Monday, June 10, 2013

LVL UP "Extra Worlds" EP on Double Double Whammy records

This seven inch EP from LVL UP on Double Double Whammy Records is a near perfect example of how the early 90's can still be a valid and exciting approach for unclassifiable indie rock in the '10s. An EP like this that takes these kinds of chances on textures and process and that comes out the other side with a sketchy, flawless document sums up all the things I loved about tape deck recording and making it happen yourself. They have an appreciation for happy accidents and capturing that brief indescribable moment that you can't recreate with all the studios in the world. It's inspiring and catchy, full of possibility, like the greatest stuff from the Mountain Goats, Sebadoh, The Unicorns.

"Consistent" is rocketing off the rails with an honest indie sound, a couple guitars drums and bass for a wall of fuzzy melody. More than three power chords, it's just complex enough with with a hyped up tempo and rhythm that gets carried away with itself. These guys go one step further in their reckless abandon from a group hell bent on releasing all those demons from years past. It's been building up, working into a single minute that feels like 10, because things aren't so bad. Those manic releases of The Pixies or Lync when they go further than anything else. "Trial One" comes on with more reckless rock and a low end, slight echo vocal that captures summer, rolling around, windows down, but the real speed is still yet to come. This is the perfect balance of fast and fun, giving it their all and never in an obnoxious way. It slows incredibly down to nothing but the hum of cables and an acoustic, a slow vocal dirge. It turns into a thick wall of echo and distortion, power solos and bashed out drum cans. Like Blood on the Wall at a faster pace. Ends with a backwards underwater tape jam and God its been years since I've heard that kind of physical manipulation that reminds you it used to end up on a tape that can be played in its own way. On "Second Guess" its another remembrance of times long past, real hazy blur of a beautiful no-fi twister like the Space Needle cover of Sugar Mountain. No matter how many times I played it, there was always something new in the way the melody crept out of the static and fuzz. This is an equally exciting and creepy mess that's beautifully damaged like a kid who put on lipstick for the first time, just one of those moments you know you aren't going to get back. Pure unselfconscious creation, even more than a melody because you can't really 'hear' every aspect of this...its almost disappearing as you listen to it. A faded polaroid trapped in a cracked glass frame, a really nice song thats made even better being a tiny burst of perfection. Appreciate it. Thats what this says.

B-Side - "Graveyard" the beat is back with the best bass line, a vocal feedback rising and so far these guys are batting 1000 with the indie rock experiments that aren't forced or tread that same water. Its got tight manic spunk that's sloppy and aware. They can move from that to anything in a minute, laying out everything on this single. Here's just about everything we can do, let's go for broke, we might not even be around much longer we are a solar flare of pop. "Totally ruined" then is a slow jam with lots of production, a total surprise again, this can't all be from the same single? Something of a Bright Eyes sound that grabs hold in its quiet stillness, they don't have that vocal slap in the face, its more rolling over like Natural Child in quieter appreciation. A hint of organ under the vocals, always the right speed and feel with a focus on the kick drum when there's nothing else. LVL UP are all over the place in the best way hitting on all the lovable stuff in every sub genre.
"Fur" feels like the Microphones meets Real Estate? God this doubled up slow nylon string number already puts you half in tears. It picks up into a beautiful country song and tambourine rattling. High falsetto harmonies... what can't they do? Female harmony vocals and the moment is over as soon as it started. We're all here a too fucking brief of a time and you better make the most of it.

And if you listen to these tracks, you're going to want one of the last green copies of a full length they put out "Space Brothers", available over here!
Get this one from DDW direct, must have, going on a year end list for sure.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great release. Nice review.