Richard Hell grew up in Kentucky. At 17 he dropped out of high school and came to New York to be a poet. In the early ’70s he formed the band the Neon Boys with his high school friend Tom Verlaine, which evolved into Television in 1974. After a year Richard left that bunch and started the Heartbreakers with former New York Dolls Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan. Hell departed the Heartbreakers in 1976 to found Richard Hell and the Voidoids, whose 1977 album Blank Generation is one of the landmarks of “punk.” The Voidoids would make one more album, Destiny Street (1982), before Hell retired from music. Soon after, Hell became a professional writer, author of the novels Go Now (1996) and Godlike (2005), and the collection of lyrics, essays, notebooks, drawings, etc., Hot and Cold (2001), as well as a contributor of essays, reportage, and fiction to such publications as Spin, GQ, Esquire, Purple, The Village Voice, Vice, Bookforum, Art in America, The New York Times, and The New York Times Book Review. From 2004 to 2006 he was the film critic for BlackBook magazine. His most recent book is the acclaimed autobiography, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp (2013).
Blessed with a commanding, blast-it-to-the-back-of-the-room voice, the 23-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.
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.
Two years after the critical success of her breakout second album, Indestructible Machine, Lydia Loveless emerges from the trenches of hometown Columbus, OH with the gloves off and brimming with confidence on Somewhere Else. While her previous album was described as “hillbilly punk with a honky-tonk heart” (Uncut), this one can’t be so quickly shoehorned into neat categorical cubbyholes. No, things are different this time around—Loveless and her band have collectively dismissed the genre blinders and sonic boundaries that come from playing it from a safe, familiar place.
Writing from this new-found place of conviction, Lydia crafted 10 songs that are stark in their honesty, self-examination, and openness. Somewhere Else is more elemental than any of Loveless’s previous material; it’s about longing for the other, whether that’s something emotional, physical, or mental, all anchored by her arresting voice that sounds beyond her years. Creatively speaking, if Indestructible Machine was an all-night bender, Somewhere Else is the forlorn twilight of the next day, when that creeping nostalgia has you looking back for someone, something, or just... anything.