LOS ANGELES, Calif. — “I believe you should allow the songs to be boss,” said Lloyd Cole in discussing the muse behind his new album Standards. “And the songs were saying, ‘You need to make a rock record.’”
It’s been 30 years since Lloyd Cole appeared on the radar of music fans around the world with his band, The Commotions, and their stunning debut, Rattlesnakes. Cole has kept busy, releasing solo albums since 1990, and Omnivore Recordings will release to present his latest, Standards, in the U.S. on September 30, 2014.
Though he’d never be so gauche as to suggest it himself, Cole has enjoyed something of a renaissance with Standards (see raves below), a gloriously electric rock ’n’ roll record that fans and critics alike have hailed as his best work since Rattlesnakes. However, Standards was originally only available overseas. Now Omnivore is correcting that by offering the title here on CD and LP (with download card). A Limited Edition album will be available on clear vinyl, with black to follow.
Recorded in late 2012 to early 2013 in Los Angeles, New York and at his home in Massachusetts, the album is produced by Lloyd and mixed by maverick German producer Olaf Opal. All songs are by Lloyd Cole apart from “California Earthquake,” which was written by American folk artist John Hartford.
Inspired in part by the vitality he found in septuagenarian Bob Dylan’s acclaimed 2012 album Tempest, says Cole: “I took it as a kick up the backside . . . I had spent much of the 2000’s focused on making age appropriate music, and I’m happy with those albums, but listening to Bob — I don’t think he knows how old he is. And I wondered what might happen if I didn’t worry about it. Well, this is what happened.
The band Lloyd assembled for Standards comprises Fred Maher (Lou Reed, Material, Scritti Politti) on drums and Matthew Sweet on bass reforming the rhythm section from Lloyd’s debut solo album, 1990’s Lloyd Cole and its follow-up Don’t Get Weird On Me Babe.
With Joan (As Police Woman) Wasser on piano/backing vocals, and Cole not only singing but playing synths amidst some of the crispest, stormiest, most stinging electric guitar, it’s a tight ship with a tight sound that tautens and relaxes according to the temper of the song. Augmenting the basic band are Lloyd’s son Will, Mark Schwaber and Matt Cullen on guitars, Commotions keyboardist Blair Cowan, percussionist Michael Wyzik and, from Cole’s post-Commotions band the Negatives, backing vocalist Dave Derby.
Says Lloyd: “I wanted to make an album with a small fixed palette of sounds, like a Van Gogh, like Highway 61. The album format is supposedly dead, but I still want to make them. Not bunches of songs — albums. For the last 10 years I’ve been primarily an acoustic musician but this is an album for electric guitars, electric bass and loud drums, with piano and synthesizer. Not quite monochrome, then, but not ever-changing either: it has a unique identity — a sound.”
When: Sat., May 30th
Where: Bell House 149 7th St. Brooklyn, NY