Label: Damaged Goods
Release Date: September 11, 2015
Review Date: September 6, 2015
In a career that spans 25 years and more than 20 albums, Holly Golightly has established a singular niche as one of rock ’n’ roll’s most reliable iconoclasts. Along the way, the English singer-guitarist’s musical output has retained its scrappy D.I.Y. spirit as it’s continued to venture into new stylistic territory. In recent years, the London native has relocated to rural Georgia, where she and partner Lawyer Dave have carved out a new musical identity as Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs, exploring a rootsy, ramshackle array of blues and country influences.
While her work with the Brokeoffs has won her new levels of critical acclaim and fan loyalty, Holly’s longtime admirers maintain an abiding affection for the utterly distinctive, melodically infectious rock ’n’ roll records that originally established her as a musical force. Those fans will welcome the new Holly Golightly release Slowtown Now!, out September 11, 2015 on the legendary English indie imprint Damaged Goods.
Her first full-band effort since 2004’s Slowly But Surely, Slowtown Now! reunites Holly with her longstanding U.K. band of guitarists Ed Deegan and Bradley Burgess, bassist Matt Radford and drummer Bruce Brand. Recorded at London’s Gizzard Studios, the album echoes the free-spirited approach of Golightly’s early albums, drawing upon her deep affinity for vintage musical styles to create deeply personal, utterly distinctive songcraft. The 12-song set encompasses rocking swagger (“As You Go Down”), catchy girl-group pop (“What You See”), jazzy balladry (“Frozen in Time”) and playful exotica (“Seven Wonders”).
“There’s nothing contrived, it’s just a bunch of friends who love playing together,” says Holly, noting that the original impetus for the project was to mark the 25th anniversary of Damaged Goods, which released many of the artist’s landmark musical triumphs in the ’90s and ’00s.
She adds that she’d missed making music with her U.K. combo in recent years. “I’d been touring and recording so much with the Brokeoffs that I hadn’t done anything with my band for a long time, and I really missed playing with them,” she explains, adding, “It was very easy to step back into it. We’ve worked together for so long that it’s telepathic at this point, even with the gap in between. So it was easy to just get back together in a room and pick up where we’d left off.”
Born in the Kensington section of London, in the same hospital where Jimi Hendrix died, Holly made her performing debut via her relationship with then-boyfriend Bruce Brand. An impromptu guest spot singing with Brand and lo-fi D.I.Y. guru Billy Childish’s seminal garage-primitive combo Thee Headcoats led to Holly jointly forming that group’s sister band, Thee Headcoatees, with whom she recorded eight albums.
In 1995, while still a member of Thee Headcoatees, she branched out into a solo career that quickly revealed both a distinctive songwriting talent and a commanding stage presence. Her solo work largely traded Thee Headcoatees’ three-chord girl-group garage rock for a rootsier, more intimate approach drawing inspiration from a broad range of American styles. She’s been intensely prolific in the years since, releasing a steady stream of albums, singles and EPs on a variety of independent labels, including Damaged Goods, Kill Rock Stars, Super Electro and Sympathy for the Record Industry. She’s also collaborated on record with such friends and admirers as the White Stripes, Mudhoney, Rocket from the Crypt and the Greenhornes.
Her impressive history aside, Slowtown Now! makes it clear that Holly Golightly remains a unique and prolific musical force, continuing to create vital new music on a regular basis. She and Lawyer Dave recently completed a new Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs album, Coulda Shoulda Woulda, slated for release in October, with an American tour to follow.
“I really love having these two parallel things going,” Holly notes. “They’re different enough that they don’t step on each other’s toes, but they’re both me.”