Radio 1190 KVCU is now on the FM dial! Tune into 98.9 FM in Boulder and hear your new favorite artist. Spinning this week are three hot contenders. We have new records from Infinity Crush, Warpaint and LVL UP that are sure to delight you.
When I was in high school, liking "When We're Snow" by Infinity Crush was a strange token of emotional depth. I knew that if someone really dug "When We're Snow," there was a really good chance we were going to be friends; we were somehow joined together by our shared love for Caroline White's incredibly depressing bedroom folk. It's 2016, people, and Infinity Crush has come to rip our hearts out again. Caroline White returns (and brings Derrick Brandon along) for Infinity Crush's second full-length album, "Warmth Equation."
White is from Maryland and clearly shares its penchant for ambiance. "Warmth Equation" has elements pushed far back in the mix, slathered in reverb, wrapping tracks in haze like a foggy forest. This record is about relationships, but there are no bold declarations of love, no breakup songs, makeout songs or comeback songs. Rather, lyrics from "Warmth Equation" are the sorts of things you think about when you're alone, when you're riding public transit, when you're not quite sure of anything and not quite sure of what that means.
Some of these songs have been scattered online for years in fragments, demos and rough recordings. It's refreshing to hear the final version on "Warmth Equation." Some of the songs lose a bit of personality when transferred to a studio, but they are polished, definite and immediate. Are you having relationship troubles? You're not alone. Let Infinity Crush guide you through.
Warpaint have been riding high since their 2013 self-titled album. Performances on KEXP, extensive touring and the smash hit "Love is to Die" have all brought serious attention to the four-piece from Los Angeles (their label bought a billboard in downtown, for Christ's sake). Does their new album "Heads Up" live up to the hype?
Some songs clearly do. The title track is a five-minute banger with explosive basslines, calculated drumming and an incredibly singable hook. Other tracks are a bit more ambiguous. The record is definitely cool — it feels like a late-night drive through the deserted streets of your hometown's warehouse district: obfuscated, sensual and strangely fascinating.
The group is clearly on the same vibe as the Local Natives, but I'm more impressed with this release than the Natives' newly released "Sunlit Youth." Instead of resorting exclusively to synthesizers like the Local Natives, Warpaint employs tasty basswork, sharp guitar lines and a couple crunchy drum machines. The new record from Warpaint isn't better or worse than their self-titled one, but it's quite different. You might be impressed or you might be disappointed, but you'll definitely have an opinion. Set your dial to 98.9 FM to find out.
"Return to Love" by LVL UP begins with the track "Hidden Driver." The track feels like a misnomer for "Holland 1945" by Neutral Milk Hotel — they share nasty acoustic guitar distortion, similar vocals and the same whirlwind feel. However, this all fades on the second track, "Blur." This one definitely sounds like Guided By Voices, Built to Spill or Dinosaur Jr. As you continue through the record, LVL UP refuses easy comparisons by sounding like a hundred different bands. "Five Men on the Ridge" almost takes a Modest Mouse-like approach: bookend a sweet melody with walls of distorted sound at the beginning and end of the song.
There are a couple things that define LVL UP. All of the tracks on "Return to Love" share a '90s feeling, pay close attention to guitar work and use an effortless vocal style to give the record a careless swagger. If you check out the record and dig it, LVL UP will be performing at the Hi-Dive in Denver on Oct. 26.
"Return to Love" is a quintessential college rock record and will definitely be played on your favorite college rock station, Radio 1190 KVCU. Don't forget to set your car's No. 1 FM preset to 98.9 in Boulder, with 1190 AM still operating in Boulder and Denver.
Jarocki is Radio 1190's music director. Read more reviews: coloradodaily.com/columnists