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Genre > Rock > Alt & Grunge
Wild Onion“…Twin Peaks have perfected the kind of songwriting that puts you in a practiced, happy headlock.” – Pitchfork
“The Chicago teenagers who make up the band Twin Peaks make a confident old-school indie rock chug that should be beyond their years.” – Stereogum
“Although steeped in the amp-shattering sensibilities of a garage band, the triumphant Sunken listens like a sunny pop record. It’s lovably fuzzy, worn with the character of beloved jukebox hits.” – Consequence of Sound
Don’t bother asking Twin Peaks about the deeper meaning of their band name. They simply thought it sounded cool, which explains why their second album Wild Onion isn’t as spooky or surreal as David Lynch’s short-lived TV show. It’s more like a modern day Nuggets, with Ty Segall, Black Lips and Thee Oh Sees curating instead of Lenny Kaye. Not literally, of course. But the spirit of those garage demigods is alive and well alongside subtle nods to everything from the Pixies and Tame Impala to the godfathers of guitar-guided pop music, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys.
If combining the influence of so many classic artists seems like a lofty goal for a group of 20 year olds, just remember that Twin Peaks’ core quartet—frontman Cadien Lake James, guitarist Clay Frankel, bassist Jack Dolan and drummer Connor Brodner—has roots that reach back to elementary school. After cutting his teeth during his high school freshman year in a duo with his older brother Hal, James reconnected with his old chums and formed what would become Twin Peaks, and the chemistry was immediately undeniable.
Having quickly cut their debut LP, 2013’s Sunken, in Cadien’s basement so they could sell it on tour, the band was excited to spend more time developing Wild Onion, a record that reveals a level of maturity beyond all the amp-singeing solos, ragtag rhythms and dizzying voices of three distinct singer-songwriters. Unlike acts who let their egos get in the way, Cadien, Clay and Jack share the spotlight and play to one another’s strengths as Connor keeps things moving with a steady beat.1. I Found a New Way
2. Strawberry Smoothie
3. Mirror of Time
4. Sloop Jay D
5. Making Breakfast
6. Strange World
7. Fade Away
8. Sweet Thing
9. Stranger World
12. Ordinary People
13. Good Lovin’
14. Hold On
15. No Way Out
16. Mind Frame
$17.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Let It Reign (Awaiting Repress)Carl Barât & his new band The Jackals announce the release of their debut album Let It Reign. Let It Reign was recorded in LA and London and was produced by Joby J. Ford (The Bronx).1. Glory Days
2. Victory Gin
3. Summer In The Trenches
4. A Storm Is Coming
5. Beginning To See
6. March Of The Idle
7. We Want More
8. War Of The Roses
9. The Gears
10. Let It Rain
$17.99Vinyl LP - SealedAWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Down In Heaven (Awaiting Repress)Following two LPs for scuzz-and-fuzzed-out rockers, Twin Peaks settled into a groove on “Down In Heaven.” Adding multi-instrumentalist and fourth songwriter Colin Croom (on top of the band’s stable of singers Cadien Lake James, Clay Frankel and Jack Dolan), the band has never sounded more confident. Each songwriter has their best work so far with James’ “Walk To The One You Love,” Frankel’s “Butterfly” and Dolan’s “Getting Better.”
-Josh Terry (redeyechicago.com)1. Walk To The One You Love
2. Wanted You
3. My Boys
5. You Don’t
6. Cold Lips
7. Heavenly Showers
8. Keep It Together
9. Getting Better
10. Holding Roses
13. Have You Ever?
$17.99Vinyl LP - SealedAWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
landmark (Awaiting Repress)“There’s a moment in growing up when it becomes clear that the road you walk is your own to cultivate.”
A surprisingly profound sentiment for a band of 21-year olds. Nevertheless, it’s a sentiment that animates much of landmark, the debut album from Minneapolis’ Hippo Campus.
From the resplendent “Way It Goes,” a guitar led gallop about the Instagram-filtered church of cool, to the propulsive “Boyish,” a horn-kissed rumination on children of divorce, landmark is shot through with a woozy dissonance between precocious wisdom and old-as-time coming of age stories. The result is a messy, brave, and earnest whole — not to mention, a tectonic shift forward for a young band still discovering itself.
Of course, that should come as no surprise. Hippo Campus — comprised of vocalist/guitarist Jake Luppen, guitarist/vocalist Nathan Stocker, bassist Zach Sutton, and drummer Whistler Allen — have done their fair share of growing up since forming in late 2013. Their pair of 2015 EPs, Bashful Creatures and South, catapulted a freshly-formed band onto sold out tours, radio airwaves, late night TV stages, timelines, feeds, and glowing screens the world over. After a 10-month stretch of work informed by their surprising ascent, Hippo Campus’ first full-length showcases not only their trademark ear for ringing melodies and impeccably constructed pop frameworks, but a desire to dig deeper—both into their talent and in their selves—for inspiration.
landmark’s recording, helmed by BJ Burton (Bon Iver, Sylvan Esso, etc.), primarily took place at Sonic Ranch, with finishing touches applied at Pachyderm Studios in the band’s native Minnesota. The ranch, a residential studio located on a 2300-acre pecan farm near the border between Texas and Mexico, represented a big shift for four young men from the northern Midwest’s cooler climes. “You’re just in the middle of the desert, and there are these pecan trees for as far as you can see,” says Stocker. “It’s pretty surreal—kind of like a dream.”
Dreams are where the mind’s deepest desires manifest, so it’s fitting landmark is rife with up-close lyrics that reflect the struggles of crash-landing into an always-on world. “It’s our most honest release yet, but it didn’t start that way at all,” says Luppen. “There are two halves to the record—the first half represents our first stage of writing, where we’re showing off our ironic side and criticizing the culture of social media, and the youth culture that we’re a huge part of now. It’s a world we’ve been forced to plug into, whether we want to or not, and we talk about our qualms with that world.”
Perhaps nowhere on the album are those qualms more evident than on “Western Kids,” one of landmark’s most upbeat numbers, but also one of its most contemptuous: “I just love this, I swear I’ll go viral, from the burbs to the streets now it’s a revival,” sings Luppen, tongue firmly planted in cheek. “The spirit is found in the idealistically idle, the age of excess.”
Meanwhile, “Sun Veins,” the distortion-heavy track that opens the record, is a direct response to the expectations heaped upon the band as they grew: “‘Sun Veins’ represents an intense period in my life when I wanted to burn everything down, and it represents this moment of absolute clarity,” says Luppen. “I’m talking about a person, but at the same time I’m talking about myself and us as a band. Throughout the past year, I thought that I had to be different and that the band had to be different, but it turned out that we had to look more inward and find ourselves again.”
Indeed, landmark invites introspection and close listening—even its most upbeat songs are rich with details, like the whistling break that lands in the middle of the galloping “Simple Season” or the spangles of guitar that slice through the clamor of “Tuesday.” Elsewhere, the second half of landmark is dominated by a somber stretch that includes the lush “Monsoon,” which slowly blooms into a quiet freak-out of reverb and synth, a revelation in the context of the band’s catalog. “It was a breakthrough—we could use the studio and make something transcendent,” says Luppen.
Transcendence doesn’t come easy. It’s usually the payoff to a long journey. And while Hippo Campus’ journey is still being written, with landmark, the band has never seemed more confident in the road they’re walking.1. Sun Veins
2. Way It Goes
5. Simple Season
7. Western Kids
$19.99Vinyl LP - SealedAWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Urbs In HortoTwin Peaks will be releasing a live double LP they’re calling Urbs in Horto. The record features analog recordings from the sold out hometown shows at Metro and Thalia Hall in Chicago on Dec 17+18, 2016. The tracklist includes songs from across the band’s three studio records as well as Rolling Stones cover “Dead Flowers” and “What Up Dawg?,” a fan favorite by the band’s friend James Swanberg. Urbs was recorded by the crew from Treehouse Records and mixed by the band, with album art by the band and concert photos by Daniel Topete and Cooper Fox. The band’s own Cadien Lake James had this to say of the retrospective collection:
"We’re proud to be releasing Urbs In Horto, a live LP recorded in Chicago. Our live show varies greatly from our recorded output, still retaining the energy we learned in our days playing basements. Our live show has been an important part of our existence, so it felt right to release a record from our homecoming shows at the end of 2016, our 5th year on the road. We’re proud to have recorded it live to 2″ reel-to-reel tape with the help of our brothers at Treehouse Records and to have it as a show of respect to the city we call home. Urbs In Horto is Chicago’s motto, meaning City in a Garden. Record sounds more like a jungle, though."1. Butterfly
4. Stand in the Sand
5. Holding Roses
7. Getting Better
8. Walk to the One You Love
9. Making Breakfast
10. Cold Lips
11. Keep it Together
12 .Good Lovin’
13. My Boys
14. Natural Villain
16. Have You Ever?
17. Wanted You
18. What Up Dawg?
19. Dead Flowers
20. Strawberry Smoothie
$22.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs SealedBuy Now
I Become A ShadeSeoul have never been in a rush. Despite the overwhelming praise that met the Montreal trio's first two online releases — “Stay With Us” and “White Morning” — and despite the industry chatter that surrounded their first live performance at Pop Montreal 2013, kindergarten classmates Nigel Ward and Julian Flavin, and art school transplant Dexter Garcia remained resolute in fine tuning the dozen songs that would become their official debut: I Become A Shade.
“We’re just very intent on trying to get our musical ideas to exist as the definitive versions of themselves,” says Ward. “Granted, each idea has limits, but its a question of discovering the borders of an idea and then putting its essence on display — so much of that has to do with the slow sculptural nature of studio work. Playing around in a studio invites elements of chance, collage, and trial-and-error into the process, which feels essential to having a song really reveal itself to you. Its a process of organizing our intuitions into cohesive moments and seeing where it takes us.”
Where their intuitions took them is a very special place indeed. From the lush ache and bouyance of “Stay With Us” to the sculpted synths and angular sincerity of “The Line,” I Become A Shade is the sort of record whose every detail, whether panoramic or microscopic, is on glorious, deliberate display. A work separated into three distinct suites, the record is equal parts gauzy dream-pop, reverberant R&B, and speculative ambient — a world where sentences are often left unfinished and meaning rears its head in the intervals. The propulsive “Real June” and “Silencer” both hurtle through space like rain-drenched athletes, while “I Negate” and “White Morning” shimmer with a hushed honesty, growing and pirouetting with dreamy eventuality into a thick focus.
Set for release on Grand Jury in the US and Last Gang in Canada, every element of Shade is a testament to Seoul’s painstaking attention to detail, whether in the stark black & white art that accompanies the album, or the serene videos the band set to its music.
“We do all our own art stuff and collaborate as closely as possible with video people,” says Flavin. “We engineer and mix our recordings too, so it’s very hands on.”
And in Seoul all hands are created equal. “It’s rare that a song doesn’t change hands quite a few times prior to us finishing it,” says Garcia. “And most of this elaboration on an idea is done rotating through a computer and reacting to each other’s contributions in relation to the direction things are going in.” Take lead single “The Line” as an example. “Nigel added a soft vocal that pillowed up above the angularity of the synths,” Garcia continues, “And you get a really nice contrast between the two, where the core feeling of the song is revealed by its being expressed in two hauntingly different ways.”
And that’s what I Become A Shade is meant to be — an examination of poles — a debut that rains with the melancholy of sidelong glances and rented rooms, while frequently transcending its own desperateness in moments of breathless self-discovery. While one might think something labored over for so long would come with a prescribed understanding, Seoul would rather fans meet and interpret the record at their own personal junctures. “We’re interested in presenting different versions of the self, the endless shift from self-loathing and loneliness to vibrancy and connectedness and back,” says Flavin. “All states are valid, and we’ve tried to collect and display the beauty and necessity of both spectrums of experience — how it can feel both awful and cathartic to liquify into your surrounding and disappear.”
All the while, the rain continues to fall.1. I Become a Shade
2. The Line
3. Haunt / A Light
4. Real June
6. White Morning
7. Stay With Us
8. Thought You Were
9. I Negate
10. Carrying Home Food In Winter
$17.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
1st BathAvid Dancer’s debut album “1st Bath" out on Grand Jury Records. Avid Dancer is the music project by Jacob Dillan Summers.1. All The Other Girls
2. Stop Playing With My Heart
3. All Your Words Are Gone
4. I Told You So
5. Not Far To Go
6. All The Things You Keep
8. I Want To See You Dance
9. Whatever's On Your Mind
10. Nobody Else
11. Why Did I Leave You Behind
12. Up Against The Wall
$17.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
HighspeedsElliot Moss is a 21-year-old multi-instrumentalist songwriter, producer, and visual artist from New York who has drawn comparisons to Bon Iver, Chet Faker, Washed Out and James Blake with his soulful vocals, strong songwriting and embrace of electronic, jazz and ambient sounds. His debut album was recorded at his home studio where Moss performed, produced, and mixed the entire album with the exception of a few friends.$17.99Vinyl LP - SealedBuy Now
Alternative rock first emerged in Britain in the late 70s and early 80s, but it didn’t really hit its stride until the 90s with the arrival of bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and
Alternative rock first emerged in Britain in the late 70s and early 80s, but it didn’t really hit its stride until the 90s with the arrival of bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane’s Addiction. That was also right around the time that Nirvana and Pearl Jam fueled the grunge rock explosion.
And when you want the full and real alt rock experience, you’ve gotta try it out on vinyl, and SoundStage Direct is your one-stop shop for all the best alternative rock vinyls.