In a different life, Lydia Loveless would be filed under post-punk. There’s the full-on urgency of late ‘70s music making, but with proper melodies, verses, and even choruses. Boy Crazy is repackaged version of a 2013 EP, plus a couple of covers and b-sides. One of those covers, Elvis Costello’s ‘Alison’, almost gives the post-punk game away. The original is, of course, perfect, but this version is pretty near perfect too. It’s difficult to escape the conclusion that in another universe, Lydia Loveless could have been up there with Nick Lowe, Robin Hitchcock, and Sir Declan of MacManus himself. But it’s this universe and with Lydia Loveless singing in a southern country drawl, despite her Ohio roots, it’s clear at least that she hails from nearer Nashville than Newham. Yet the mix of power-pop riffery and songs about men, and women, and men and women is just as intoxicating as similar songs from an earlier era. File under country-tinged-post-punk and enjoy.
Here are some albums released in 2014 that slipped through the review net.
Lydia Loveless – Somewhere Else
Wouldn’t it be great if Tom Petty had a guitar-toting younger sister who was invited to play a set at the CMAs. It ain’t gonna happen. So in the meantime, enjoy the album by Lydia Loveless. She sounds like Tom Petty’s guitar-toting younger sister playing a set at the CMAs. And with plenty of cussing.
Caitlin Harnett – The River Runs North
Australian Caitlin Harnett recorded her debut album in Canada. There’s a definite Joni Mitchell vibe, but at times she sounds uncannily like Laura Marling. With Kathleen Edwards featuring on her album, it’s an impressive set of influences and a really strong collection of songs.
Sam Amidon – Lily-O
Another fine outing from Mr Beth Orton. Reaching deep into the folk catalogues of various countries, Sam Amidon refashions them in his own image. Designed to get your fingers tapping and to realise that the past wasn’t always a better place.
Kevin Morby – Still Life
Memorable tunes and slightly off-kilter lyrics. That’s always a good combination and on his second album Kevin Morby delivered more of the same. Note to KM’s manager. Release his albums earlier in the year and they’ll feature on more year-end, best-of lists.
It’s hard to be disappointed with any Ryan Adams album. And his self-titled 2014 release wasn’t a total disappointment, but it didn’t quite hit the mark either. There were fewer jaw-dropping chord changes. Fewer tunes that were instant classics. But it did feature Johnny Depp on ‘Kim’.