Photo by Doug Seymour
Former Commotions leader Lloyd Cole returns to more electric sounds this summer with the release of Standards, a new 11-track album that finds the singer-songwriter reuniting with part of the team — Matthew Sweet on bass and co-producer/drummer Fred Maher — behind Cole’s 1990 self-titled solo debut, the so-called “X” album.
The album — recorded in Los Angeles, New York and Easthampton, Mass., with the help of funding from Cole’s fans — is due out June 21 in Europe and June 24 in the U.K. on Tapete Records, according to Cole’s website, with release dates in the rest of the world still to be determined.
The record opens with a cover of “California Earthquake,” popularized by Mama Cass, then features 10 original songs, many drawn from years’ worth of notebooks filled with fragments of song ideas. After a decade of recording acoustic and folk-based music, Cole also decided it was time to revisit his rock roots.
In the announcement of the new album, Cole says:
“I wanted to make an album with a small fixed palette of sounds, like a Van Gogh, like Highway 61, I like a record to have a sound. The format is supposedly dead, but I still want to make albums. Not bunches of songs — albums. With the technology available today you can have any sound you want and you can easily get sidetracked. For the last 10 years I’ve been primarily an acoustic musician but on this album there’s only one acoustic guitar. This is an album for electric guitars, bass and drums, with some piano and a synthesizer. Not monochrome, then, but not ever-changing either: it has a sound.”
To achieve that sound, Cole enlisted Sweet and Maher, who both worked on Lloyd Cole and its 1991 follow-up Don’t Get Weird On Me Babe. Also assisting: Joan Wasser of Joan As Policewoman on piano and backing vocals, plus Commotions keyboardist Blair Cowman and Cole’s own son Will, among others.
Cole says: “I believe you should allow the songs to be boss, and the songs were saying, You need to make a rock record — or at least a pop record with a rock ’n’ roll band.”
Tracklist: Lloyd Cole, Standards
1. “California Earthquake” (written by John Hartford)
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”
PREVIOUSLY ON SLICING UP EYEBALLS
- Vintage Video: Lloyd Cole & The Commotions in Munich, 1985 — watch full 40-minute set
- Lloyd Cole reunites ‘X’ album collaborators Matthew Sweet, Fred Maher for new record
- Stream: Lloyd Cole with Matthew Sweet, Robert Quine — BBC session, 1990
- Milestones: Lloyd Cole and Commotions’ ‘Rattlesnakes’ released 26 years ago today
- Lloyd Cole makes ‘Writers Retreat!’ video, sets ‘Broken Record’ fall tour of Europe
- Lloyd Cole releasing ‘Broken Record,’ first full-band album in a decade, this fall
- Lloyd Cole releases Small Ensemble acoustic CD, begins work on next album