May 2014 08

Lydia Lunch & Cypress Grove - A Fistful of Desert BluesLydia Lunch & Cypress Grove
Category: Blues / Goth
Album: A Fistful of Desert Blues
Stars: 4
Blurb: Songs of solitude and heartbreak in the barren wastelands of a lost frontier from two visionary and influential artists.


As one of the most controversial and provocative artists of the New York no wave scene, Lydia Lunch has covered all of the bases – from singer to poet to actress to writer – to become a living legend. Having defied the conventions of the recording industry to maintain her artistic freedom, she signed to independent label Rustblade in late 2013, with A Fistful of Desert Blues being her first release with the imprint. A collaborative effort with guitarist Cypress Grove, there is nothing subtle about the album title, very clearly stating what can be found across these dozen tracks: desolate acoustic guitar driven blues.

Beginning with the ghostly “Sandpit,” on which Grove’s howling guitar shrieks like tumbleweeds across the wasteland of sparse acoustic strumming, Lunch’s raspy, almost croaking voice narrating a fugitive tale as bleak as the imagery it evokes. The song sets the stage for what is to ensue, with simplicity and atmosphere taking prominence as Lunch’s melodic sensibilities peek through the near impenetrability of her voice, wavering and gritty, as Grove’s sharp and steely tone sets the scene of wandering in the isolated badlands. From the soulful and lonely waltz of “Revolver” to the harrowing and haunting “I’ll be Damned” on which Grove’s shrill guitar and impassioned vocal accompaniment elevate the song to the heights of emotional turmoil, to the galloping rhythm of guitar and drums on “Jericho” evoking a minstrel tale from the old west and finally the jazzy lounge of “TB Sheets” with its seedy cadence and interplay of instruments and scathing vocals, the album plays as a blissfully depressive and enticingly vexing soundtrack to the trials and tribulations of lonesome strangers without names.

Though the album does portray an ambient minimalism, the occasional presence of other sounds and voices scattered throughout these 12 songs, provided by such accompanying troubadours as keyboardist Philippe Petit, vocalist Helen Cox and Carla Bozulich, sax/harmonica player Walter Daniels, and guitarist/mandolin player Mick Cozens. Along with elements of country and roots rock reminiscent of Johnny Cash or Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler, perhaps the most obvious influence to be heard on A Fistful of Desert Blues is the darkened crooning blues rock of Nick Cave, which makes sense given that both Lunch and Grove have collaborated with Cave in the past. A Fistful of Desert Blues delivers what it promises with such bravado and passion that despite its despairing mood, it comes across as an insistent and pleasurable experience.
Track list:

  1. Sandpit
  2. When You’re Better
  3. Devil Winds
  4. Revolver
  5. Beautiful Liar
  6. I’ll be Damned
  7. St. Marks Place
  8. Jericho
  9. Tuscaloosa
  10. Summer of My Disconnect
  11. End of My Rope
  12. TB Sheets

Lydia Lunch Website
Lydia Lunch Facebook
Rustblade Website
Rustblade MySpace
Rustblade Facebook
Rustblade Twitter
Purchase at:
Amazon CD+DVD (Deluxe Box Edition)
Amazon CD (Limited Bag Edition)
Storming the Base CD (Standard Edition)
Storming the Base CD+DVD (Deluxe Box Edition)
Storming the Base Vinyl
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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