Between Rock and an Indie Place: Twin Peaks’ Sweet ’17 Singles Series

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A hundred years from now, when music fans look back on this decade, they will without a doubt hear the influence that Twin Peaks had among the majority of other indie bands of the 2010s. Their popularity has breached far beyond the confines of their native city of Chicago, and the band has exploded into the national spotlight with yearly nationwide tours. Twin Peaks has performed at multiple music festivals over the past few summers, including Lollapalooza and Pitchfork, just to name a couple.

This indie rock band is releasing music in an innovative way that I’ve certainly never seen before. They recently announced via their Tumbler something they call “Sweet ’17,” a Twin Peaks single series. Every month, for the rest of the year, they’re releasing two new tracks that can be found both on 7” vinyl releases, as well as on streaming services. I cannot applaud Twin Peaks enough for this creative method of putting their new stuff out there for everyone to enjoy. They began this series in June, and have followed through ever since, reliably releasing a pair of new songs on the first of each month.

If I had to compare this means of releasing music to another art form, I think it best compares to a collection of poetry. Amazingly, each song that they produce has its own individual sound that evokes a specific emotional response distinct from the feelings I experience when listening to any of their other music. It honestly baffles me how well they are able to accomplish this, but listening to a Twin Peaks single is like eating Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, because I literally never know what I am going to get.

Most recently, on November 1st, they released “With You” and “Just Because.” Another thing that I love about Twin Peaks, is that they’re not afraid to write songs about the true emotions they feel as a result of, say, a troubling love life. Take, for example, these lines from “With You:”

Being with you, well its better than being alone.
Sometimes when I feel alright
and I ask you if you love me, can’t you lie?

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This is contrasted with the upbeat rock music that accompanies these discomforting lyrics. To me, this song is about trying desperately to impress a loved one who is not reciprocating the attention that is sometimes so essential to a healthy relationship. That may not be the band’s ‘intended’ message, but it certainly resonated with me in this way.

Another thing I admire about Twin Peaks is that I really get a sense that they are making the music that they want to make. In other words, they’re not producing music directed at a specific target audience that they know will net them tons of money in album sales and nationwide tours. This is just a group of friends having a good time together, and it just so happens that it has brought them more fame then they probably ever anticipated.

In the midst of their popularity, they manage to preserve that garage rock vibe that their fans know and love —  something that is so reminiscent of The Beatles during their underground days, or The Rolling Stones, or even The Kinks. Personally, I have seen Twin Peaks in concert a couple of times and, trust me, they are one of those bands that you absolutely have to see live if you hope to get the full effect of their music. This is one of my favorite bands because of the way that their music manages to put me in a better mode, be it whether I am enjoying them communally at a concert, or simply listening to them from the seclusion of my headphones.

— Noah Slowik, Fiction Editor & Music Blogger

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