Death to Smoochie

Bluesy chanteuse Holly Golightly is the perfect modern equivalent of her iconic namesake in Breakfast at Tiffany's. You can just imagine her replacing Audrey Hepburn in the movie: The landlord, Mr. Yunioshi, would yell from the stairs of their New York brownstone, "Miss Golightly. Miss Go-LIGHT-ly!" She wouldn't hear a thing. She would be in the back and--"Moon River" be damned--our heroine would be giving yet another bachelor the goodbye beneath strains of amped-up electric feedback.

"You ain't no big thing, baby, like a movie star," she would moan with effortless grace. "You ain't no big thing, baby, like you think you are."

A fiercely independent muse, singer-songwriter Holly Golightly is the punk-rock version of Truman Capote's famed swan, shucking socialite ribbons to traipse off to the Bowery. She stands, statuesque, with an ivory countenance--every inch the "soap and water cleanliness and cereal health" Capote envisioned. Yet Golightly has a small tattoo on her shoulder and often dangles a cigarette from her pursed lips, all with the same effervescent charm as her fictional namesake.

In reality, our Golightly has flourished in a fairytale far more familiar to the insurgent rock 'n' roll set. The artist came of age in early Nineties London by befriending Billy Childish, purveyor of the three-chord-frolic as leader of garage-punk icons the Milkshakes, Thee Mighty Caesars, and Thee Headcoats. As Childish's protégée, Miz Golightly spent nearly ten years mixing schoolgirl innocence with ribald charm, fronting proto-riot grrrls Thee Headcoatees, and balancing the sort of naïveté found on the Kinks' "Gotta Get the First Plane Home" with the Childish naughtiness of "Cum Into My Mouth." She released a steady stream of singles and LPs on various independent labels around the world, a number of which have recently been collected on the compilation Singles Round-Up (Damaged Goods). The collection showcases Golightly's fine skills as auteur of the ultimate rejection.

Her voice is ever tough and assured, with tenderness and a hint of the sultry--as if she's an accidental goddess. Sure, she'll be your baby. Or maybe she'll be a more assured Ronnie Spector. In fact, tripping over a few slippery chords, Golightly admits in "Card Table": "If I'll be with you to play your game, I would be your card table."

Just don't pin her as the shrinking violet: Listen to "Til I Get," which carries the warning, "You're not going anywhere, I'm not getting out of here, til I get what I came for." If only poor Ms. Spector had had it in her to sass back like Golightly does in "My Own Sake": Above a rush of leaking distortion and xylophone, Golightly declares, "Don't let nothing get me down now/I know I've got it all worked out/I know another will surely come/And now I'm really gonna get me some."

Written like tainted love letters, Golightly's songs work like a kiss-off sealed with lipstick. Singles Round-Up concludes with a cover of Pavement's "Box Elder," a pure pop-rock shimmy. Golightly exclaims, "I gotta get the fuck out of this town, I've got a lot of things to do. I've got a lot of good things coming my way and I'm afraid to say you're not one of them." Spoken like a true Park Avenue princess.

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