Today, I want to tell you about Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs. Its odd when I can't remember how or where I first heard an artist that I really like. However, that may be getting more common as I continue to stuff my brain, ears, and computer until beyond boatation. I may have heard them on KEXP, but I'm really not sure at all.
Holy Golightly has quite a few albums out under just her own name (it is her birth name: Holly Golightly Smith). I've gotten 2 from the library and they're ok. From what I've read and sampled online, her "solo" albums vary greatly in genre and production from garage rock, to soul, to lounge, etc. That's great, but not for me (yet). You may want to check those records out as well.
One reason her albums with The Brokeoffs (basically her and bandmate Lawyer Dave under a different pseudonym, as far as I can tell) resonate so much more with me is that they stay in the same vein: country, blues, old timeyish. I say if you got something good, milk it for all it's worth. Turn it inside out and upside down. 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' is just 'Satisfaction' turned around. This is mainly why I've lost interest in Neko Case and Lucinda Williams (they strayed too far from their good thing for me) and not in AC/DC or Chuck Berry (one trick ponies with a lot of mileage behind them).
Holly Golightly and The Brokeoffs are British (at least she is). Another fine example of the Brits interpreting our music and handing it back to us dusted up with style, grace, taste, and the respect that our rich musical heritage deserves.
So yes, they cover songs that they didn't write and they do them well, but they are also fine songwriters in their own rite and have a knack for writing songs that sound like they were written 100 years ago and have been in the American lexicon all along and are now newly rediscovered even though they sound so familiar.
They couch their songs in a comfort that can only be found in spare, tasteful arrangements and simple production. They create jangly, spooky, yet luring atmosphere with a lot of fairly simple slide guitar and beautiful harmonies. Not beautiful like today's music icons. Beautiful like the Carter Family singing quietly at your bedside as you doze off to sleep (but with far more irreverent lyrics). And they use them a lot. When the two of them sing together, there is a very plain and lovely magic in what they come up with. They just sound right together. But they also know how to rock, how to swagger, how to lope, how to groove. They just got that little sumpin' sumpin' that is truly special.
Lastly I love their album titles. They're hilarious. I have the ones with an *.
You Can't Buy a Gun When You're Crying *
Nobody Will Be There*
Dirt Don't Hurt*
No Help Coming
Sunday Run Over Me
All Her Fault*
Coulda Shoulda Woulda
Here's a taste. but check out more on your own! :-) And let me know what you think!