By JOE COSCARELLIJAN. 25, 2017
Let the warm layers of fuzz engulf you while the melodies wiggle out from beneath a blanket of noise. That’s the dependable specialty of LVL UP and Cloud Nothings, two young, guitar-led bands that are children of ’90s alternative rock (Neutral Milk Hotel, Built to Spill, Nirvana), but not strict revivalists, borrowing also from later waves of pithy, loud, often self-loathing emo and pop-punk.
Born of house shows and D.I.Y. spaces, both groups have graduated to larger clubs — they play Webster Hall together on Wednesday, Feb. 1 — and cleaner recordings of late. LVL UP’s third album, “Return to Love,” was its debut last year for the eminent indie label Sub Pop, while the fourth LP from Cloud Nothings, “Life Without Sound,” has a more professional sheen without sacrificing scrappiness. Lo-fi, after all, can be a state of mind.