Please somebody, tell me what they are putting in the water supply in Chicago. I have always been a fan of the Chicago rock scene since I was in high school and loved Hum and The Smashing Pumpkins like it was my job, but now – between Smith Westerns and Twin Peaks – there is a whole generation of bands that grew up after those bands were out of commission (I know, I know. Hum still plays semi-regularly, or at least sometimes and don’t even get me started on the Pumpkins. The pumpkins died after Machina II. What is touring now is not the Smashing Pumpkins, but rather Billy Corgan trying to convince everyone that he is still relevant and then crying like a baby when people scream for him to play the hits.) But I digress…
Maybe rather than questioning what they are putting in the water supply in Chicago, I should ask what they are putting in the school lunches in Chicago. Smith Westerns were playing the Pitchfork Music Festival the same weekend as their senior ball, and that was right around the time that their 2nd album came out. Now we have Twin Peaks, who are barely old enough to drive, and they’ve released easily one of the best things that I have heard this year so far.
“Sunken” is a guitar heavy, echo laden, mass of jangle and energy. It’s an infectious cross between pop and some of the grittier rock that I have heard lately. Though the album is barely 20 minutes long (they are apparently playing the Japandroids’ game of “how short can we make an album while still calling it an album?”) but despite that short length it packs quite a punch. “Fast Eddie” could easily be a radio hit with a guitar line that I just can’t get enough of (though I have always been a sucker for the tasteful use of echo). The chorus really opens up, and even though I can’t figure out what the words are, I want to sing along.
“Ocean Blue” sounds like something that could have been on the first Beach Fossils release. Or Real Estate. Its swirl of reverb is hypnotizing. Normally I would say that nobody should use a crash cymbal that much, but here it really does add to the sound, it’s a necessary component. And “Stand in the Sand” is another stand out track on an album full of stand out tracks. I could go on about the catchiness, but I think that by this point you get the picture. Oh, and you are in luck because you can listen to that track below.
For kids this young to be able to tie an album together this well is astonishing. If you are 35 and still picking up guitars off the wall at your local guitar center hoping one day that you’ll “make it,” just know that you are going to end up playing Molly Hatchet covers in a dive bar on the outskirts of town while these guys are doing it right. It’s great to hear players so young that are able to capture something, and have it down so well and know their sound inside and out. Perfect summer album. It’s out now and you can purchase it on vinyl or as a digital download by clicking here.They do have a couple tour dates left on the west coast in the coming week, so if you live out here then you should try to catch them.
9/18 Dallas, TX @ Three Links+
9/19 Austin, TX @ Mohawk+
9/20 Houston, TX @ Fitzgeralds+
9/21 Baton Rouge @ Mud & Water+