Torontonians are generally polite and unassuming, which is probably why a bunch of city residents didn’t know how to react one morning when local musician Jon Levine and his band set up on their lawns for an unsolicited, impromptu performance.
Necessity is the mother of invention, so lacking a record deal or a video budget, the project was a cheap way to get some attention—and not always positive, as testified by the end of the clip. In typical T-Dot fashion, most citizens seemed confused, but tolerated the temporary concert in their personal space.
Hailing from Thornhill, U of T music grad Levine (a.k.a. Rabbi) is a co-founder of The Philosopher Kings and has produced and/or written for Esthero, jacksoul, Jelleestone, Nelly Furtado and Michie Mee. His solo project was originally scheduled for an independent release this summer to follow the catchy single “Hot Girls” (available on iTunes), but a revised date hasn’t yet been announced.
The full album, which is streamed on his website, has more hooks than a pirate convention, but is most charming in its insight into Levine himself. “Hot Girls” echoes the ego-crushing frustration of approaching the fairer sex, and any touring musician can relate to the crushing loneliness that can come with life on the road in the brilliant “Nobody” (“Groupies, award shows, pagers and cell phones / I don’t wanna be lonely no more”).
Still, much of the music has a jovial spirit consistent with playing unannounced concerts on random people’s lawns, and while we haven’t been impressed with most of the stuff coming out of the mainstream labels, we still have to wonder: how can this guy not have a major record deal?