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

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Roedelius - Selbsportrait 6: Diary of the Unforgotten – Roedelius has been quietly producing his unmistakingly original music for a long time now. And it's high time that he be given the kudos lauded upon his parent group. Yes, I am aware that Cluster was...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues