Tuesday, April 26, 2011

British underground garage rock veteran makes South home, plays Charlotte


The idea of moving to the English countryside seems exotic and romantic to me. I wonder if Holly Golightly, one of my favorite British female singers, felt the same way moving to a farm outside Athens, Georgia a few years back. Before her move with Lawyer Dave, her partner in her latest band the Brokeoffs (pictured above), I’d only gotten a chance to see her once live a decade ago in Chapel Hill. But thanks to her proximity Golightly is close enough to make a Charlotte gig a reality. She plays Snug Harbor (1228 Gordon St.) with the Brokeoffs Friday, April 29th.

Friday’s concert marks her second time in Charlotte in the last couple of years. I missed her the first time she played Snug Harbor, but even my hardest-to-please friends raved about it.

I discovered Golightly when a Headcoatees album wound up in a gift (laundry) basket that a friend gave me for Christmas in college. My friend knew I was a fan of girl groups, Brits, and punk, so the recommendation was fitting. Golightly (named for a character in my favorite old movie, "Breakfast at Tiffany's") was already a solo artist by this point and I found that I enjoyed her solo albums more than Thee Headcoatees (the sister band to Billy Childish’s garage rock combo Thee Headcoats).

I lost track of her a few years ago, but the Charlotte shows have placed her back on my radar.

She and the Brokeoffs release “No Help Coming” Tuesday, April 26th. The album reflects the rootsy Americana, country, and blues of her new surroundings, but it’s still steeped in Golightly’s signature style – quirky, retro sass and a bit raw. It’s easy to imagine her singing some of these songs in a dirtfloor speakeasy forty or fifty years ago. The girl group charm, lo-fi garage rock quality, and tea-soaked accent I love remain. What’s interesting to me now is that Golightly always sang with a strong English accent, but there was also a bit of a slow drawl to her phrasing. Maybe she was bound for the deep South all along.

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