Photo by Shawn Brackbill
A year-and-a-half ago, New York’s LVL UP was on the verge of breaking up. After two albums, a few tours, and a DIY label to their names, the four members were spent, done with spending their post-college days toiling for a small piece of the music pie. But a band meeting resulted in a more ambitious and possibly achievable goal: get signed to Sub Pop, onetime home to Nirvana, Fleet Foxes, Beach House, and more.
The crazy thing is, it worked. Demos and LVL UP’s raucous live shows convinced the legendary label to release Return To Love. The album perfectly slots in with Sub Pop’s past, echoing Built To Spill and Dinosaur Jr., but it’s not a simple retread. LVL UP sounds like it’s unburdened with expectations, free to stretch out and carve its own path. Demons and white noise populate songs like “Pain,” but each guitar solo is an open window. It sounds like the band is having fun again.
“Pain” appears on Return To Love, out now via Sub Pop.
–Art Levy // host, Sundays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., producer, My KUTX