Lydia Loveless: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
For 23-year-old singer-guitarist Lydia Loveless, gritty, countrified blues-rock is a palette broad enough to include literary drama — complete with fatalistic references to the doomed French poets Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud — and a plainspoken plea for oral sex. In fact, "Head" and "Verlaine Shot Rimbaud" (both of which appear on this year's terrific Somewhere Else) pop up back-to-back in this subdued but seething three-song Tiny Desk Concert, which Loveless recorded with the help of her full touring band.
Loveless follows "Head" and "Verlaine" with "Mile High," an even newer single (released with a cover of Kesha's "Blind" as a B-side) she'd just put out as a 7" on Record Store Day. Taken together, the three songs — performed, as Loveless notes wryly, with very little audience eye contact — paint a smart, no-nonsense picture of a smart, no-nonsense talent. --STEPHEN THOMPSON