New York lo-fi rockers LVL UP aren’t complicated. Their music is a unique concoction of distortion-coated guitars, thumping percussion, and melodies that are pulled from straight from the mid-90’s alterna-rock landscape. And they aren’t shy about their influences — in fact, across their albums, this sense of dense melodic rock permeates everything, right down to the searing riffage and tight rhythmic backbone. Formed in 2010 by Dave Benton and Mike Caridi while both were attending SUNY Purchase, LVL UP was originally intended as a way for the duo to record and share their own singular vision of what DIY bedroom pop could be. Shortly thereafter, they were joined by Ben Smith, Nick Corbo and Greg Rutkin, and the band got to work on writing and recording their debut LP, Space Brothers. But guitarist Ben Smith wasn’t long in the band, and in late 2012, he left LVL UP, leaving the remaining four members to record their sophomore album, Extra Worlds, a record that found them swaying back and forth between hi- and lo-fi aesthetics. We’ll hear more of their ragged indie rock when they release a split 7″ with fellow New York-based rockers Porches on November 26th via Birdtapes/Double Double Whammy.
On the latest single from that split, “Bad Blood,” the band blend reverb-soaked melodies and warped guitar riffs with percussive blasts and an ear toward indie rock history. There are traces of Mag Earwhig!-era Guided By Voices, as well as the manic rock attitude of Pavement’s Wowee Zowee. Brevity is also one of the band’s strong suits, with their songs tending toward the shorter end of the spectrum and utilizing an economy of sound and structure that you rarely hear these days. But it’s in these self-imposed confines that LVL UP find inspiration and a dogged determination to relive indie rock’s glory days. And if they keep producing songs like “Bad Blood,” then they are welcome to stay fixated on the past.
Beats Per Minute is pleased to premiere the latest single, “Bad Blood,” from Porches and LVL UP’s upcoming 7″ split.
LVL UP will find themselves heading out on the road at the end of the month, playing shows across the eastern half of the United States. Check out their full tour itinerary below.
Upcoming LVL UP Tour Dates:
11/29/2013 Brooklyn, NY @ Shea Stadium w/ Liam the Younger, Heeney
12/05/2013 Brooklyn, NY @ Big Snow Benefit w/ Porches, Krill, Baked, Lost Boy?, Bueno
01/02/2014 Pittsburgh PA @ The Smiling Moose w/ Adventures *
01/03/2014 TBA *
01/04/2014 Chicago IL @ The Beat Kitchen w/ Modern Baseball & The Hundred Acre Wood *
01/05/2014 Grand Rapids MI @ The Pyramid Scheme *
01/06/2014 Colubmus OH @ KOBO
01/07/2014 Nashville, TN @ Hi Watt ^
01/08/2014 Chattanooga, TN @ JJ Bohemias ^
01/09/2014 Athens, GA @ Caledonia Lounge ^
01/10/2014 Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight ^
01/11/2014 Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter ^
01/12/2014 Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 ^
01/14/2014 Washington, DC @ The Black Cat ^
01/15/2014 Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live (Upstairs) ^
01/16/2014 Boston, MA @ Great Scott ^
01/17/2014 Hamden, CT @ The Space ^
01/18/2014 Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right ^
* w/ Pity Sex & Self Defense Family
^ w/ Saintseneca