First, a fake biography of...
Honestly, this gal couldn't be cooler if you dipped her in liquid nitrogren. From acoustic chanteuse to garage rock goddess, few musicians have gone through as many stylistic permutations as the snarly and vivacious Holly Golightly. Strangely, many people are obsessed with Golightly's early 1960s career, when she was a swinging New York City socialite who dabbled in acoustic music. Her early efforts couldn't exactly be called folk music, though her languid vocal style in many ways prefigured the vocals of Astrud Gilberto, Nico and other blase, deadpan vocalists. Her rendition of "Moon River" was particularly influential...
Just as her career was taking off, though, Holly was devastated by the death of her brother, Fred, and by other personal losses. She dropped out of sight for a while; indeed, her whereabouts for nearly two decades are mostly a matter of conjecture. Unofficial accounts place Golightly as a member of a New England hippie commune, some say she went to Hollywood, while still others recall her charity work in Harlem. It is fairly certain that in the early '70s she lived in Mexico with exiled barbershop legend, Norm Wooster and that it was on his recommendation that she relocated to England.
Transplanted to the UK, Golightly found her footing as a musician. Holly rose to the top of the pub rock scene, and was notorious for her fisticuffs and verbal fights. She regularly drank Nick Lowe under the table, and was said to have told Mick Jones that the name of his first band, the 101ers, was "poncy," leading to its rechristening as The Clash.
From these auspicious beginnings, Golightly fell in with a bad crowd, and began recording with her new band, the Billy Childish-inspired, all-female Thee Headcoatees, consisting of her, and fellow bad girls Kyra LaRubia, Ludella Black, and "Bongo" Debbie. Recording both as a solo artist and with Thee Headcoatees, Holly Golightly has cranked out some of the most badass, slippery slinky rocknroll ever put on wax, and has re-defined what "cool" is in the latter part of the 20th Century. After more than a decade and several albums, labels and countless music industry awards, Ms. Golightly is still a romantic at heart, and is still searching for her missing Cat.
Holly Golightly "The Good Things" (10") (Damaged Goods, 1995)
Holly Golightly "The Good Things" (CD) (Damaged Goods, 1995)
Lots of slinky reverb and snarly vox... Moodier, bummier lyrics than previous efforts, but still with a buoyant, playful vibe. I think my favorite track on here my actually be "Head Start," a daft little nothing of a toss-off, where the musicians lose their train of thought and crack themselves up. Overall, another great record, with an appropriately garagey feel. Highly recommended.
Holly Golightly "The Main Attraction" (Teenage Kicks, 1995)
GREAT RECORD! Holly reveals her devotion to Beggar's Banquet-era Stones, with raspy slide guitars galore, and languid, snarly no-love songs. Uneven in parts, but the highlight tracks are stellar. Recommended!
Holly Golightly "Girl In The Shower" (7") (SuperElectro, 1996)
Holly Golightly "Pinky Come Back" (7") (SuperElectro, 1996)
Two great singles on Steve (Mudhoney) Turner's label, with killer hooks and super melodies. Well, gee, what else do you need to know?
Holly Golightly "Jiggy Jiggy With...." (7") (Vinyl Japan, 1996)
Holly Golightly "Mary-Ann" (7") (Vinyl Japan, 1996)
More cool stuff! The Jiggy Jiggy EP even has a Mudhoney cover, demonstrating that Holly knows which side her toast is buttered on. Both discs are highly recommended (and are also included as bonus tracks on the CD version of "Laugh It Up"...)
Holly Golightly "Laugh It Up" (LP) (Vinyl Japan, 1996)
Holly Golightly "Laugh It All Up" (CD) (Vinyl Japan, 1997)
A relaxed, lowkey homage to Great Britain's '60s electric blues scene, this album features great versions of old songs by Ike Turner, Willie Dixon, Bobby Womack, and the like. The CD edition also collects tracks off her Jiggy Jiggy and Mary Ann EPs, which, though they dip into indie rock and girl group sounds (and are more lavishly arranged) still nicely dovetail with the LP's blues-garage vibe. Ace bunny killer!
Holly Golightly "Painted On" (Sympathy For The Record Industry, 1997)
Lovely and lush -- with more strange, Stones-y reverb-y slow electric blues ballads. The lyrics are dark in tone, indeciperable in meaning... Mostly, though, you'll probably be paying attention to the music and mostly I expect you'll like what you hear. Recommended!
Holly Golightly "Up The Empire" (Sympathy For The Record Industry, 1998)
A raspy lo-fi live album, full of bottle-clinking, drunken cheering ambiance. The guitars and vocals are all overmodulated and flattened out, but the performances are compelling. Harder to listen to as an album, but nice in a mix of music.
Holly Golightly "Serial Girlfriend" (Damaged Goods, 1998)
WOW. Holly continues her explorations of Stones-y blues-rock, but this time with a smooth veneer of xylophonic spy-jazz slathered on top. The lyrical theme is still largely the same (boy meets girl, girl draws blood), but this time there's a little more depth, and the songs coalesce to create a sense of drained energy and uneasiness. It's still pretty tounge-in-cheek, and thus not as earnestly, sincerely depressing as Scrawl, but still in the same ballpark. Oh, enough of the literary criticism! The main thing about this album is that it ROCKS -- This is Golightly's best album yet, with Holly leading a ten-man band through some exceptionally captivating tunes. Highlight: the pure pop heaven of the instrumental, "Grand Stand," which may be the best theme song to a TV show that never was. HIGHLY recommended!
Holly Golightly & Billy Childish "In Blood!" (Wabana, 1999)
"One Chord! One Song! One Sound!" ... and if only they'd been kidding! Well, actually, for a purposefully monotonous album, this is pretty fun. Although Holly doesn't really get much chance to stretch out musically on this doggedly primitive electric R&B excursion, she does seem to be enjoying herself. And, yeah, it's one big Bo Diddley-by-way-of-Jimmy Reed riff after another, with silly/sexy lyrics that are about pretty much nothing at all. It's a lark -- of the sort that no one but the Medway crowd could pull off. Either you love it or you don't!
Holly Golightly "God Don't Like It" (Damaged Goods, 2000)
Serial Girlfriend is a pretty hard act to follow, but this record is still a nice chunk 'o' fun. There's plenty more of the luxuriantly wicked guitar playing Holly's been working at, with wah-wah reverb in the Jimmy Reed/Stones/Standells garage blues vein... Highlights include the catchy "Second Chance" and a wonderfully off-kilter and aggressive cover of Bill Withers' "Use Me"... the only disappointment is that she doesn't actually cover the famous '50s anti-rock gospel tune that the album's title comes from... but maybe there's a 7" floating around out there or something. Hey, if you've been loving this gal thus far, you owe it to yourself to check this disc out, too.
Holly Golightly "Live In America" (Majestic Twelve Records, 2000)
Short but sweet. Holly and two pals - guitarist John Gibbs and drummer Bruce Brand - work their way up the West Coast, starting in LA and winding up in Seattle. Along the way, they burn away at the best garage blues imaginable -- eight great tunes and a lot of bad attitude. Nice to hear Holly with a stripped-down ensemble (no bass), but then again, it's just nice to hear Holly! Highly recommended.
Holly Golightly & Dan Melchoir "Desperate Little Town" (Sympathy For The Record Industry, 2001)
Brace yourselves... this may shock you, but I totally dig this record. Holly and her longtime lead guitarist take it down a notch or two for a laid-back, impishly acoustic outing -- half Delta blues, half skiffle. It's an oddball album, but nice on the ears. Certainly a change of pace from their string of fab Ike Turner-derived R&B garage albums.
Holly Golightly "Singles Roundup" (Damaged Goods, 2001)
This is an album that's been a long time coming, and which will make Holly fans old and new happy as clams... At last, a compilation of her best 7"-only releases from over the years, gathered up from several uber-cool indie labels. This includes alternate versions of several songs that have appeared on LP, as well as some real obscuro tracks. It's a little light on the cover tunes, but since Holly writes such great original material, we'll forgive them this omission... Get it while you can -- this is one of her best records to date!
Holly Golightly "Truly She Is No Other" (Damaged Goods, 2003)
Has the queen of kick-ass, take-no-prisoners garage rock mellowed out? Well, not quite, but this fine album is perhaps a bit smoother and more melodic than usual. A heavy '60s poppiness pervades, complete with a couple of Kinks covers and some girl-groupish numbers, and Cincinnati, Ohio's top garage band, the Greenhornes backing her up -- what's not to love? On a couple of tunes she toys with an apparent lesbian subtext (a mild twist on the S&M-y transgressiveness of the Headcoatees days...) All in all, another fine outing!
Holly Golightly "Down Gina's At 3" (Sympathy For The Record Industry, 2003)
Holly's up to her same old tricks on this stripped-down live set which includes a lot of Holly's "hits" and a few well-chosen covers... Drummer Bruce Brand is there, naturally, along with bassist Jack Lawrence from the Greenhornes, and some celeb guest stars turning up for the encore songs (which end with a cover of the Sonics' "Shot Down..." Now you're talking!!) This set didn't blow me away as much as some of her other records, but it's pretty good garage rock nonetheless, with an informality and relaxed feel that's kind of a nice change of pace. Worth checking out, for sure.
Holly Golightly "Slowly But Surely" (Damaged Goods, 2004)
Holly Golightly "Live At The Casbah: 10/31/2004" (Re:Live, 2004)
Holly Golightly "Live At Maxwell's: 11/24/2004" (Re:Live, 2004)
Holly Golightly "My First Holly Golightly Album" (Damaged Goods, 2005)
Holly Golightly "Tell Me Now So I Know" (EP) (Damaged Goods, 2005)
From the soundtrack to the film, Broken Flowers.
Holly Golightly "Down The Line" (Damaged Goods, 2006)
Holly Golightly "Christmas Tree On Fire" (EP) (Damaged Goods, 2006)
Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs "You Can't Buy A Gun When You're Crying" (Damaged Goods, 2007)
Holly Golightly "On The Fire" (EP) (Damaged Goods, 2007)
Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs/The Stratford Sparrows "Split Single" (EP) (Damaged Goods, 2007)
A split single shared with the band, the Stratford Sparrows. Holly sings two songs, "I Want To Hug You, Kiss You, Squeeze You (Til My Arms Fall Off)" and "No Big Thing.
Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs "Dirt Don't Hurt" (Transdreamer, 2008)
Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs "Devil Do" (Transdreamer, 2009)
A 4-song EP...
Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs "Medicine County" (Transdreamer, 2010)