Singles Going Steady: "I Don't Want To Check My Bank Account" by Louis Cole

"I Don't Want To Check My Bank Account" can most accurately be categorized as an 'anonymous-feeling' YouTube novelty. It's easy to consider its relatable message of...not wanting to check one's bank the most resonating concept found within the track and call it a day at that.  

But that's short-sighted. 

Am I IN LOVE with this 1:33 slice of Minneapolis-style Jimmy Jam? No. (In spite of listening to it 3 times in 5 minutes,) do I see myself listening to it tomorrow? I don't know, but probably, not. 

But, let me say this to Mr. Louis Cole and to all of you who happen to be reading this:

I've heard way worse — and way less groovy — by way more pretentious 'artists.'

And I will call it a day at THAT.

The Art of Tea by Michael Franks

art of tea.jpeg

The Art of Tea by Michael Franks

Flushed somewhere between the expert jazz rock of Steely Dan, Bob James and James Taylor's smoother craftsman-like moments lies Michael Franks.  And on his major label debut, 1976's The Art of Tea, Michael Franks sounds pretty damn convincing — especially if you're listening to him on a yacht!

The Art of Tea was released on the famous Warner Bros.' subsidiary, Reprise Records, which Franks was signed to after he made his first album on the Brut Record label (yes, friends, we are talking about a defunct label that was owned and operated by the discount cologne company. Hilarious.) 

Indeed, Franks was a perfect artist for Brut Records.  In some ways, he is absolutely a musical equivalent of that fragrance.  He is not unsophisticated and undeniably agreeable — though there is an element of evenness in his vocal delivery that makes him feel somewhat like a Central-Park-bootlegged version of some of his (frankly, better) major label contemporaries.  And that's probably why he never went gold or platinum on this higher-profile record.

But, truly, Franks is no slouch as a composer on Tea as evidenced by the musically imaginative and lyrical opener "Nightmoves," the breezy ballad "St. Elmo's Fire," and the should-have-been-minor-hits "Monkey See-Monkey Do" and "I Don't Know Why I'm So Happy I'm Sad."  And, boy, is he assisted marvelously by a truly platinum cast of supporting musicians: Larry Carlton, Joe Sample, David Sanborn, Michael Brecker — I mean, come on! 

Put simply, The Art of Tea pretty much sounds like the diet version of Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years (released one year prior in 1975.) Yet, Simon's album is a classic and was named 'album of the year' at the 1976 Grammy Awards.  So, truly, you could do well worse than listening to this absolutely-worthy, consistent cousin of an album, wonderfully delivered by Michael Franks. 

This Is: Fastball


A deliberate rip-off of the Spotify series of the same name, here is This Is: Fastball. Fastball, in my opinion, is Austin TX's finest modern rock band, but is criminally-overrated.  Best known for its hits "The Way," "Out of My Head," and "Fire Escape," This Is: Fastball contains all those hits and only scratches the surface with the essential album tracks.  Only an introduction to a seriously talented group, indeed.