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

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

Christian Décamps & Fils - Vesoul – A brand new live album by Décamps, a superb follow-up to his 1994 studio album Nu, even though only one track from that album is included in this set (and it's one of the most abrasive — "Sur les...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues