Real is one of those exciting records where you sense an artist truly hitting their stride. Whether you've followed Lydia's career forever, or you're new to her game, Real is gonna grab your ears. On her first two Bloodshot full-length releases, there were fevered comparisons to acknowledged music icons like Loretta Lynn, Stevie Nicks, and the Replacements... She's half this, half that, one part something else. But now, Real and Lydia Loveless are reference points all their own: Genre-agnostic, Lydia and her road-tightened band stretch from soaring, singalong pop gems, roots around the edges, to proto-punk. There are many sources, but the album creates a sonic center all it's own. Song to song, moment to moment, you might find yourself thinking "that could be" this, or "there are moments of" that, but you are quickly transported away to another moment, another thought, another sound, another shot at honesty. Always a gifted songwriter, Lydia gives the full and sometimes terrifying, sometimes ecstatic force to the word "real." Struggles between balance and outburst, infectious choruses fronting emotional torment are sung with a sneer, a spit, or a tenderness and openness that is both intensely personal and relatably universal. It is, as the title suggests, real.