This past Tuesday, fellow krcx'er Kyle and I made our way to the Hi-Dive to witness something that seems to be somewhat of a dying breed: a guitar driven indie rock band. In an age where the most prominent indie rock artists identify as solo artist, the college indie rock scene has strayed away from the collaborative groups that were leading the charge in the late 2000’s: Arcade Fire, Animal Collective, Radiohead, etc. This trend has become even more noticeable this year, with nearly all critically acclaimed indie rock albums being released by solo artists. So when we heard Lvl Up would be in town, we could not miss it.
Lvl Up is made up of Mike Caridi, Greg Rutkin, Dave Benton, and Nick Corbo, who all met at SUNY Purchase. Touring in support of their September release, Return To Love, the newly signed Sub-Pop group opened with the track, “The Closing Door”, and I was immediately impressed with how good their sound was. You can tell they have been playing together for some time now, with demos dating back to 2012 on their bandcamp page. Their set grew in energy, and reached its peak when they played “Pain”, also off Return To Love. The song builds behind guitarist Mike Caridi’s lyrics, but remains playful until it bursts open to Caridi’s guitar solo. The fact the Lvl Up does not rely on a frontman further contributes to their cohesion, and makes them even more enjoyable to watch. They are an all around talented group that continue to be on the rise.