LLOYD COLE HAS had to reinvent himself many times.

As leader of the ’80s smart-pop band the Commotions, which had three hit albums in the U.K. and cult status in the U.S., Cole had a willfully quirky singing style.

In the 1990s, Marc Bolan and Leonard Cohen were often the solo Cole’s musical touchstones, mixing power-pop and ballads to go with a smoother croon — and a series of record-label snafus that led to several albums being lost in the shuffle.

But in the 2000s, Cole performed his biggest reinvention: DIY artist.

He self-built his Web site (LloydCole.com) and mail-order, self-recorded albums and toured as a solo acoustic artist whose incredible voice now evokes the purity of Roy Orbison.

Cole just self-released a limited edition, low-key trio CD featuring his “baby bluegrass band,” the Small Ensemble, doing Cole classics and two new songs, but his latest DIY project is to pre-sell his next album to raise money for the full-rock-band recording: $15 for the basic version; $45 for a double-disc edition with tons of bonus content.

The sessions are scheduled to start this week, but if something goes awry, Cole will surely adapt on the fly. It’s the DIY way.

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Publication: Washington Post Express Blog

Publication date: 02/03/10