Notes On Music By Lloyd Cole: Silver Jews

Lloyd Cole first made a name for himself in 1984 with the Commotions, the British band he founded in Scotland before relocating to New York City four years later. Since, he has released records both as a solo artist and with the Negatives. Now based in western Massachusetts, Cole recently formed the Small Ensemble. The trio is joined by the likes of Fred Maher, Joan Wasser and Kendall Meade for new album Broken Record (Tapete), Cole’s first “rock” LP in almost a decade. Cole will also be guest editing all week. Read our new Q&A with him. Says Cole as an introduction/disclaimer for his guest-editing posts, “I am 50 years old. More than twice the age I was when I began making music. I have developed opinions, certainly, and these opinions have evolved, but I can only speak for myself. I am still astonished by music. I am still perplexed by it. I am still moved by it. I am still revulsed by it. And I am more and more confused by how others make use of music in their lives. Music seems to be everywhere. Here are some of my thoughts on it.”


Cole: “I passed out on the 14th floor/The C.P.R. was so erotic.”

This is the opening line of “Dallas” by (the) Silver Jews, which was David Berman’s vehicle for songs, rather than poems.

He continues: “How do you turn a billion steers/Into buildings made of mirrors?/Why am I drawn to you tonight?”

The Silver Jews are no more. They ran their course, perhaps even one lap too many, but it is testament to Berman the artist that he called it quits when they we seemingly at their most economically viable. The show I saw was sold out.

Mostly I wonder why folk write songs if they are not going bother to finish them. Well, if he’s letting us listen, Berman has certainly finished what he started. His technique—well, you can see it. Who else could write those lines?

I am a fan.