Last month, Brooklyn’s LVL UP released one of the year’s greatest indie rock records, Hoodwink’d. It’s a very-90s album of crunchy guitar pop, but with more personality on each track than most similar-sounding bands typically let out on a whole LP. There are meditations on such ever-relatable themes as feeling isolated, getting stoned alone, doing stuff with your friends, plus at least one ode to sincerity and at least one Silver Jews reference. At face-value, it aggressively recalls the scrappy college rock of decades past, but LVL UP are refreshingly rooted in the present. There’s an overtly sentimental bent to the lyrics that places the band right alongside the other young songwriters on the Double Double Whammy roster like Frankie Cosmos and Quarterbacks (the indie-pop-oriented label that half of LVL UP runs), while Hoodwink’d cut “DBTS” refers to “David Blaine’s The Steakhouse” (the presently active house venue where the other half of the band lives).
Today they make yet another nod to Brooklyn DIY of recent years with “Big Snow”, a title referring to the much-loved show space that abruptly closed last summer. (You might remember our coverage of the space.) “Big Snow” launches with an almost identical opening to the title track of Hoodwink’d, a good example of the self-referential wordplay that LVL UP’s songwriters like to mess around with. “I know I’ll never feel good about that train ride inside, or at the bottom of my spicy hot gumbo,” Dave Benton starts, balancing out a hyper-introspective sentiment with a funny bit about food. (Something else he’s known to do.) The track appears on a four-band split EP with Ovlov, Krill, and Radiator Hospital, to be released October 13 via Exploding In Sound and Double Double Whammy.