No guilty pleasures: A chat with Lydia Loveless

Lydia Loveless performs at DC9 on Wednesday, September 24. Get your tickets here. Photos from her DC9 show after the jump.

lydialoveless_bs219promo_horiz_whiteHer voice is like a good whiskey — a warm, tantalizing smoothness followed by a fierce kick that reveals potency and fire. Lydia Loveless delivers punk-inflected and country-infused songs that are a bit Loretta Lynn and a bit Replacements, but ultimately and undeniably her very own brand of swagger and smarts. It’s an addictive combo, and it’s no wonder Rolling Stone named her as one of “10 New Artists You Need to Know.”

Following a tour with the Old 97s this spring, Lydia Loveless is back on the road. Over the weekend, she answered a few questions via e-mail.

Q. I read that “Hurts So Bad” was inspired by a book you read about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Are there other stories — from novels, films, poems, etc. — that have found their way into your music?

Yes, Verlaine and Rimbaud for instance. I wouldn’t say anything I write is strictly about one thing, but inspired briefly by things I observe or read and then stretched as far as I can take them.

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Milagres: The Letterbomb


Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies — all these are private and, except through second hand, incommunicable. –Aldous Huxley, “The Doors of Perception”

I’m a shadow waiting in the blue / I’m a magnet with its poles confused / All my failures are lost on you. –Milagres, “Terrifying Sea”

Shadows can be playful: You’re a little kid, making shadow puppets in the tent. Shadows can be menacing: You’re walking alone on an unfamiliar street, and the shifting shapes of darkness stalk you.

The music of Milagres explores the duality of shadows. There’s a prettiness in the swirling synth and dreamy pop, reminiscent of ’80s sounds and textures. Kyle Wilson weaves his gorgeous voice through the songs, shifting between baritone and falsetto. But there’s also an existential darkness to the lyrics and a sense of foreboding created by the band’s use of negative space. Layers of guitars, keys, and synth surge against a backdrop of steady drumming, and then the instruments abruptly pull back and pause, letting Wilson’s vocals shimmer in the darkness.

Milagres at DC9
Milagres at DC9

Last month, the Brooklyn-based Milagres released their third album, “Violent Light” (which you can download here). The band’s sound is bigger here — as Wilson puts it, they wanted “something that was massive and anthemic.” This time, Wilson, Fraser McCulloch (bass), and Chris Brazee (keyboard, synths) are joined by their new bandmate, Paul Payabyab (drums).

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