It’s been a hell of a year for Chicago rock band Twin Peaks.
In the past 12 months, it’s released its third album, “Down in Heaven,” gone on extensive tours interspersed with festival appearances and recorded a live album, “Urbs in Horto.”
And in a sort of physical punctuation to these successes, the “Urbs in Horto” vinyl will be released Friday, which is also the day of the band’s appearance at Proud Larry’s in Oxford with Chicago’s Post Animal and Chrome Pony out of Nashville.
Chicago’s motto, Latin phrase “Urbs in Horto,” translates to “City in a Garden.” For Twin Peaks, this was reflective of the pockets of natural landscapes throughout the members’ home city. Known for its frenetic and sweaty live shows, it seemed like the right step for the band to channel that energy into a live record, according to vocalist and bassist Jack Dolan.
“Our live shows are probably one of the stronger things about our band,” Dolan said. “(The album) happened to be recorded over three of the best shows we’ve ever had in our hometown of Chicago, and it came out really well. … It was three straight days sold out back-to-back, which was great. It was a little victory lap for us because we had a good year.”
Dolan attests that Chicago’s music community had a huge influence on Twin Peaks as the members, who started the band around age 16, matured. When the four original members – Dolan, Cadien Lake James, Clay Frankel and Connor Brodner (Colin Croom was added more recently) – were still in high school, they started playing live and released their first album, “Sunken,” in 2013. They followed with “Wild Onion” in 2014, giving way to their growing career. In the releases following their first, the band’s sound has become cleaner and has spanned across genres. When it comes to live performances and the new live record, songs from “Sunken,” like “Irene” and “Boomers,” still persist.
“Over time, you kind of add stuff to them, or you just get tighter in general and more comfortable with them,” Dolan said. “At this point, we’ve been playing some of the songs for so long it’s kind of second nature to us.”
There are aspects of both punk and grunge in the band’s first two releases. 2016’s “Down in Heaven” offers something distinct. Edging on country rock and channeling rock-n-roll greats like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, “Down in Heaven” is a window into another facet of the band’s ability and propensity for constant change. Four band members contributed lyrics that are accepting of loneliness but still yearning for something more, interwoven with the feelings that come with growth. The album was recorded over a pair of two-week periods at a Massachusetts lake house.
“It gave us a lot of freedom and a lot more time than we were used to to finish what we had to do on a record like that,” Dolan said. “It was really beautiful, and the vibes were all there. We were on a big lake in a big wooded area and in a big house. We set it up all ourselves. … So it gave us all the freedom to kind of take our time with (the record) and make sure it was exactly how we wanted it. We had the best time we could.”
Twin Peaks will play in Oxford tonight as part of a tour through the South, whose notorious heat is a welcome change from the cold winds of Chicago. The show starts at 9 p.m.