The Reckless Abandon of "New Age Flake" Lydia Loveless
Lydia Loveless is animalistic. She's fickle and she's wild. Sometimes, the Ohio-bred farm girl is charming and almost vulnerable -- but that "purr" is almost always closely trailed by a razor-sharp hiss.
Photos by Patrick Crawford/Courtesy of Bloodshot Records
Her contradictions don't end there; Loveless' powerhouse voice and lyrical insight also defy her tender age.
"When people first see me," Loveless says, during a recent phone call, "they often say, 'I was expecting an old, tall woman!' But I'm 5 feet tall and 23 years old," she corrects. "I guess we all have our visions of people."
Seeing Loveless in-concert quickly debunks any "old" misconception; onstage, she has the uninhibited energy that only a 23-year-old could have.
She aimed to capture that same live vibe while recording her third and latest album, Somewhere Else.
Clearly not short on ideas, Loveless scrapped an entire album's worth of "subpar" material before writing Somewhere Else.
"I think letting go of those [unused] songs was a good exercise for me," she considers. "Many musicians say their songs are like their babies -- but I never want to be like that, especially with my bad songs...so I had to kill them."
For a woman with the reputation of being a combative badass, Loveless is rather thoughtful as we speak; it's her afterthoughts that reveal her underlying edge. If we guessed artists' cities via their sound alone, her honky-punk hybrid sounds better suited for the trendier alt-country capitals of the South than Columbus, Ohio, where she resides with her husband and bassist Ben Lamb. But she's a Midwest girl at heart.
"I've thought about living in Austin or Nashville," Loveless reveals, "but I just like the Midwest. My favorite band is The Replacements," she adds. "We're both angry, stubborn Midwesterners freezing our asses off -- but those are the kinds of people I identify with."
We've witnessed Loveless' "angry, stubborn" attitude onstage. During her performance at SXSW 2013, we watched her unabashedly sprawl across the grimy stage floor in a hiked-up miniskirt while still playing guitar.
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