In Scene Report, musicians from all over the globe fill us in on what’s going on sonically in their hometowns. This week, Cadien Lake James of Twin Peaks gives us the scoop on Chicago, IL with a little help from his bandmates. Twin Peaks’ new album, Sunken, came out July 9 via Autumn Tone and you can grab the track “Stand In The Sand” on this month’s CMJ Mixtape.
Chicago’s music scene is far more dense then the national media gives it credit for—the central/near-west neighborhoods (Logan Square, Wicker Park, Humboldt Park) of the city are home to a number of like-minded people, bands and musicians that put on shows in their basements, backyards, garages, warehouses, lofts… essentially any room large enough to hold a band and at least 10 people. I think a lot of the charm of Chicago’s band scene comes from the lack of industry in Chicago; unlike New York or L.A., in Chicago bands don’t really have this stigma or expectation in the back of their minds that they could blow up and get signed at any given show they play, which reduces any competition that might be present behind the curtain and encourages bands to be collective, collaborative, close, and friendly with one another.
It’s all bubbling over right now, too—between the success of Chicago’s sports teams lately, the eye on the city due to the explosion of Chicago hip-hop (Chance The Rapper, Chief Keef, King Louie, Katie Got Bandz, MC Tree), and the growth of Chicago summer festivals (though national awareness focuses on the Lollapalooza and Pitchfork festivals in Chicago, the city voted Riot Fest the best festival this year in the Reader’s poll, introducing yet another big name to the fold), Chicago’s culture is swelling right now and the excitement is really easy to feel.
Next page: Bands Worth Watching