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Lloyd Cole


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Alternative pop

Status:

Most recent release, 1D Electronics 2012-2014 (2015)

See also:

Lloyd Cole's site

Comparisons:

Dylan, Leonard Cohen, the Smiths, Matthew Sweet

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

I'm a *huge* Lloyd Cole fan. I find his earlier stuff better than the later stuff (up to when he moved to New York). (Tim.Cook@Swift.Com)

As far as general style is concerned, Lloyd Cole is your basic underappreciated (in my opinion) singer-songwriter-guitarist. His lyrics are literate and more often directed toward love interests or other third parties than toward introspective concerns; by turns he plays the tortured romantic and the cynic. Musically, he doesn't really sound that close to anyone else, although one might claim certain resemblances to Dylan, Leonard Cohen, the Smiths, and Matthew Sweet. (Cole and Sweet have appeared on each other's albums now and then.) At any rate, the man's got an amazing way with a melody. (drumz@best.com)

Comments about live performance:

Lloyd Cole is, well, unextraordinary. He is virtually emotionless on stage and his songs lack energy and conviction. They are not offensive, they just are not impressive. For some reason, he has lots of fans, though. Don't know why. Lloyd started with an acoustic set with just himself and his guitarist (Neil)—this was pretty squarely in the "sensitive-new-age-depression-longing-singer-song-writer-balladeer-dreamer-a lmost-had-her-now-she's-gone-but-boy-was-it-almost-swell-while-she-was-here" genre, with little to no variation at all. All the songs were interchangeable to my ear. (11/98, mjmjminla@yahoo.com)

Recommended first album:

I'd recommend starting with 1984-1989 (for a good overview of the Commotions stuff), Lloyd Cole (if you prefer more straight-ahead "alternative" pop/rock), or Don't Get Weird on Me Babe (if you're intersted in the contrast between his rockier and mellower sides). (drumz@best.com)

Recordings:

  • Rattlesnakes (1984)
  • Easy Pieces (1985)
  • Mainstream (1987)
  • Collection (compilation, 1998)
  • 1984-1989 (compilation, 1989)
  • Lloyd Cole (1990)
  • Don't Get Weird on Me Babe (1991)
  • Bad Vibes (1993)
  • Love Story (1995)
  • The Negatives (2000)
  • Etc. (2001)
  • Collected Recordings (compilation, 2001)
  • Plastic Wood (2001)
  • Loaded: Live in New York (live, 2001)
  • Music in a Foreign Language (2003)
  • Rattlesnakes [Deluxe Edition] (2004)
  • The Singles (compilation, 2004)
  • Antidepressant (2006)
  • Broken Record (2010)
  • Selected Studies Vol. One (with Hans-Joachim Roedelius, 2013)
  • Standards (2013)
  • 1D Electronics 2012-2014 (2015)

Rattlesnakes

Lloyd Cole and the Commotions

Release info:

1984—Capitol

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Lloyd Cole—vocals, acoustic and electric guitars
Neil Clark—guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Blair Cowan—keyboards
Lawrence Donegan—bass
Stephen Irvine—drums, tambourine

Produced by:

Paul Hardiman

Comments:

A groundbreaking debut which many fans and critics still consider one of the finest albums of the eighties, Rattlesnakes takes a few simple pop formulas and updates them into something truly unique. (drumz@best.com)

Easy Pieces

Lloyd Cole and the Commotions

Release info:

1985—Capitol

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Lloyd Cole fans

Group members:

Neil Clark—guitar
Lloyd Cole—guitar, vocals
Blair Cowan—keyboards
Lawrence Donegan—bass
Stephen Irvine—drums

Comments:

More uneven and less well-produced than its predecessor, this is Cole's least favorite Commotions album as well as many of this fans'. There are still some terrific songs, but it's not the best place to start. (drumz@best.com)

Mainstream

Lloyd Cole and the Commotions

Release info:

1987—Capitol

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Lloyd Cole fans

Group members:

Neil Clark—guitar
Lloyd Cole—guitar, vocals
Blair Cowan—keyboards
Lawrence Donegan—bass
Stephen Irvine—drums

Guest artists:

Jon Hassell—trumpet
Nicky Holland—backing vocals, string arrangements
Tony Jackson—backing vocals
John Sloman—backing vocals
Fraser Speirs—harmonica
Tracey Thorn—vocals
Tommy Willis—lap steel guitar

Produced by:

Ian Stanley

Comments:

In which the Commotions rebounded and went out in the proverbial blaze of glory. Cole's melodic hooks here are hard to beat, especially on my favorite Commotions track of all, the powerful, bittersweet "Hey Rusty." (drumz@best.com)

1984-1989

Lloyd Cole and the Commotions

Release info:

1989—Capitol

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Neil Clark—guitar
Lloyd Cole—guitar, vocals
Blair Cowan—keyboards
Lawrence Donegan—bass
Stephen Irvine—drums

Comments:

This collects Lloyd Cole and the Commotion's nine singles and some other good songs and which is a great place to start, although it omits some of my favorites from that era. (drumz@best.com)

Lloyd Cole

Release info:

1990—Capitol

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Lloyd Cole—vocals, backing vocals, bass, guitar, harmonica, piano, synthesizer, horn arrangements, string arrangements

Guest artists:

Blair Cowan—drums, Hammond organ, synthesizer
Parker du Lany—backing vocals
Nicky Holland—backing vocals, horn arrangements, string arrangements
Sprague Hollander—guitar
Fred Maher—drums, guitar
Robert Quine—guitar
Dorathea Strauchen—backing vocals
Matthew Sweet—bass, guitar, backing vocals

Produced by:

Lloyd Cole, Paul Hardiman, Fred Maher

Comments:

A consistently strong solo debut with some of Cole's most biting lyrics to date. A couple highlights are "Downtown" (also featured on the Bad Influence soundtrack) and "No Blue Skies," which does a great job of boiling down the essence of Lloyd Cole into 4:11. (drumz@best.com)

Don't Get Weird on Me Babe

Release info:

1991—Capitol

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Lloyd Cole—vocals, bass, guitar, harmonica, organ, Hammond organ, piano

Guest artists:

Blair Cowan—accordion, guitar, harmonium, Hammond organ, piano
Bashiri Johnson—percussion
Jack Johnson—guitar
Fred Maher—drums, guitar, percussion
Robert Quine—guitar
Leland Sklar—bass
Matthew Sweet—bass, vocals
Carlos Vega—drums
Paul Buckmaster—arrangements, conductor

Produced by:

Lloyd Cole, Paul Hardiman, Fred Maher

Comments:

This is an interesting one: it rocks hard on side A, then introduces a full backing orchestra on side B. Despite one or two songs on the orchestral side that strike me as cheezy in much the same way as some of Cohen's recent stuff, this is still a solid offering. (drumz@best.com)

Bad Vibes

Release info:

1993—Ryko

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Lloyd Cole—vocals

Guest artists:

John Carruthers
Neil Clark
Anton Fier
Bob Hoffnar
Fred Kevorkian
Fred Maher
Peter Mark
Dan McCarroll
John Micco—bass, backing vocals
Adam Peters
Matthew Sweet
Ann Charlott Vengsgaard
Dana Vicek
Curtis Watt

Comments:

I don't really recommend starting with this one, which starts off with a bang but suffers a noticeable dropoff through much of side B. The US release at least adds some nice bonus tracks. Cole continues to prove himself one of the world's best songwriters. (drumz@best.com)

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Entry last updated 2016-05-22 20:06:58.
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