Manic Productions and The Arc Agency Present:
LVL UP, I Kill Giants, Circle//Circle, For Everest
295 Treadwell St.
Hamden, CT, 06514-4140
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 7:15 PM
This event is all ages
Saintseneca’s powerful new album Such Things is the band’s most cohesive, catchy and accessible output, and a work that solidifies the group’s singer and songwriter Zac Little’s status as one of modern indie music’s most thoughtful and talented artists. The record is available now via Anti-.
The first single, “Sleeper Hold” is a pulsating and infectious rock song that utilizes elements of punk, folk and straight up rock and roll, all centered around a soaring and beautifully anthemic chorus.
Such Things is the anticipated follow up to Saintseneca’s acclaimed album Dark Arc, which Stereogum celebrated writing, “Dark Arc shines in all the ways Saintseneca always has — gorgeous harmonies, rampant strumming, glimpses of both humanity’s fragility and power — but it also finds the band branching out into fuller arrangements and wilder instrumentation. (Wilder, even, than the plastic trash can they used to beat on.) It’s what an underground folk band stepping into the spotlight should sound like.”
Moving away from the cinematic, linear quality of Dark Arc, Little sought even higher ground for the new songs, and to incorporate the synapses and charges of his fellow members. “I was pushing myself with Such Things to try to explore the pop motif further, to try to use and bend that formula of having a groove, a beat, locking in and using that as scaffolding to build a song,” he says. “And even though it oftentimes might seem like this singular vision, at the core my creative strategy for the band is one that inherently involves other people. I think the best work I’ll make involves working that way.”
Those disparate pieces and parts have come together, like so many molecules, to form a solid rock object called Such Things. You can hold it in your hands and hear it in your head, this culmination of tiny, beautiful moments and fluctuations of energy and information, compressed and etched into an LP sleeve and eternity and all tied up in a rock and roll record.
“It’s definitely a new way of songs manifesting, and it feels like a step forward,” Little says. “I’m gonna push myself and try this thing I’ve wanted to try. I think it’s the best thing we’ve done so far, but then again I won’t write a song that I don’t think isn’t the best thing I’ve done. When I finish it I have to feel like it’s the best thing I’ve made. And if I don’t feel that way, it’s like, why bother?”
“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.”
I Kill Giants
"For the last two years, these Boston math-pop-emo wizards have slung it on the road and at home with the likes of Enemies, Old Gray, Prawn, Giraffes? Giraffes!, Gulfer, and dozens of others, issued a split with Cerce, landed on the Topshelf 2013 sampler, and dropped their LP this past April on Broken World Media. But, like all good things, they must come to an end. No hard feelings, just life moving in directions as it does."
This will be IKG's last date on their final tour.
Circle//Circle began as a solo project for Emily Byram when she first started writing songs on ukulele. After singing Noah & The Whale songs together on their front porches, Emily learned that Kayla Bastos has the voice of an angel and asked her to join the project. The two started playing shows together and Kayla began to aid in songwriting. Over a year later, Emily asked guitarist Chris Cappello to join the band after she first saw a solo performance of his. Circle//Circle is now a ukulele driven New Haven based folk trio with dual-female vocals. Some songs encourage appreciation, productivity and acceptance; some express sadness, fear and revenge. You can listen to their debut full length album "Guts" for free online.
For Everest are an indie / emo band from NYC. Their debut EP, Last of the Dogstronauts, blends elements of pacific northwest indie rock with some modern emo touches to create 4 hook-filled and sincere songs over its runtime.