineered the album,” DeLaughter says. “I took more of a minimalist approach with these songs than I would with a Spree album.”
“To me, it feels like Tim is playing when he makes music, like some crazy genius kid playing with toys,” Mills adds. “That’s why their music feels so alive and that life got pumped into the film. The Spree saved ‘Thumbsucker.'”
In related news, rock act Pilotdrift will release its second album, “Water Sphere,” Sept. 20 via DeLaughter’s Good Records Recordings label. The Texarcana, Texas-based five-piece caught DeLaughter’s attention with its self-produced and -released debut, “Iter Facere,” which it had consigned to sell through his Good Records store in Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood. Four tracks from that disc are repeated on the new nine-track release.