LVL UP

Soda Jerk Presents

LVL UP

Medic, Roommates (CO)

Wed, October 26, 2016

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$10.00 - $12.00

This event is 18 and over

LVL UP
LVL UP
"Hidden Driver," the opening track of LVL UP's third album and Sub Pop debut Return to Love, never stops moving. What starts with unassuming guitars and vocals adds new lines, depths, and intensity, until its unrestrained, triumphant finish. "God is peeking, softly speaking," repeats the chorus, working through the relationship between spirituality and creative inspiration, and introducing a band that is always pushing further.

LVL UP – guitarists Mike Caridi and Dave Benton, bassist Nick Corbo, and drummer Greg Rutkin – is a true collaboration, a band that takes the stylistically distinct ideas of four members and brings them together into something new. Caridi, Benton, and Corbo write and sing equally, bringing their work to the group to be fully realized, resulting in an album built on different perspectives but a common drive.

"We have very different inspirations across the board," says Benton, noting his own admiration for the writer and documentarian Astra Taylor, Corbo's interest in the mystical and the occult, and Caridi's attention to personal storytelling. The music itself grows from a shared melodic and experimental sensibility, as well as a nod to iconic influences like Neutral Milk Hotel and Mount Eerie. But each songwriter has a different vision every step of the way, and there isn't always alignment–it shouldn't make sense, but in the end it does.

LVL UP was formed in 2011 at SUNY Purchase as a recording project between Caridi, Benton, and their friend Ben Smith, with the original intention of releasing a split cassette with Corbo's then-solo material. They instead released that album, Space Brothers, as one band, and Rutkin joined shortly afterwards for the group's first show. Smith left the band for personal reasons just before the release of second album Hoodwink'd, a joint release on Caridi and Benton's label Double Double Whammy and Exploding in Sound. DDW also put out records from other artists in the tight-knit community that launched the band.

"There's not really a town associated with the school, so there's no bar or club that you could go play in easily," says Corbo. "But there was a student center on campus that was all student run. That was a great place to play, and also take care of a lot of practical issues like a place to put your stuff and a place to practice weekly. It was almost like an incubator situation for us and a lot of other bands – it gave us a little bit of experience and confidence, so it wasn't as scary when we decided to go on tour for the first time."

Also part of that university community was Return to Love's producer Mike Ditrio, who mixed LVL UP's previous records and "was basically a fifth member of the band," says Corbo. "He played a huge role in developing the sound, without butting in too much. He also navigated our personal dynamic really nicely."

That sound is marked by reverb, harmony and tape distortion, with a keen balance of pop and experimentation. From the fast yet flowing lines of "Blur" to the all-consuming wall of guitar in "The Closing Door," each song pushes and pulls in compelling, unexpected ways. There's deliberation as well as spontaneity – the latter developed with the help of a song-a-day project, which pushed Caridi and Corbo to write and record full songs in a single day. Some of that material, including "Naked in the River with the Creator," made it onto the album.

"I ultimately made this half-drone, half-really loud guitar song, because it was an idea I had floating around in my head but never got around to doing until I had to write a song in a day," says Corbo. "The thing that pulled me through was grasping onto words and images, but instead of pulling from an infinite sea of all the images that you could pull from, it's easier to constrict yourself a little bit."
Medic
Medic
Very few rock bands are capable of wowing people right out of the gate. It usually starts with a half recorded demo here, another half recorded demo there, empty bars, empty promises and then you finally get to the good stuff.

In February 2011, four young men who were tired of such a pattern gathered in an empty church to discuss their dreams, aspirations and what they were going to do about it. The idea was to create the music they've always wanted, spend all the money they had and make the best music they've ever been apart of.

The group enlisted producer Michael Rossback to help them craft the sounds that they were striving for and to help the songs come to life. "The whole thing was a big experiment. None of us had worked with a producer before and the biggest thing was, the band had yet to even play music together in a room." says Aaron Wagner, the groups frontman, "when we got to Rossback we had only laid ideas down piece by piece in a computer, never anything more. Rossback would then make us play everything as a live band when we arrived at his house and that's when things came to life. There was a chemistry and sense of trust between us all."

August rolled around and after months of working, Medic had finished their first EP. Five songs that had stolen the very breath away from all who would hear and with a developed sound that felt like they had been around for 10 years, the band started to play around the Denver area with the intent to stun the audience. They are succeeding. Bassist Drew Barnard explains: "We went in to this just wanting to make music with hope. Music that made people feel like they were understood and the shows feel like that; like we are reaching an understanding between us and the audience that hope is alive and well."

"In the midst of the trials that we go through these days, I think we are just tired of the same old. Anyone can make art these days. It's so accessible to make and promote and yet most of it is so negative. It was wearing on us. Medic is about something new, we are about creating a community of thinkers, dreamers and believers that aim for something positive. This world will continue to fall apart if we keep talking about how it's falling apart. But what if we dare to be the people to figure out ways to put things back together? That's our platform. That maybe our music can be apart of someones healing process and spread from there." says Aaron.

So maybe it is time for something new. New songs to sing, new dreams to dream. Maybe Medic is formed out of four guys who might be what we call idealists. But maybe it's time for us to leave the cynicism behind and begin to embrace hope.

Maybe it's time for a new beginning. Let us welcome, Medic.
Roommates (CO)
Roommates (CO)
Based out of Aurora, Colorado, Roommates was formed in 2012 as a project strongly influenced on the angst and emotions of such bands as The Dangerous Summer and Angels and Airwaves. New influences and experimentation slowly shifted the band into the likes of shoe-gaze, noise rock, post rock, and alternative. Writing, recording, and many shows played throughout 2014 lead up to two single releases, both of which the band recorded and produced themselves using equipment at University of Colorado Denver.

After a brief hiatus from 2015 to 2016, as well as the introduction of two new members, the influences of Roommates continue to expand. The band has come together stronger and more ambitious than ever to bring the loud and exciting live shows like the Denver local scene is missing. New music and their debut album will be arriving throughout 2016.
Venue Information:
Hi-Dive
7 S. Broadway
Denver, CO, 80209
http://www.hi-dive.com/