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.
In light of season 2 of Stranger Things coming out this Friday, October 27th, I found it absolutely necessary to write a post about a new single from one of Chicago’s up-and-coming indie rock bands, Post Animal. For those of you who don’t know, a guitarist in the band, Joe Keery, stars as Steve Harrington in the enormously popular Netflix sci-fi drama. In a RedEye Chicago article, reporter Josh Terry characterizes the role as “one of the best characters on the show who could’ve fallen straight into the ‘80s douchebag, big-haired popular kid archetype, but manages by the end of the series to be one of the most likable figures.”
The thing that I admire about Post Animal is their ability to blend three distinct genres to create a sound so unique but totally awesome at the same time: heavy metal, psychedelic pop, and good ol’ fashion rock ‘n’ roll. This experimental type of music mirrors a similar level of creativity seen in other Chicago indie rock bands such as Whitney, The Walters (R.I.P), and Twin Peaks.
In addition, the fullness of their sound blew me away when I saw them open for The Walters this summer. From what I have experienced, having six or seven guys on stage at a time — at least three of them with electric guitars, mind you, all playing with their amps cranked past maximum — is generally rare in today’s indie rock scene.
If you have spent any of the last three years paying attention to the Chicago indie rock scene, then you’ve heard of The Walters. The band presents a unique spin on oldies music that sounds tremendously fresh among the mainstream alternative rock that you might hear on the radio today.
Their witty Bandcamp bio sums them up perfectly: just “5 hunks from Chicago.” Between 2014 and now, The Walters have celebrated the overwhelmingly positive reception of their only two LPs, Songs for Dads and Young Men. Earlier this year, they released their first ever stand-alone single, “She’s Gonna Leave You.” The song fares well among the band’s other most awesome jams, and it possesses that signature Walters flair that fans like me know and love. Although, I was not able to soak in the excitement of the release of a new Walters song for long before the band tweeted that they “have some unfortunate news to deliver.”
Last month — not long after “She’s Gonna Leave You” came out — this beloved Chicago indie rock band posted on all of their social media pages, “it saddens us to make this announcement, but the magic and inspiration that once drove us to collaborate as a group has left, and we feel it would be dishonest to continue forward with dynamic that doesn’t feel genuine.” Confusion. Shock. Heartbreak. These are a few of the emotions that I felt after reading this. It was like I was transported to high school and I was going through a bad breakup all over again.
What do you do if you’re one of Chicago’s top indie bands and you’re still coming off of releasing an incredibly successful debut LP from last year? Well, if you’re Whitney, then you release a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Gonna Hurry (As Slow As I Can),” along with another cover of a song called “You’ve Got a Woman,” by 70s Dutch psychedelic band, Lion. This is not the type of content that one would expect from a contemporary indie band. Upon further thought, however, it makes sense that this type of experimentation would earn Whitney such positive critical recognition. Releasing these covers shows their bravery and nuance in the scope of indie rock music being produced today.
Unsurprisingly, the covers have been initiating many listeners to respond about how pleased they are with the results of Whitney’s electrifying new releases. Reporter Alex Robert Ross states in a Noisey article, “Because Julian Ehrlich’s voice can hit highs that few other modern indie bands dare to reach for, Whitney sounds comfortable on both covers.” He calls the official music video for “You’ve Got a Woman” “sun-dappled in parts, retro, handsomely shot, and at home in a dive bar.” I can usually get behind the majority of the music that VICE promotes. I am glad that it seems like people are agreeing that these covers are amusing as opposed to just strange.
Do you love that soothing sound of The Beach Boys that makes you just want to soak up some sun on the beach with a few cocktails? If so, then you will love Summer Salt — an oldies revival band from Austin, TX. The trio is celebrating the success of what is only their third EP, which released on April 3rd of 2017, entitled So Polite. Even for those who are not huge fans of oldies music, their sound is bound to have listeners bobbing their heads to the silky smooth sound of three friends making some beautiful music together.
I would try and sum up their music myself, but fortunately they have a wonderful description of themselves on their Bandcamp webpage. They’re self-described as, “a rock’n’roll three-o of best pals. With influences of bossa nova and oldies. We create the perfect soundtrack for chillaxin’ by the pool.” Be sure to include Summer Salt on your next summertime playlist because their music is a must-have for any long road trips to the beach. They’re great tunes for kicking back with friends and escaping from the tribulations of the real world.
It was a pleasant surprise to discover that Hippo Campus released a brand new EP last week, even after they dropped their first full-length album just earlier this year. After listening to the lead track, “baseball,” one could say that the arrival of this EP came straight out of left field (pun intended).
This band — a band whose sound defines what it means to be indie rock in 2017 — from St. Paul, Minnesota has only been active since 2013, and their popularity has been on a steep incline ever since. They’ve played at festivals across the country including South by Southwest, Lollapalooza, and Bonnaroo, so they are definitely a band to keep on your indie rock radar.
If you haven’t heard of this indie-folk-rock band from Cleveland yet, I would highly recommend checking out The Lighthouse and the Whaler’s new single, “Paths,” on the streaming service of your choice. Similar to a few of the songs off their 2015 album, Mont Royal, the quartet packs high energy and palpable emotion behind their fast-paced sound in this brand new single.
The melody of this song (similar to their other greatest hits) contains a combination between high highs and low lows. The head banging melody of hard electric guitar, the harmonious background singers, and the powerful sound of a catchy drum beat create an incredible chorus which highlights the refrain of the song:
“I was lookin’ to find the path you took, I was lookin’ to find the ground you shook.”