LVL UP announce tour and album stream

LVL UP announce new tour dates with Cloud Nothings and Palm

LVL UP is 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. This year they released their debut album for Sub Pop Return to Love. along with an announcement of new tour dates with Cloud Nothings and Palm, the band is streaming the album in it’s entirety.

“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.”

“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.”


1. Hidden Driver
2. Blur
3. She Sustains Us
4. Spirit Was
5. Pain
6. The Closing Door
7. Five Men on the Ridge
8. Cut from the Vine
9. I
10. Naked in the River with the Creator

1/27 Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace *
1/28 Montreal, QC @ Théâtre Fairmount *
1/30 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer *
1/31 Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club *
2/1 New York, NY @ Webster Hall *
2/3 Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar *
2/23 Lakewood, OH @ Mahall’s ^
2/24 Lansing, MI @ Mac’s Bar ^
2/25 Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen ^
2/26 Madison, WI @ The Rathskeller (University of Wisconsin) ^
2/27 Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry ^
2/28 Omaha, NE @ Milk Run ^
3/2 Denver, CO @ Lost Lake Lounge ^
3/3 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court ^
3/5 Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey ^
3/6 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios ^
3/8 San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill ^
3/9 Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo ^
3/10 La Jolla, CA @ Che Café ^
3/11 Phoenix, AZ @ VIVA PHX ^
3/13 Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf ^
3/15 – 17 Austin, TX @ SXSW
3/19 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade (Purgatory) ^
3/20 Durham, NA @ Duke Coffeehouse ^

* w/ Cloud Nothings
^ w/ Palm


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