Singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless’ highly anticipated new album, Real, was released August 19 via Bloodshot Records. This record follows the release of Somewhere Else, which Rolling Stone praised as “…an aching, lusty set of twang and sneer wrapped in electric guitar swagger,” while Pitchfork furthered “Somewhere Else [is] both a bracing and a deeply harrowing listen.” “Longer,” the first track to be revealed off Real, premiered via Stereogum. Of the song, Stereogum says, “It’s like the Replacements soundtracking the sad aftermath of Big Star’s “Thirteen” — which is to say, it’s awesome.”
Real was recorded at Sonic Lounge Studios in her home state of Ohio and was engineered and produced by Joe Viers (Dr. John, Twenty One Pilots). “I chose to work with Joe Viers, engineer and producer of my last three releases, again because I trust him completely not only with my music but with my words,” said Loveless. “There was a lot to say this time around and I wanted to return to that sort of playground and (sometimes literally) throw things at the wall. Whereas our previous records could be described as blunt or raw, this one I wanted to be known as honest, as true, as real (rimshot),” she adds.
Of the album Loveless says:
"We refer only to things fully formed and everlasting as 'real'. If a marriage ends it was 'fake' and everything was a 'lie.' We ask if quickly made up tunes are 'real songs'. The veil of depression causes to wonder if we're real people, feeling discarded, sitting at the kid's table. Am I real even if I stayed in bed all day? Is love real even when it's over or goes entirely unfulfilled? Are we real after we die, even if no one remembers us? Or is anything temporary merely a fake, a phony, a stand in. I was thinking about this a lot when I was writing these songs. What makes someone, even someone lacking the confident to show their true selves a 'real' authentic person.
When I strip away my vices who am I really? Am I only myself when I'm dancing on a table and making the most vulgar of wisecracks, even though I hate that person, it gets a rise out of myself. The party monkey side. But the side with any amount of grace is often met with concern or disdain. Who are you really, at the end of the day, entirely alone, without all the daydreams and the bullshit and the performance art we go through all day every day, even non performers or as we call them, 'normal' people. Because I feel like I spent my formative years flopping around like a fish, masking pain with substance abuse and somewhat ashamed of who I was—a hayseed, a phony, I felt—it was absolutely necessary for me to become a stronger, more confident human, or I was going to die. Real is my sort of love letter to that realization, that my existence was just as valid as any other.”
Loveless is joined on the album by Todd May (vocals, guitars, keys), Ben Lamb (bass), Jay Gasper (guitars, pedal steel, keys), George Hondroulis (drums, percussion, keys), Andy Harrison (guitar, keys) and Viers (percussion, guitar).
In 2011, Loveless released her second full-length album, Indestructible Machine, which The Chicago Tribune said, “she conveys toughness, tenderness and humor with off-handed conviction.” Two years after the critical success of her breakout second record, Loveless released Somewhere Else. On Somewhere Else Loveless is less concerned with chasing approval—she scrapped an entire album’s worth of material—and more focused on fighting personal battles of longing, heartbreak and the aesthetic that comes along with them.
Loveless has toured with artists such as Jason Isbell, Iron & Wine, Old 97's, Drive-By Truckers, Scott H. Biram, and the Supersuckers. Her music has been praised by Rolling Stone, NPR, Pitchfork, SPIN, Stereogum, Chicago Tribune, and more. She was the subject of the 2016 documentary Who Is Lydia Loveless?, directed by Gorman Bechard.