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Lloyd Cole

Through both his lauded work fronting the Commotions and his more eclectic solo efforts, Lloyd Cole established himself as one of the most articulate and acute songwriters of the post-punk era. Born January 31, 1961, in Buxton, England, Cole formed the Commotions in 1982 while studying philosophy at the University of Glasgow. Originally a large soul band, the group eventually trimmed itself down to a quintet that included keyboardist Blair Cowan, guitarist Neil Clark, bassist Lawrence Donegan, and drummer Stephen Irvine.

The uncommon quality of Cole's songwriting earned the Commotions a contract with British Polydor, and in 1984, they debuted with Rattlesnakes, a wry, heartfelt record of jangling guitar pop stuffed with references to the likes of Jules et Jim, Simone de Beauvoir, Norman Mailer, and On the Waterfront; "Perfect Skin," the shimmering first single, reached the U.K. Top 30. Produced by the hitmaking team of Alan Winstanley and Clive Langer, 1985's Easy Pieces was a slicker effort that included the singles "Lost Weekend" and "Brand New Friend," both of which earned significant airplay on alternative radio outlets.

Following the release of 1987's Mainstream, Cole disbanded the Commotions and moved to New York City to establish himself as a solo performer. There he joined forces with noted session drummer Fred Maher, who enlisted ex-Voidoid Robert Quine on guitar and an up-and-coming singer/songwriter named Matthew Sweet to play bass for Cole's eponymously titled 1990 solo debut, which continued much in the vein of his work with the Commotions. Released in 1991, Don't Get Weird on Me, Babe marked a major artistic shift, as the entire second half of the album explored lush, string-sweetened cabaret music, arranged by Paul Buckmaster (known for his work with Elton John and the Rolling Stones).

Commercial success continued to elude Cole, however, and it took 1993's Bad Vibes -- a diverse effort touching upon psychedelia and electronics -- a year to find U.S. distribution. By the time of 1995's Love Story, his sound had come full circle; a return to the more minimalist, folk-rock-inspired work with the Commotions, the LP not coincidentally marked Cole's reunion with the band's guitarist, Neil Clark. The new millennium sparked a new union for Cole, for his 2001 album The Negatives not only showcased the album's namesake, but the name of his new band. Collaborations with Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne, Ivy), Jill Sobule, and Michael Kotch (Vitamin C, Eve's Plum) were featured on the new record, as well as production credits from Stephen Street (the Smiths, Blur). Extensive touring followed. During the same year, Cole released two lower-key albums of solo material: Etc (Lost Songs, Tunes 1996-2000) and the entirely instrumental, electronic Plastic Wood.

Cole resurfaced in 2004 with the understated Music in a Foreign Language LP. Recorded largely at home, the album featured a cover of Nick Cave's "People Ain't No Good." In 2006, Anti-Depressant -- in which Cole compellingly dealt with the positive and negative aspects of aging -- was released. Broken Record followed four years later. The 2013 album Standards was co-funded by fans and featured contributions from Fred Maher and Matthew Sweet. He released an interesting electronic record, Selected Studies, Vol.1 in March 2013 with the Krautrock legend Hans-Joachim Roedelius. It received favorable reviews and provided another unique chapter in Cole's distinguished career. The following year, Cole curated Kollektion 02, a retrospective compilation of Roedelius' music. In 2015, Cole released 1D Electronics 2012-2014, a collection of solo modular synthesizer experiments originally recorded for his collaboration with Roedelius. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Broken Record

1. Like A Broken Record

2. Writers Retreat!

3. The Flipside

4. Why In The World

5. Westchester County Jail

6. If I Were A Song

7. That's Alright

8. Oh Genevieve

9. Man Overboard

10. Rhinestones

11. Double Happiness

x

Track List: Antidepressant

1. The Young Idealists

2. Woman In A Bar

3. Nyc Sunshine

4. Antidepressant

5. I Didn't See It Coming

6. How Wrong Can You Be?

7. Everysong

8. I Am Not Willing

9. Travelling Light

x

Track List: Plastic Wood

1. Omni 7th

2. Sim Trees

3. 4 Train

4. Velvet

5. Headlights

6. Dry Ice

7. Plastic Wood

8. After Before And After

9. B-Mushroom

10. Out Time

11. On Ice

12. The Beach

13. Glass Jar

14. Park West

15. Manhattan Chase

16. Afterthought

17. Post Script

18. Machinist

x

Track List: The Negatives

1. Past Imperfect

2. Impossible Girl

3. No More Love Songs

4. What's Wrong With This Picture?

5. Man On The Verge

6. Negative Attitude

7. Vin Ordinaire

8. Too Much E

9. Tried To Rock

10. That Boy

11. I'm Gone

x

Track List: Love Story

1. Trigger Happy

2. Sentimental Fool

3. I Didn't Know That You Cared

4. Love Ruins Everything

5. Baby

6. Be There

7. Unhappy Song

8. Like Lovers Do

9. Happy For You

10. Traffic

11. Let's Get Lost

12. For Crying Out Loud

x

Track List: So You'd Like To Save The World

1. So You'd Like To Save The World

2. For The Pleasure Of Your Company

x

Track List: Don't Get Weird On Me, Babe

1. Tell Your Sister

2. Weeping Wine

3. To The Lions

4. Pay For It

5. The One You Never Had

6. She's A Girl And I'm A Man

7. Butterfly

8. There For Her

9. Margo's Waltz

10. Half Of Everything

11. Man Enough

12. What He Doesn't Know

x

Track List: Standards

1. California Earthquakes

2. Women's Studies

3. Period Piece

4. Myrtle And Rose

5. No Truck

6. Blue Like Mars

7. Opposites Day

8. Silver Lake

9. It's Late

10. Kids Today

11. Diminished Ex

Comments

Report as inappropriate
No mention of the Lloyd Cole and the Negatives ? Fantastic album hard to find I am very fortunate to have it, well worth a listen.
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cheerful looking fellow...
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I would be less had I not found him
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dbex,,,did you try Llyod Cole and the Commotions?
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dbex99
How is Rattlesnakes not part of the Pandora catalog? This makes me sad.
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Good to see he's still touring, just did small tour in England with a full band. Now onto a smaller solo tour. Must see him this year.
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richardpeck8
I'm happy to have been following LC since Rattlesnakes was released. I personally have 13 'albums' in my collection, plus innumerous bootlegs from live venues. Under-rated is an under-statem e n t !
Report as inappropriate
Great song writer and a very good singer. Great Thinking music
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It's like everything he writes is catchy and infectious.
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lewbru2230
his early solo work shouldn't be missed by any lloyd fans. right after the commotions. buy lloyd cole's "lloyd cole" released in 1990 NOW! it's brilliant.
Report as inappropriate
Where are all the other albums? I know he made more than these three...
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I agree, massively underrated. How would I ever have known about Lloyd if it weren't for my ex-boyfriend ? He's amazing. Such soft and contemplativ e tunes. One of this days I'll read Norman Mailer too.
Report as inappropriate
Where is his 1991 album at? Why isn't that here?
Report as inappropriate
dds3434
Lloyd Cole is SO underrated

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