Twin Peaks are treading some less familiar territory this spring. Riding high off three landmark album releases within the past two years, the rising Chicago indie-rockers stop in Memphis on Thursday, March 29th, for a show at Growlers.
It'll be the first chance for a Memphis audience to catch the five-piece, who followed their breakout 2016 third album, Down in Heaven with the 2017 double live album Urbs in Horto and a series of limited-edition 7-inch sides (recently compiled and reissued by Fat Possum Records as Sweet '17 Singles, released last month).
That run of well-received creativity is paying off on the road.
"On this tour, it's been a lot of little towns and stuff that we don't really go to," says bassist and co-vocalist and songwriter Jack Dolan, speaking on the phone at a gas station outside Sioux Falls, South Dakota. "It's a lot of places we haven't been to or only been to once. Typically, on a tour like this, you kind of expect all the shows to be empty. It's not like we're selling out an arena in Nebraska, but it's encouraging. They're small venues, but we're packing them out."
The band has earned a reputation for a raucous live show, and the proof appears on Urbs in Horto, recorded at historic Chicago venues Metro and Thalia Hall. Titled after their hometown's motto, Latin for "City in a Garden," Urbs was a proud achievement for the band that got its start in Chicago's scrappy DIY house-show scene.
"The live album thing — I don't think we expected to do something like that, but you're trying to switch it up all the time and do stuff differently because the way music is these days, it's all over the place," Dolan says. "There are so many different lanes you can be in. So I guess it's all about keeping it fresh and keeping the fans happy."
The recent studio releases reveal the band pushing its boundaries in the studio and expanding its sonic horizons while proudly indulging influences ranging from the Stones to the Replacements, the Velvet Underground to Ty Segall.
"That's come from experience and doing this for a while," Dolan says. "We've been developing a sound that has changed a lot over the past five years or whatever, but we're in the zone where we're still just kind of learning about our own styles and honing that sort of thing because it's a lot of different personalities going on. So you just try to home in on the best parts of all our music."
After the current run of shows, the band will return to Chicago to demo songs for a new album that they hope to record in summer with longtime collaborator and producer R. Andrew Humphrey.
"We're all writing on our own, that's always been how we do it," Dolan says. "We'll bring an already done song or already thought-out song, and then we kind of build on it from there. That's where most of the collaboration comes from. That's when we're adding and building on a foundation, and we take it forward from that point.
"We still play a lot of stuff from the first record because a lot of those songs are still the best ones we play live. The shelf life is pretty long for any given song, and the scope of the set is our whole discography, which is nice."
While this will be Twin Peaks' first show in Memphis, the band's members, all in their early 20s, count the city's underground rock scene as an influence on their sound as well as on their approach to their career. In press interviews, they have mentioned late Memphis rocker Jay Reatard's singles on Matador Records as an inspiration for the Sweet '17 Singles series.
"Especially when we were starting off in high school and stuff, we were really into stuff like the Black Lips and Jay Reatard and that kind of garage-rock stuff," Dolan says. "The thing about those bands is they just kept putting out music kind of frequently, not worrying about cycles and stuff like that. Up to this point, we hadn't had the opportunity to do that kind of thing, so [Sweet '17 Singles] was a way to keep bringing it back to that. Because those bands are how we realized it was possible to put something out in a format like that."