Brooklyn-based boys LVL UP have been slowly building up their notoriety for a while–and now it seems as though it’s all paid off. On July 13, they announced that not only are they releasing a new album (their first in years,) but they have signed to indie rock giant Sub Pop, and will be releasing the album, entitled Return to Love, through the label on September 23.
Along with this announcement came the first single off the album, an up-tempo and bitter jam called “Pain.” A song about the jealousies of watching someone you once cared about shack up with someone else, the lyrics “Will you forget or will you regress/the demons run rampant inside your head” suggest a bittersweet mixture of caring and disdain, one that most listeners will certainly be familiar with. In direct contradiction to the album’s title, the refrain to this song is a repeated “never find love,” which halfway through is overcome by a wave of crashing guitars and drums, until the vocals are obscured completely in the fuzz and static, and the song ends. Not only does this song fit in perfect LVL UP character–I once, while viewing one of their (incredible) live performances, watched the same guitarist drag the ragged edge of a key across his strings–but the fact that it fits so well largely quells a fear that their current listeners may have: that their signing to Sub Pop may in some way detract from the DIY sound LVL UP fans know and love. “Pain,” in all its angsty glory, comes as a reassurance that the boys in the band are staying true to their sound no matter their scale.