August 18, 2015
That Was The Show That Was: Basement, Adventures, LVL UP, Palehound | Royale, Boston | 16 Aug.
[PHOTO CREDIT: Dillon Riley] Let us now take the measure of the fairly meteoric rise of Purchase, NY-spawned indie rock troupe LVL UP. While a known quantity 'round these parts for some time, the Exploding In Sound-affiliated group recently gained the attention of another perennial hit-maker in Boston's Run For Cover Records. RFC signed on to co-release the Empire State act's forthcoming, Fugazi-ly titled Three Songs 7" with EIS' Double Double Whammy imprint. The short set features, unsurprisingly, three songs, is slated for release Sept. 11, and -- based on the readily available stream -- sounds like another winner in what's shaping up to be a stellar discography for the band. LVL UP put its aural gold on full display Sunday, when it performed on one of the summer's hottest rock bills, and certainly the hottest for host venue Royale in recent memory. Not unlike Clicky Clicky eternal favorites Teenage Fanclub (or, we suppose, any three quarters of power-pop lifers Sloan), LVL UP presents the charms of three legitimate songwriting talents, adding a layer of anticipation to its already hotly anticipated performances.
LVL UP labelmates Palehound opened the show, promoting the release of its potentially world-conquering debut LP Dry Food. Although the boundless charm of Palehound's first releases does not seem to dim with age, it's clear that the more assured and nuanced Dry Food is a huge leap forward. Sunday evening fronter Ellen Kempner's cutting guitar work and graceful lyricism shone during a set highlighted by the start-stop dynamics of "Cushioned Caging" and the jaunty, psych-tinged guitar leads on "Cinnamon." The latter also served to emphasize Ms. Kempner's even-tempered, yet commanding stage presence. Her brief but pointed condemnation of aggressive harassment at a past show on Palehound's current tour underscored Kempner's growing comfort wielding her voice as a "public person," something raised in the uniformly glowing press surrounding the release of Dry Food, issued by Exploding In Sound just last week. While its big-sister band Speedy Ortiz has set the most recent and obvious precedent for a big Boston break-out, Palehound may have in its stellar LP just the munitions necessary for a similar assault on the overground.
Pittsburgh-based power-pop quintet Adventures batted third for the night, bringing to the stage an armful of tunes from its still-hot Run For Cover debut Supersonic Home. Much of the early buzz surrounding the group centered around its affiliation with the hardcore group Code Orange, with whom Adventures share three members. But Adventures more than stands on its own right. The fivesome trades in the sort of big-riff vulnerability favored by the standouts on Detroit's Salinas Records, yet with even bigger guitars and a fuller sound. All of which is set off by frontwoman Reba Meyers' otherworldly voice, one capable of chilling harmonies and show-stopping solo turns. The wholly captivating Supersonic Home was released by Run For Cover in February.
UK post-hardcore heroes (at least to the all-ages set -- Ed.) Basement closed out the night with a wide-ranging set that dipped into all three of its Run For Cover releases. While Colourmeinkindness remains as natural a document of RFC's formidable influence as any, it was the tunes off their most recent Further Sky EP that drew the most cheers from our camp. "Summer's Colour," the Failure-tastic lead track from the EP, proved a critical component of Basement's live set, as the pretty, ascending melodies in the chorus offered a brief, yet potent respite from the thrash. The Boston show was the penultimate night of Basement's three-week U.S. tour; it closed out the strand of dates last night in New York's Gramercy Theater. -- Dillon Riley
Basement: Facebook | Tumblaaaaaahh
Adventures: Facebook | Tumblaaaaah
LVL UP: Bandcamp | Facebook
Palehound: Bandcamp | Facebook