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Lloyd Cole, though he’d never be so gauche as to suggest it himself, has enjoyed something of a renaissance in 2013. He released his new ‘career best’ album ‘Standards’ in the summer. He also found himself with star billing on the UK’s finest music TV show ‘Later With Jools Holland’(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcDUDm4nNm8
). He has been playing to sell-out houses across Europe ever since.
Cole played his first electric shows in a decade in January 2014 and the ‘never ending’ solo acoustic tour resumed in March, crossing Europe, New Zealand and Australia.
But still the album was not released in North America. At last this has been put right and ‘Standards’ will be released on Omnivore Recordings on September 30th. Cole expects to play a few select US shows in the fall with a fuller schedule in early 2015.
Recorded in late 2012 to early 2013 in Los Angeles, New York and at his home in Easthampton, Massachusetts, ‘Standards’ 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 Dylan’s acclaimed 2012 album ‘Tempest’ – says Cole, 52: “I took it as a kick up the backside…” – ‘Standards’ is a gloriously electric rock’n’roll record and arguably the best thing he has made since his groundbreaking debut with the Commotions, 1984’s ‘Rattlesnakes’.
The band Lloyd assembled for ‘Standards’ comprises Fred Maher (Material, Scritti Politti, Lou Reed) 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 Lloyd 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 which 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 backing vocalist and Negative 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 a synthesizer for measure. Not quite monochrome, then, but not ever-changing either: it has a unique identity – a sound.”Greg Brown Website