The Reckless Abandon of "New Age Flake" Lydia Loveless

Categories: Inquiring Minds

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Photos by Patrick Crawford/Courtesy of Bloodshot Records
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.

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.

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"We record everything as live as possible to preserve the idea that we're either just playing in the basement, or that we're onstage," she says. "That's the sound I like."

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.


Story continues on the next page.

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Fitzgerald's

2706 White Oak, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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