Rock music is in a sorry state. The genre has become stagnant on the commercial side (the Killers, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance), and the few artists doing something different on the independent side (Deerhoof, Menomena) are ultimately too “weird” to shift serious units. Sure, bands like the Shins or the Arcade Fire will break through occasionally, but that’s a case of a band exceeding predetermined boundaries. What rock music needs is more commercially viable artists pushing the genre forward-let’s face it, Radiohead releasing a few albums each decade isn’t going to cut it. Pop Levi can be one of those artists.
Nobody is putting out music like Pop Levi’s right now. Levi calls his sound astral rock ‘n’ roll-much catchier than the more descriptive psych-glam-garage-blues-rock fusion. If you need an artistic point of reference, think Prince meets Marc Bolan mixed with probably a bit too much Syd Barrett for his own good. It’s not the most unusual group of influences, but Levi works them into a sound all his own.
Infectious up-tempo numbers like “Sugar Assault Me Now” and “Pick-Me-Up Uppercut” show that Levi has some ready-for-primetime swish in his step, especially the latter, with its overt sexuality. He seems equally comfortable with his acoustic, strumming some contemplative tearjerkers like “Skip Ghetto” and “From the Day That You Were Born,” and he has enough soul to pull off blues-funk tracks like “Blue Honey” and “Hades’ Lady.” This is to say that Pop Levi can do it all, and do it all well.
And he’s a character, to boot: The son of a Jewish doctor, Levi was born in London, lives in L.A. and has aspirations for the nomadic life. He’s also given to grandiose statements (“My music is future pop”) and androgyny. The bottom line: Pop Levi’s a star in the making.