Lloyd Cole working on new box set


Lloyd Cole is to follow up this year’s Lloyd Cole and the Commotions box – Collected Recordings 1983-1989 – with a similar set that focuses on his solo work issued the 1990s.

The singer-songwriter told his fans via Facebook yesterday that he has “started work listening to almost 30 year old cassettes for box set #2 – first four solo albums + lost fifth + lots of demos… including 2 from 1988 in Glasgow with Blair [Cowan].”

Lloyd Cole is digging out old cassettes for the box set /  Image © Lloyd Cole

Cole had a very productive first half of the nineties; Lloyd Cole, the highly regarded first solo album was issued in 1990 and followed in 1991 by Don’t Get Weird On Me Babe which saw LC broaden his canvas with some lushly orchestrated songs on side one. 1993’s pithily titled Bad Vibes arguably contained a career highlight (So You’d Like To Save The World) but that did nothing to help Cole’s downward spiralling commercial fortunes, something acknowledged by album closer Can’t Get Arrested. Like Lovers Do was a welcome top thirty UK hit from 1995’s Love Story but this ultimately proved to be something of a ‘blip’. LC would release no further long-players until the new millennium with the The Negatives band/album.

Lloyd Cole’s indicates that this box will include a “lost fifth” album which presumably would/should have been issued between 1995 and 2000. Instead we had to make do with 1998’s The Collection. 

There were some great singles in this period such as She’s A Girl and I’m A Man, Downtown, Baby, and Morning Is Broken. However, a look at the chart positions (when they did chart) is rather depressing since LC didn’t have any top 40 hits in the UK at all in the 1990s apart, from the aforementioned Like Lovers Do (and even that ‘hit’ peaked at a modest #24).

Lloyd promises ‘lots of demos’ on the new box and we really must applaud his openness in terms of sharing his plans with fans, to the extent that he’s even posted a previously unreleased demo of Lloyd Cole album track A Long Way Down on SoundCloud. You can listen to this below.

With the albums remastered, the unreleased album and demos fans can look forward to at least a six-CD box set. If Lloyd chooses to echo Collected Recordings set and include a DVD of promo videos and TV appearances that will add a seventh disc. It’s probably unlikely that the economics of this project would allow it to go beyond that, but nothing is obviously confirmed at this early stage.

There is clearly no release date at this early stage, but hopefully this project might reach fruition towards the end of next year.

Read the our interview with Lloyd Cole about this year’s Collected Recordings box set.

lloyd cole collected recordings

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[…] Cole did mention that the Polydor solo years box set should have been out “about now”. He said it was basically done, but gave no reason for […]

Steve Pritchard

You are a terrific writer Paul and I love the site but clean up those apostrophes old son… “Like Lover’s Do” should of course be “Like Lovers Do”.

russell finch

Just hope LC leaves it to the professionals as he seems to have a tin ear!!

russell finch

Rather concerned about this as the remastering on the Commotions box set was such a disaster (No remastering of Mainstream, dingy sound on Easy Pieces, and Rattlesnakes also sounding dingy with 3 dodgy remixes sneaking in there – I don’t care about LC saying they aren’t remixes, there’s no way on earth those are the originals).

Carlton Fisher

Very excited for this. I’m among the minority who likes Cole’s solo work much more than his work with the Commotions, so this is definitely something I’ll be picking up. “Tell Your Sister” is still one of my favorite songs of all time.


Then count me as one of the minorities too, Carlton. I liked the Commotions albums , but loved his solo work; Love Story one of my favorite CDs of the 90s. His musicians were great too: Fred Maher, Mathew Sweet and Robert Quine!


I like the care and attention Lloyd puts into his box(ed) sets so I am sure this will be worth looking into.

I love his first four solo albums with the first two being particular high points. It would be nice if they were remastered though (and it would be nice if there was not too much duplication with “Ashtrays”.

John Rock

Looking forward to Lloyd’s solo box and wondering how much might have been used in “Cleaning out the Ashtrays”


“Cleaning Out The Ashtrays” was supposed to encompass all of the released or recorded for release songs that weren’t on Lloyd’s solo LPs 1990-2004. So theoretically, this box set would have the original LPs plus other (unreleased) stuff, but not the b-sides and compilation tracks that were on “Ashtrays”


Great news. 2 points though:
1. I’d be surprised if the albums are remastered as LC seems very happy with how they sound.
2. He’s already released one ‘lost’ album – ‘Etc.’ which came out as part of the box set with the Negatives album. It’s a good album although it does sound unfinished in parts. There’s a great Dylan cover on there. Perhaps the new ‘lost’ album is a different version of ‘Etc.’?
Still yet to buy the Commotions box set. Perhaps a nice Christmas present for myself.

Jon Barlow

I remember a song from the 90’s by Lloyd Cole that I loved…..”So You’d Like To Save The World” it was called….I still regularly play it to this day

Lee Carson

Lloyd Cole is fairly open with his projects as he keeps his fans up to date with the trials and tribulations of either recording a new album or locating old tracks for box sets etc

The fact that he is the one behind the Box Set should make it a “must buy” for the fans


…”Don’t Get Weird On Me Babe which saw LC broaden his canvas with some lushly orchestrated songs on side two”…

or side one depending on the country you bought it from…
and while “Babe vibes” would have been great, he settled for “Bad”.

Anyways, fantastic news!

Charles K.

Well this is a bit of good news to greet the day with. I’m actually quite shocked this is going to happen, but glad it is as I love his 90’s output. I always felt he matured beyond his fan base at the time which might explain the lack of chart success. I can remember eagerly awaiting his first solo album but when it came out all the people I knew who were fans of his Commotions material just didn’t get it. He was making music that was a little more introspective and multi-layered yet his Commotions fan base were still largely in their teens at the time, at least in Southern California. I think a lot of them were looking for him to continue the continuity of sound established with the Commotions the way Morrissey largely co-opted The Smiths sound for his own purposes.

The Seeds Of Love by TFF was largely the same. My friends and I were huge fans of theirs starting with The Hurting, which was largely ignored in the States as opposed to its mega selling follow up. By the time Seeds Of Love came out they just either thought it was AOR or lame which shocked me because I thought Badman’s Song was just about the greatest tune they had ever written and was leaps forward in arrangement and sophistication, though it didn’t negate the greatness of the earlier material at all. I’m not making the case for myself being a young music sophisticate, the point is both artists, Cole and TFF, didn’t have the right fan base in place to continue their success, at least in the States. It was worse for Cole as he didn’t have the larger teen fan base behind him as TFF did. I really hope this box will bring older fans that dropped him after the Commotions demise back into the fold and help them realize what they missed out on. I think I better stop now, probably over analyzing this to death at this point, either way, I’m on board completely, can’t wait to hear the lost album.