Lydia Loveless, “Indestructible Machine”


Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#567 in the Series) is Lydia Loveless, Indestructible Machine – NEW MUSIC REVIEW (Bloodshot Records)

The first thing that hits you between the eyes when you look at the CD cover from the new release by Lydia Loveless, Indestructible Machine, is a mostly black and white female Huck Finn anti Norman Rockwell looking drawing of Lydia swigging from a gas can.   The second thing you see when you turn the cover over is a picture of the diminutive songstress smoking a cigarette next to two empty bottles and a well-played guitar.

If by taking these two images into your own internal data base your resulting output delivers an alt-country version of country party girl Gretchen Wilson, who in turn is a female version of Hank Williams Jr., you would not be close to describing this genre bending artist who at the tender age of 21 has thrown herself into the spotlight and seems to be determined to hit you over the head with a whiskey bottle to announce her presence and to make sure you know that she is here to stay.

Indestructible Machine at first listen comes off a little frenetic in parts especially with the lead-off song “Bad Way to Go” with the Flatt and Scruggs banjo on steroids intro that announces her presence in a big way followed up by a 100 miles an hour snare and kick drum that smokes like a dragster leaving the starting line. Lydia writes her own songs and most, like this one, are thematic wonders that involve getting drunk, falling in love, making men cry or some combination of the above.  After several critical listens the frenetic pace slows down and is replaced by a healthy respect for the pacing and excellent production value throughout the album.

The first “damn this chick can sing” moment comes with the second song “Can’t Change Me” with her throaty whiskey-soaked voice sounding like Neko Case gargling with a sidecar of Lucinda Williams. “It’s going to change the way you feel about me baby, but it won’t change me” is an anthem that seems to pretty much sum up how she is feeling about her life, her career, and this album as a whole.

Just to prove that she is more than just a party girl on “More Like Them” she laments “I hear that there’s a party tonight I probably won’t go but thanks for the invite, I’d rather stay home and drink gallons of wine, I must be right nobody stops by”, a tune where she turns the songwriting microscope on herself and wonders why she can’t be like the kind that go out of their way to make new friends and the kind that feel sad when relationships end, and spends the night alone taking emotional stock of her life instead of going to party.  Heady and emotional stuff that shows a beyond her years talent and an autobiographical insight to her song-craft that will serve her well and set her apart from her peers.

“How Many Women” could have been performed by Patsy Cline or sung by Loretta Lynn and clearly shows her love for the classics with a band that stops delicately short of turning the song into a Grand Old Opry appearance and instead puts enough of an updated Americana feel to the song to make it her own. And is there even an answer to the question she poses so melodically? How many women does a man need anyway? How many does it take to make him happy?

“Jesus Was A Wino” is a great morning after song while “Steve Earle” is about a guy that called himself Steve Earle and would come to her shows wanting her to demo some of the songs he had written. This cleverly written song shows that she has some immense songwriting chops to go along with her huge “carry to the back of the room” singing voice that is in full force here.

Ultimately, this album is a fun rollercoaster ride through a mix-master of genres including Cow-Punk, Country, Americana, Psycho-Billy, Rock, and a hint of some blues guitar licks. Detractors might say that she should settle on one genre and create a following there even it is a cult following like Hank III has developed.  I for one like the eclectic genre hopping and hope she keeps to the formula with her subsequent releases.

What Lydia Loveless does have going for her is a diverse talent that will appeal to a wide variety of audiences once they sit down and give her a listen. This along with her youth, cute looks, and Neko Case’s delinquent younger sister swagger will definitely take her places.

I am just waiting for that moment when the real Steve Earle joins her on stage.

Walt Falconer

Track List

  1. Bad Way To Go
  2. Can’t Change Me (MP3)
  3. More Like Them
  4. How Many Women
  5. Jesus Was A Wino
  6. Steve Earle
  7. Learn To Say No
  8. Do Right
  9. Crazy


  • Lydia Loveless Guitar, Vocals
  • Parker Chandler – Drums
  • Barry Hensley – Pedal Steel
  • Adrian Jusdanis – Violin
  • Ben Lamb – Bass
  • Todd May -Guitar, Vocals
  • Rob Woodruff – Banjo


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Posted by Larry Carta

1 Comment

  1. Mark (02 Dec 2011, 11:44)

    I have been listening to this for over a month now. Dig it, big time! It’s both moving, and causes movement! Good call on this Larry!

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