Lydia Loveless today shared her captivating, melancholic new single “Wringer” alongside its video, directed by herself and Michael Casey. The song is the second preview track from her new album Daughter (Honey, You’re Gonna Be Late Records), due out September, 25th, 2020, and follows the chiming lead single “Love Is Not Enough.” “Michael and I started making videos for the record right as the country started to go into lockdown, and ‘Wringer’ is a song about feeling trapped in a situation, so the horror theme made sense,” explains Loveless. “My friend Tony, who plays the kidnapper, is married to a mycologist and they have a huge lab on their property. I went over to scope out the lab and Tony said ‘Hey, I could put you in this pit. That would be really creepy!’ It was a great day of playing around and feeling creative in a time when everything felt horrific and uncertain.” Daughter–her first album in four years–marks the triumphant return of Loveless and documents her self-aware journey into independence.
After returning home from extensive touring around 2016’s acclaimed album Real, an exhausted Loveless felt she could no longer function at such a demanding level and longed for an overdue break. The next few months were marked by intense change: she parted ways with her husband, who also played bass in her band, and moved away from Columbus, Ohio, which had been her home for years. Loveless was left feeling disconnected from herself and everything she thought she knew. “I felt frustrated with myself for going straight from my tumultuous teen years into a marriage so that I could feel safe, and right when I was getting out of the situation, people around me were settling down and having kids. I felt lost and inexperienced,” she explains. “Meanwhile the political landscape was turning even more bleak. Many men were coming around to feminism because they had just had a daughter. I’d see billboards on the side of the road imploring people not to hurt women because they were somebody’s daughter or sister or mother. And I was living as an individual for the first time, and don’t have maternal desires. My family was in turmoil so defining myself as a daughter or sister didn’t give me much comfort.”
Relocated in North Carolina, Loveless began to focus on herself. With her band hundreds of miles away, she set up a home studio to figure out how to make music in a more isolated way than ever before. The songs didn’t always come easily, but Loveless found unexpected inspiration in learning to use new techniques and gear (including analog synthesizers and a drum machine), as well as writing on piano more than guitar—a process she says helped her stay out of the way of her songs. Unsure if these new songs would become an album or not, Loveless traveled to Chicago, Illinois, to record with Tom Schick (Wilco, Mavis Staples, Norah Jones) at The Loft. “For the first time I felt completely insecure about what I’d made,” she explains. “But recording brought things back into focus. I couldn’t back out of playing and explaining my songs and vision.”
Her longtime accomplices–multi-instrumentalists Todd May and Jay Gasper, and drummer George Hondroulis–eventually joined her in the studio, and her friend Laura Jane Grace came through to add guest vocals to the somber “September.” The album began to take shape over three sessions and Loveless, working closely with Schick, pushed herself to chase the new ideas, sounds, and directions that make Daughter a revelation.