Exposé Online banner

Lydia Lunch / Cypress Grove — A Fistful of Desert Blues
(Rustblade rbl045, 2014, CD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2015-02-18

A Fistful of Desert Blues Cover artLydia Lunch is an American singer, poet, writer, actress, and self-empowerment speaker whose career was spawned by the New York No Wave scene in the mid 70s. Though you may think that Cypress Grove is a band, instead Cypress Grove is the pseudonym for an English musician, singer, songwriter, composer, and producer born the same year as Lydia. Having worked together on a prior project, Cypress Grove and Lydia Lunch decided to record A Fistful of Desert Blues. I have seen Lydia’s name appear in print and in the record bins for years, but never felt motivated enough to investigate, so when this Rustblade promo arrived I did not know what to expect. The combination of the album title and the cover art conjured images of spaghetti westerns and a mythical Gothic southwestern US. And when the first notes hit my ears I was not disappointed. Lydia has a distinctive voice, a raspy voice destroyed by years of abuse and smoking. Sometimes it is a bit hard to tolerate and at others her voice greatly compliments the music. Most of the twelve tracks are songs. However, the opening track, “Sandpit,” with its musical accompaniment evoking images of midnight in the Chihuahuan Desert is a poetic recitation along the lines of William S. Burroughs. The other tracks vary from simple song structures to more complex mood pieces, all united by the blasted desert and sinister ambiance of the music and Lydia’s lyrics. The disc takes things up a notch with the arrival of track 4, “Revolver,” as “the man with no name” walks into town. This is followed by the excellent “Beautiful Liar” that reminded me of Leonard Cohen’s “Waiting for a Miracle.” And disturbing lyrics jump out of the blue: “In another man’s arms I’ve planned your demise.” Another song of note is “I’ll Be Damned” that reminded me of Ween’s pseudo-Mexican reading of “Buenos Tardes Amigo.” All in all quite an entertaining disc if you yearn for a mythical West. Well over half of the disc is worthy of note with sometimes catchy melodies.

Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Lydia Lunch

Latest news

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Beardfish - Sleeping in Traffic: Part One – Over the years there have been so many “next great things” in progressive rock that the phrase has lost meaning. The world is big enough, and prog varied enough, that there are always good things...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues