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What's new in iJamming!...
Tue, Oct 23, 2001
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN: "Flowers is Echo & The Bunnymen's finest hour since Ocean Rain."
An intrigue of early 90s New York nightlife.
NEW CHAPTER now online
From the Jamming! Archives:
U2 interviewed in 1984.
"It's not U2 that's creating this great art. . .There's something that works through us to create in this way."
My immediate reaction to September 11
PART 2: Messages from friends & family overseas
PART 3: Observations & quotes from others.
PART 5: COPING - 2 weeks later
iJamming! Wino/Muso:
"New world wines are just too techno for me."
Featured albums
(Hub, Slumber Party, DJ Harry, Spearhead, The Who tribute
Albums that sound different since September 11
(Charlatans UK, Arabian Travels, Cafe del Mar, Sugarcult)
Featured wine region 3:
Featured wine region 4:
iJamming! interview:
Jesse Hartman, aka LAPTOP
"Every New York band knows the meaning of failure"
MIX Albums:
Who, what and why you should bother (DB, Spooky, Jody, RSW, Bad Boy Bill)
"I don't think people realize that life can become so exciting and interesting that it can draw you away for long periods of time from creating music - & why not?"
From the Keith Moon archives:
the JEFF BECK interview .
From Homework to the Disco:
grows up and dumbs down
The Return of Shoegazing:
DOVES take New York by swarm
Forgotten Classics:
THE CHILLS: Brave Words
THE iJAMMING! Book Review:
SNIFFIN' GLUE: The Essential Punk Accessory
Musing with SALLY TAYLOR:
"I'm not interested in what the major labels have to offer."
From the JAMMING! archives: PAUL WELLER ON POP
From the JAMMING! archives: ALTERNATIVE TV
interviewed in 1978
Fran Healy explains why "you cannot own a song." (And why Liam Gallagher "is going to turn into a really great songwriter.")
From the JAMMING! archives: The Story That Spawned Creation
They love rock'n'roll but they don't want to deal with the hassle
From the JAMMING! archives: RAYMONDE in 1985
The full iJamming! Contents
featured artist web site:
Don't call it a comeback - because Lloyd Cole no longer seems to be aiming for the top. After years as a hitmaker in the UK with the Commotions, then the best part of a decade as a solo New York resident, Lloyd Cole hit the commercial wall. Without a massive solo hit in the nineties, his cult sales base was only going to keep contracting, and despite a number of mostly fine (but, I tend to think, never classic) albums, his label, Mercury, rejected a 1996 offering. Adding insult to injury, Mercury decided to release a greatest hits compilation instead to which they asked Cole for two new songs - and to make sure they were hits. His pride far too great to suffer any more of such nonsense, Cole walked.

New major label deals for rejected solo artists aren't too easy to come by, but Cole didn't care. He went back to absolute basics, forming a new band - a proper band, the Negatives, with permanent members - and playing the New York City dives, often for free. Outsiders may have seen this as confirmation that Cole had reached the cellar; insiders saw that this was actually an artist reconnecting with the creative juices as motivated him in the first place.

The freedom enjoyed from being outside the major label game for the first time in a fifteen year career inspired Cole to maintain independence. The first Lloyd Cole and the Negatives album is being released in the States through March Records, a Massacheussetts indie with which Cole has strong personal links. Then again, independence comes at a price, usually financial: Cole has himself retreated to Massacheussets,not so much in a deliberate attempt to sequester himself away from the distractions of Manhattan, as out of necessity brought on by the exhorbitant cost of living in the Big Apple these days. (No album releases for five years, wife and kid to support, you do the maths...)

It sounds like a back-handed compliment to suggest that The Negatives is Cole's finest album in six years, given that it's his only release in all that time, but hopefully you get my drift: this is the kind of return that makes you wonder why someone ever went away. I've been playing it repeatedly since receiving an advance, and I'm tempted to go on record as claiming it to be his best album ever. Damn! I just did. Let it stand. Until a review I've written of it for a magazine goes into print, I'll hold off a break-down of tracks, but rest assured that the album is imbued with a positivity throughout that belies the band name, an affirmation of his need and desire to write and record. (The three hold-overs from the scrapped 1996 album, 'No More Love Songs,' 'I'm Gone' and 'Man on the Verge' make you wonder what the problem was meant to have been with that album.) It helps to have production credits from Stephen Street and Langer and Winstanley. And it's enormously beneficial that the Negatives are such a stellar band: when you have the likes of Jill Sobule as a second guitarist, you known you're in good shape.

A mid-March show at Bowery Ballroom (that venue again), sold out entirely - and entirely to fans, rather than industry as per Doves - found Cole in great humor, clearly content with his new way of being. The music was alarming quiet and crystal clear, despite the presence of three electric guitars (a dream line-up of Rickenbacker, Gretsch and Fender Telecaster); the lyrics were perfectly pronunciated with the audience were singing along to the new songs, despite the album release still being three weeks away. It felt like the thousand imports Cole allowed in from France (where Polydor, his last tie a major label, released the album last 2000) must all have been snapped up by his New York fans.

Lloyd Cole's web site is entirely Flash-based.

Then again, they may have just been logging on to Cole's new lease of autonomous life is further borne out by his web site, which he designed and edits entirely by himself. Ten years ago, the bright young star with a major label deal, Cole would not have devoted his time to such a project (assuming it was available at the time), but without advertising dollars to spend or significant stardom to bank on, Cole needs to maintain personal contact with his audience and this is the way to do it. The wonderful thing is that he's done it so well.

The front, Flash-based page of Cole's site takes a while to load, but you can skip it if you want. Once Cole's face shrinks into place, the menu options appear and you can see what Cole has been up to these last few years. And I don't just mean designing a web site (though we'll come to that): the Recording section comes with news that Etc. had already been selected as the title for the follow-up to The Negatives, and that Plastic Wood is on its way too. Two more albums in the can? Indeed: surf to the 'music player' section and you can hear samples for free. Etc. turns out to be a compilation of the various extras from the last few years of recording. Plastic Wood is Cole gone ambient. And why not? Once you're free from the pressures of writing hits, you can do what you want. (Which includes, if The Negatives is anything to go by, writing hits.)

The Musicplayer is Cole's preferred method of offering his catalogue; given that you can't download files, the record companies remain happy, and it allows him to offer yet-to-be-released music without worrying that he is losing potential sales. The Player is slow to load, but that's because it gathers all available songs from each album in one go, so that playback is immediate, sequenced and doesn't stutter - and if the load time is too much, you can read a random poem of Cole's choice (but NOT composition). The Music is compressed as mono files of selected songs from each album all the way back to the Commotions' Rattlesnakes (with 'Perfect Skin') and Easy Pieces (the one with 'Brand New Friend'). Would that all other artists made it so easy to hear their career in one place.


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iJamming! Site Copyright Tony Fletcher 2001.