Twin Peaks Is the Next Big Rock Band Out Of Chicago

The 19-year-old rockers from Rogers Park are set for a massive breakthrough.

David Libman

Twin Peaks play Schubas on Wednesday, July 24 at 9pm. 

Twin Peaks has discovered its lucky number.

“Our album is 19 minutes long, and it’s the 19th release on our label,” says frontman Cadien Lake James. Like his three other Twin Peaks bandmates, James is 19 as well. 

The band is in the yard outside James’ parents’ house in Rogers Park, trying to get a better phone signal for our conversation. It’s the exact place where its super short and super punchy debut album Sunken, on the label Autumn Tone, was created. It was made using “a crappy iMac from 2004, a broken digital mixer, and a digital recording studio from the ‘90s” James says.

Regardless of the equipment, the group is quite happy with the sound—and so is virtually everyone else. Just released on July 9, music bible magazine NME and fashion pub Interview have already given the hazy garage pop record “next big thing” status, and the band has nabbed a key spot on this fall’s mammoth Riot Fest lineup.

In the Interview article, Twin Peaks is ecstatic about the energy behind Chicago’s young music scene, divulging its distaste for Riot headliners Fall Out Boy (“If anyone’s going to save rock and roll, it’s not going to be those guys”). They also tell of former high school shenanigans with classmate Chance the Rapper—the band used to play at the hip-hop star’s open mic events.

“CPS is a really good network, everybody knows each other,” James says, disavowing rapper Lupe Fiasco’s recent inflammatory review. “Artists meet artists when they are young, and there’s all these outlets for collaboration across the city, which makes it a good community. That’s why there’s a shit ton of good bands coming out of Chicago right now,” he continues, touting recent releases by Today’s Hits, Sister Crystals and The Fun.

So it was a no-brainer when the four, who had disbanded to attend college on opposite sides of the country, decided to put school on hold and return to Chicago to be part of the scene after getting some label attention during their first week of classes.

“We had just come off a big tour our senior year and loved what we were doing, and we wanted to be committed to it,” James says. Even if that means taking the long, hard road to get there, like living in their parents’ basements and working service jobs. The singer recently manned a booth for his family’s Heartland Café restaurant at the Wavefront Music Festival, something he’d rather forget: “I hate rave culture.”

Twin Peaks is decidedly punk rock, from their epically short songs and live sets, which take a cue from the Ramones’ theory—you don’t need to play more than 25 minutes before you’re famous. “We play the same show everytime,” James says,"no matter how many people are there or how big the space is. We always have the same mentality—throw down and go hard.”

See Twin Peaks live at a record release show tonight, July 24, at 9 pm. $10. Schubas, 3159 N Southport. schubas.com.

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