For Lydia Loveless, there’s only one way for love to go: wrong. On this repackaged (beer-colored vinyl, anyone?) release of her 2012 EP, her sand-in-the-Vaseline take on romance and relationships is heavy on the guitar pop, with little of the steel guitar and other touches that put her band in the alt-country category. The cover of Kesha’s “Blind” is the most country-tinged song, delivered with the charm of early Wilco. “Lover’s Spat” shows off a stunning voice that’s big enough be both pugnacious and vulnerable. Her phrasing turns almost conversational as she sings to her man, post-fight, “Don’t go running around naked on the side of the road/ Honey, you look ridiculous/ With that cut on your eye and your dick hanging out/ Why don’t you care about us?”
A totally retooled take on Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U” features scratching rhythm guitar and a stuttering ’80s tempo as Loveless quivers her way through the oft-covered classic. Boy Crazy and Single(s) closes with my favorite Elvis Costello song, “Alison.” It might seem like low-hanging fruit for a cover, but as Loveless sings accompanied only by a strummed electric guitar with a clean tone, her anguish and longing hit like a fist to the heart.