MP3 The Lovelies - White Leather
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13 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Modern Rock, ROCK: Classic Rock
Liv Lovely - vocals, guitar
Barb Lovely - vocals, bass
Billy Backes - drums
Liv Lovely prefers that you express a strong opinion about her band, the Lovelies.
"We're not interested in obtaining middle-of-the-road fans," Liv says. "We'd rather have people hate us or love us."
The Milwaukee trio's new album, White Leather, will likely confirm you as a lover. As Liv says, "There's a lot of black and white on this album, but not a lot of gray." This is high-contrast rock 'n' roll. Liv's voice conveys both sweet melodies and flat affect, while bassist Barb Lovely's harmonies paint a matter-of-fact layer of brightness; instruments bring the hammer down but wrap the blow in velvet.
White Leather polishes the elements that have been present in the Lovelies all along-concise songwriting and expansive music-yet introduces a band more confident than ever before.
After forming in Milwaukee, the band quickly gained fans and renown, thanks to stylish live sets and their self-released CD, CMJ-charting Hot One (2000). Nevertheless, the non-Liv part of the Lovelies remained fluid. People came and went-some remaining proximate, like Frogs touring bassist Damien Strigens, whose sleekly retro artwork adorns White Leather-until early 2000, when Liv met Barb.
"I found exactly what I had been looking for when she joined the band," Liv says. "She's beyond musically proficient. I literally felt, the first time I sang with Barb, like we were the Everly Brothers and we'd been singing together our entire lives."
"We have a connection together, in terms of our influences, that is very complementary," Barb says. "The musical aspects of what we do take more work, but vocally, it's immediate."
With the addition of Billy Backes at the drumkit-Barb describes him as being not unlike "a drum machine with a great personality"-the Lovelies were solid. In January 2003, they signed with the Force MP label and raced forward with White Leather, spending a comparatively luxurious two weeks recording at Four Seasons Studio in St. Louis.
"The songs for the album were written over a period of about a year and a half," Liv says. "We really tried to create an album that defies being completely categorized. I wanted to bring an element of danger and glamour to the songs. I wanted to make the listener feel...period."
In this, she and the Lovelies succeed with flair and with basics. Songs like "In Over My Head" and "I Want Your Love" model classic pop-rock details-handclaps, keyboards transmitted from the early Cars records, crunchy riffs that Weezer couldn't top-but wear the simple garments of emotion.
At the label's behest, the Lovelies did re-record four songs from Hot One, but this brief look back has only sped up the band's creativity since they finished White Leather. Barb, noting that Liv's songwriting "has just exploded," adds that half of their next album is already written. Their appeal just keeps spreading: they've opened for (and sometimes cut the heads of) bands like Guided By Voices and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and they've received airplay from Rodney Bingenheimer and Jed the Fish on L.A.'s influential KROQ radio station.
For the Lovelies, however, the best accolades come from audiences. "We have these fans who come up to us and say, 'I can't get that song out of my head,'" Liv says. "We're lucky enough as artists to occasionally be tuned into a frequency that translates the human condition into a song. The listeners can sense that we are true to ourselves."
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