The voice of Holly Golightly–a British singer who first entered the music world as a member of Thee Headcoatees, the all-lady spinoff of Thee Headcoats, and who has also lent her vocals to songs by Rocket From The Crypt and the White Stripes–is a whiskey-soaked marvel, communicating pain and suffering with something as simple as a drawn-out vowel. She mostly operates in the idiom of AM-radio-ready rock from the ’50s and ’60s–feedback-laden riffs that are sliced in two by single-string solos, breezy drumming–but her voice, which can veer from mournful to snappy in a single measure, takes all of her material to a sometimes devastatingly current place.Tonight, her duo the Broke-Offs plays at Mercury Lounge; tomorrow, the Knitting Factory. Get familiar with five great songs from her very large catalog, after the jump.
5. “Second Place”
Holly’s swaggering sneer in this kiss-off is not only a thing to behold, it’s something worth channeling.
This track, from the new album No Help Coming, is a woozy, kind of creepy track, drenched in bending guitars and a ton of feedback. Holly’s voice here takes on a slightly sinister cast as she sings of haunting a lover who spurned her, threatening to be in his shadow forever.
3. “Your Love Is Mine”
This song defines “bare bones,” but the beauty of Holly’s voice is that it doesn’t need much of anything in the way of adornment to make its point.
2. “There’s An End”
This track, on which Holly is backed by the Cincinnati garage-rock outfit The Greenhornes, appeared on the soundtrack to Broken Flowers, and it’s another example of her voice lending just the right touch of cracked-heart mystique to a slightly mournful rock song.
This 1995 slow burner echoes Wreckless Eric’s lovelorn “Whole Wide World,” but it’s one of the best songs about post-breakup self-determination to be put to tape. Don’t save it for the next time you’re waiting to get over someone, though; its growled-out chorus and deceptively simple structure make for satisfying listening even on days when you’re happy in the real world.
Holly Golightly & The Broke-Offs play the late show at Mercury Lounge tonight and the Knitting Factory tomorrow, May 6