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Lydia Loveless

Lydia Loveless

Angelica Garcia, M. Lockwood Porter

Sat, Jan 28, 2017

Doors: 8:30 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$18 ADV - $20 DOOR

Tickets at the Door

This event is 21 and over

Lydia Loveless
Lydia Loveless
Blessed with a commanding, blast-it-to-the-back-of-the-room voice, the 25-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, Loveless often woke up with a house full of touring musicians scattered on couches and floors. She has turned this potential nightmare scenario (eww….touring musicians smell…) into a wellspring of creativity.

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.

Loveless's Bloodshot debut album Indestructible Machine combined heady doses of punk rock energy and candor with the country classicism she was raised on and just can't shake; it was a gutsy and unvarnished mash-up. It channeled ground zero-era Old 97s (with whom she later toured) but the underlying bruised vulnerability came across like Neko Case's tuff little sister. Indestructible Machine possesses a snotty irreverence and lyrical brashness that's an irresistible kick in the pants.

On her second Bloodshot album Somewhere Else, released after a few 7″ singles and an EP, Loveless was less concerned with chasing approval – she scrapped an entire album's worth of material before writing the set – and more focused on fighting personal battles of longing and heartbreak, and the aesthetic that comes along with them. While her previous album was described as "hillbilly punk with a honky-tonk heart" (Uncut), this one couldn't be so quickly shoehorned into neat categorical cubbyholes. No, things were different this time around—Loveless and her band collectively dismissed the genre blinders and sonic boundaries that came from playing it from a safe, familiar place. Creatively speaking, ifIndestructible Machine was an all-night bender, Somewhere Else was the forlorn twilight of the next day, when that creeping nostalgia has you looking back for someone, something, or just… anything.

2016's Real is one of those exciting records where you sense an artist truly hitting their stride, that their vision is both focused and expansive, and that their talent brims with a confident sense of place, execution and exploration. Whether you've followed Lydia's career forever, like us, or if you are new to her ample game, Real is gonna grab your ears.

On her first two Bloodshot albums, there were fevered comparisons to acknowledged music icons like Loretta Lynn, Stevie Nicks, Replacements, and more. She's half this, half that, one part something else. We hate math. But, now Real and Lydia Loveless are reference points of their own. Genre-agnostic, Lydia and her road-tightened band pull and tease and stretch from soaring, singalong pop gems, roots around the edges to proto-punk. There are many sources, but the album creates a sonic center of gravity all its own.

Always a gifted writer with a lot to say, Lydia gives the full and sometimes terrifying, sometimes ecstatic force of the word. Struggles between balance and outburst, infectious choruses fronting emotional torment are sung with a sneer, a spit, or a tenderness and openness that is both intensely personal and universally relatable. It is, as the title suggests, real.

Lydia Loveless has toured with artists such as Old 97's, Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell, Iron & Wine, Scott H. Biram, and the Supersuckers. Her music has been praised by Rolling Stone, NPR, Pitchfork, SPIN, Stereogum, Chicago Tribune, and more.

Loveless penned an original song for the 2015 film I Smile Back, starring Sarah Silverman, and was the subject of the 2016 documentary Who Is Lydia Loveless?, directed by Gorman Bechard.
Angelica Garcia
Angelica Garcia appropriately likens her journey to "going down the rabbit hole."

Upon graduating from Los Angeles School for the Arts, the 17-year-old native Angeleno found herself living in a 200-year-old gothic brick home encircled by magnolia trees and under a blanket of bright stars in Accomac, Virginia. Her stepfather traded a career in the music industry for Episcopalian priesthood, and an Eastern Shore church would serve as his (and the family's) first congregation. Behind that residence where Union General Henry Hayes Lockwood once passed through during the Civil War, Angelica began to fashion her musical world in the dusty old parish house. Nodding to her personal "holy trinity" of Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and Jack White, she tenaciously penned music.

"Living there helped define my sound," she declares. "It was really hard for me, because all of my friends were in Los Angeles. I didn't know anyone, and I felt very isolated. So, I went into that parish house alone. When you're sitting there by yourself, you don't have to ask for permission. There's no one to judge you. You get to do everything you want to. I had the chance to be free musically. A lot of it was my way to resurrect hope and feel better. You write what you know because nobody knows what you know. That's the best way to be honest."

The singer and songwriter's vision embraced the environment as she recorded the sounds of crickets, drumming on a shoebox, creaking doors, and more to build a rich soundscape with just her piano, guitar, and MacBook. Those ideas would eventually evolve into the 12 songs comprising her 2016 full-length Warner Bros. Records debut, Medicine For Birds.

In 2014, the label signed Angelica based off the strength of the parish house demos, and she embarked on her first national tour with Delta Rae. She'd take the initial ideas to a Nashville studio with producer Charlie Peacock [The Civil Wars, Switchfoot] in January 2015.

"It's like the songs grew up at that moment," she explains. "Charlie showed me how big and crazy they could be. I felt like a hermit coming out. He was the ambassador to this sonic realm I didn't know about it. The music became limitless."

Now, her style struts between ghostly gorgeous countrified blues and sly swamp Americana. With a childlike whimsy, quirky sense of humor, and dynamic delivery, it could easily soundtrack an apparitions' ball in some Faulknerian mansion. Punctuated by stomping percussion, revival-worthy handclaps, and airy banjos, "Woman I'm Hollerin'" conjures up a heavenly haunting chant, "They want my blood!"

"I wrote it in one sitting," she recalls. "It's all about being afraid people are going to come after you. We all get scared, and it captures that feeling. You're worried and reaching out for help."
Elsewhere, "Magnolia Is Medicine" pairs a lithe finger-picked acoustic guitar with her breathy verses. It uncovers the meaning behind the album title too. "The Magnolia tree represented the South for me," she says. "It was the medicine that made me feel better. In the same way, I want these songs to make other people feel better."

"Bridge Is On Fire" spins a psychedelic electric sitar into a gloomy, grim narrative of towering flames and the ashes of a relationship. "I'm telling the story of a guy and girl," she continues. "He's panicking about this bridge burning, and his love being on the other side away from him. However, it turns out she lit the blaze. Her decision to start this fire was more important than the relationship. It's a self-actualization."

Medicine For Birds is Angelica's actualization. It's the culmination of a life devoted to music that began in Eastern Los Angeles harmonizing with her mother at 5-years-old and performing at the city's most famous haunts in high school to landing at the bottom of the rabbit hole on the other side of the country.

It's the gateway to her wild world…

"I love it when someone tells me they relate to my work," she concludes. "that's the ultimate validation. When you're all alone working on music, you open up. The more songs that I write, the more I realize this world. It's kooky. It's spooky. It's playful. It's funny. It's somber. It's goth. It's light. It's me."
M. Lockwood Porter
M. Lockwood Porter
The Berkeley, California-based singer-songwriter M. Lockwood Porter is part of a promising crop of up-and-coming Americana singer-songwriters. In the past three years, he has released two critically-acclaimed albums and performed all over the US, sharing the stage with acts like American Aquarium, David Wax Museum, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Water Liars, Samantha Crain, David Ramirez, Aaron Lee Tasjan, and John Moreland. He has performed at festivals like Outside Lands, Noise Pop, Norman Music Festival, and CMJ. No Depression called Porter’s 2014 album 27 “a solid album worth your time, attention, and money." In a review of 27, Americana UK said, "Take care with M. Lockwood Porter. He is an important singer-songwriter.”

Porter, who got his start in music playing in punk bands in Tulsa, Oklahoma when he was in high school, is resistant to simple categorization, though. Like Conor Oberst or Jeff Tweedy, his songs are equal parts traditional songcraft and indie rock attitude. “I get called an Americana singer, and I get why. But it’s a narrow label. I still have this punk rock point of view that, whenever I’m around a bunch of people that are doing something similar, makes me want to take a left turn.”

How To Dream Again – tracked live in three days with minimal overdubs – is one of those left turns. While Porter dabbled in lush country-rock and expansive power pop on 27, How To Dream Again sounds tougher and leaves more space. The band – consisting of Porter, Peter Labberton, Bevan Herbekian, and Jeff Hashfield, and John Calvin Abney – sounds tight and heavy, like Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers if they’d cut their teeth at CBGB. The acoustic songs are raw and haunting, recalling Springsteen’s Nebraska.

The heartbreak and existential crises of 27 have been replaced with boldness, wisdom, and a deeper level of self-examination. “I’m in love, in a very healthy, serious relationship, and I’m happier with where I’m at in terms of my music, but with being further along in my personal life come new questions like “How do you maintain what’s good about a relationship? How do you keep it from going stale?” “Burn Away”, “Bright Star”, and “Strong Enough”, all ostensibly love songs, are really about the uncertainty inherent in love – that there is no guarantee that it will last forever.

Porter – who has degrees in English and American History from Yale University and taught English at an inner-city middle school for four years – has also rediscovered an interest in social justice and activism. “I started teaching because I wanted to help make the world a better place. When I quit teaching to do music full-time, I shut off that part of my brain. As an independent musician, you spend so much time thinking about your career that it can be hard to make room for anything else. At one point last year, I realized that I had no idea what was going on in the world anymore. I felt like I had run out of things to talk about, and I needed to refill my brain.”

The result was a year of re-education. Porter read extensively – progressive writers like Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Thomas Piketty – and took time to rethink what he wanted to write about. “I strive for 100% honesty in my songwriting, and that means I write about what’s on my mind and in my heart. I spent most of 2015 thinking about how I should respond to what's happening in the world, so that ended up being a major theme on the record."

Porter also immersed himself in the works of topical songwriters – some obvious influences (Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan) and others less so (Joe Strummer, Public Enemy’s Chuck D). In the process, he learned about Joe Hill – the protest singer and IWW labor organizer who was executed on highly questionable charges almost exactly 100 years ago. “I went to this Joe Hill tribute at a small café in Oakland on the 100th anniversary of his death in November. I didn’t know very much about him when I went, but I came away really inspired.” So inspired, in fact, that Porter wrote the song “Joe Hill’s Dream” shortly afterwards – at once an examination of Hill’s legacy and a critical look at the recent history of politically-engaged songwriting.

“American Dreams Denied” and “The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be” are anthems of millennial post-recession frustration. “Sad/Satisfied” and “Dream Again” trace Porter’s evolution from a navel-gazing songwriter into a more thoughtful, outward-looking artist. “Charleston” was inspired by the horrific June 2015 mass shooting at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina.

The album’s centerpiece, though, is “Reach The Top”, a five-and-a-half minute dissertation critiquing the philosophy underpinning the American Dream, tying together its myriad consequences – isolation, materialism, depression, suicide, drug use, destruction of unions, college debt, gentrification, police brutality, media distortion, and American imperialism – using nothing but his voice, a guitar, and a harmonica. This song alone is a strong case that this California-based Okie transplant may be Guthrie’s closest modern heir.

On How To Dream Again, M. Lockwood Porter blends the personal and political in a way that is courageous, moving, and representative of this historical moment. “I can’t have a conversation with anyone my age right now without talking about things like inequality, gentrification, racial injustice, student debt, or climate change. I wanted to make a piece of art that captures this time, where daily life is political.” Yet at its core, this album is a very personal statement from a thoughtful, daring young artist. “The album is called How To Dream Again because it’s about trying to change my priorities – from chasing dreams of individual success to dreaming about creating something bigger than myself, whether that’s being in love or building a better world.”
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