LA native and one half of the band Knower, Louis Cole has been releasing music, with and without his musical partner Genevieve Artadi, since his graduation from the jazz studies program at USC in 2009. With a seriously devoted cult following, Cole’s success has stemmed organically from his relatable lyrics and his frenetic bass and drum lines.
A one-and-a-half minute YouTube video entitled “Bank Account” became a runaway hit for Cole, scoring Knower a support slot on The Red Hot Chili Peppers 2017 world tour. Also in 2017, Knower’s track “Dance of Doom” delighted movie theater janitors the world over, scoring a slot at the very end of the credits of the LEGO Ninjago Movie. Knower has even earned respect from Grammy winning jazz ensemble Snarky Puppy, performing original songs with the group on their album Family Dinner, Vol. 2.
Louis Cole’s new solo LP, Time, ranges from contemplative to downright funky, with a marked propensity for video game style synth and complicated bass lines. Through this disparate union runs an undeniable thread of pure cool, with legitimacy lent by Cole’s talent for improvisation. Chock full of sarcastic wit, the album is rife with such gems as the balladic “After the Load is Blown,” an emotional track employing a questionable metaphor, and the catchy “Trying Not to Die,” which cheerfully highlights the daily struggle of staying alive. With self-deprecating flair, “When You’re Ugly” reminds us to “fuck the world and be real cool,” regardless of how we look.
Throughout the album, Cole pulls no punches when it comes to showcasing his considerable jazz chops, even bringing in such luminaries as bassist Thundercat and jazz pianist Brad Mehldau on tracks like “Tunnels in the Air” and “Real Life.” Overall, Time is a genius collection of tracks, overspilling with funky beats, hard truths, and just the right amount of snark.
If you’re still sleeping on Louis Cole, it’s about time you woke up. As his rabid fan base may tell you, his combination of the total artistic freedom of jazz and the familiar aches of millenial existence is something to behold. With a fall US tour on the horizon, Cole is sure to be gracing a venue near you soon.