For the last few years, venerable no-wave provocateur Lydia Lunch has been collaborating with guitarist Cypress Grove, releasing in 2014 a split album with Spiritual Front called Twin Horses and a full LP called A Fistful of Desert Blues. The latter title is aptly descriptive of the moods evoked by Grove’s guitar playing—he initially gained notice as a collaborator with The Gun Club’s Jeffrey Lee Pierce, and the sounds he wrests from his guitar can recall the barrenness of Ry Cooder’s Paris, Texas soundtrack, or the lush menace of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. And Grove has in fact worked with Cave.
The duo’s new release is Under the Covers, which you’ve surely already guessed is a covers album because evidently when you make one of those you’re required to give it a title that telegraphs its content with a pun. The track list is…amusing. It includes versions of Cracker’s “Low,” Tom Petty’s “Breakdown,” Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode To Billie Joe,” and Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory,” a terrible song written for the pointless movie Young Guns II, which nonetheless became a huge hit because America’s love affair with quality is motherfucking unstoppable.
In contrast with her legendary rep as the often frightening and often tuneless screamer who announced her existence to the world chanting “LITTLE ORPHANS RUNNING THROUGH THE BLOODY SNOW,” Lunch’s Bon Jovi cover is a fairly reverent take (though it should go without saying it’s infinitely more listenable). But that shouldn’t really come as a surprise if you know her career—she’s done a fair few covers that would seem out of character. On her very first solo album, Queen of Siam, she did a straight cover of Classics IV’s “Spooky.”
1991 was a fertile year for Lunch cover songs—she released the album Shotgun Wedding with Birthday Party guitarist Rowland S. Howard, and the EP Don’t Fear the Reaper with Clint Ruin. The former included Led Zeppelin’s “In my Time of Dying,” while the latter not only opened with a cover of the Blue Oyster Cult song that served as its title, it ended with the Beatles’ “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road!?”
Even in Lunch’s prior collaborations with Grove, there’ve been some head-turning repertoire choices. Witness the official video for their cover of I-shit-you-not “Hotel California.”
Under the Covers is available now. Here’s that Bon Jovi cover. We’re sure you’ll agree that it far surpasses the original. We’re aware that’s not exactly a high bar, but we promise we’re not being snarky.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Lydia Lunch wants to be Louis CK’s ‘friend with benefits’
Dangerous Women: Lydia Lunch interviews Admiral Grey of Cellular Chaos