Review of Lydia Loveless

Lydia Loveless – Indestructible Machine (2011)
Blessed with a commanding, blast-it-to-the-back-of-the-room voice, the 21-year-old Lydia Loveless was raised on a family farm in Coshocton, Ohio, a small weird town with nothing to do but make music. With a dad who owned a country music bar, Lydia Loveless often woke up with a house full of touring musicians scattered on couches and floors. When she got older, in the time-honored traditions of teenage rebellion, she turned her back on these roots, moved to the city (Columbus, OH) and immersed herself in the punk scene, soaking up the musical and attitudinal influences of everyone from Charles Bukowski to Richard Hell to Hank III. Indestructible Machine, Loveless’ Bloodshot debut, combines heady doses of punk rock energy and candor with the country classicism she was raised on and just can’t shake; it’s an gutsy and unvarnished mash up. The rattletrap electricity in foggy mountain throwdowns like “Bad Way To Go” and “Do Right” may channel ground zero-era Old 97s, but the underlying bruised vulnerability comes across like Neko Case’s tuff little sister. “Can’t Change Me,” with its choppy, tense guitar tonality recalling Television’s Richard Lloyd, stridently and stubbornly tells the world to stuff it, while “More Like Them’s” muscular power pop hits on the classic rock-and-roll motif of the outsider; both could be anthems for blank generations along the rural routes everywhere. But she’s also got the vocal nuances to pull off country soul well beyond her years on “How Many Women,” which could have been pulled right out of the strong-woman-wronged canon of Loretta Lynn, and “Crazy,” full of boozy heartache and the lilt of Appalachia.

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