As is my want, I’ll be peppering my M reviews with occasional recent purchases from preceding letters.
My US intro into the recent works of Ms. Golightly, means I do keep eye out for cheap discs from her back catalogue.
While my sense, HG jumps around genres at will, this album from 2000 isn’t too far removed from her current hillbilly schtick. It’s definitely at the retro, rootsy lo-fi end of the spectrum.
There’s an energetic bluesy feel to the treble-heavy guitar work, and Holly’s vocals hold their own against occasional sweeps of Hawaiian guitar and quite a lot of reverb:
Golightly makes this particular genre look (and sound) extremely easy, but the familiarity and intimacy is a relatively rare thing. Most importantly she avoids sounding too backward-looking or precious in recreating a simpler, more plaintive yet painful style of music:
I’ll definitely be seeking out more from her oeuvre. Anyone got any recommendations?
File under: What would God know?
Holly and her buddy Lawyer Dave (how’s that for an anachronistic name for a purported hillbilly?) continue on their merry way with this 2011 album.
One again the schtick is rural, rebellious and ‘down home’. And again, they go damn close to pulling it off.
This was the album they were showcasing when I caught them live, so it’s fun to have the backstories to a few of the standout tracks. For example, knowing that Burn, oh junk pile, burn is about a crazy former neighbour with a penchant for Xmas day bonfires, make me delight more in the wordplay and playfulness. The Hawaiian guitar on said track also adds (in a bizarre fashion) to the off-centre, gothic vibe of patches of this album).
Again, the three or four standout tracks on here are absolute rippers for the genre, such as the title track, L.S.D (Rock’n’Roll Prison), and their latest effort at bating god botherers, Lord knows we’re drinking.
The rest of the tunes are little too laid back for my liking (actually ‘loving’… I do like them). Nevertheless, this makes for a great Sunday arvo, beer on the balcony listen (although I feel I should have a shotgun on my lap, rather than this damn computer thingy).
File under: Self reliant
One Friday night in NYC, while the missus was off gallivanting in London, I jumped the L-Train over to Brooklyn to check out Ms Golightly.
I had a recollection of said lady singing on a White Stripes album and one by the Greenhornes, and being name-checked regularly as a righteous and prolific babe in the serious UK music press, but couldn’t have told you much more about her oeuvre.
To my delight I discovered she is in middle of a serious hillbilly, rootsy phase. She has teamed up with a mightily hirsute bloke he plays a mean slide and pedal steel, and they have cobbled together a songbook full of front porch laments and songs screaming for some jugband accompaniment:
The vibe is very much Deliverance through rose-coloured glasses. The devil is the good guy, and Jesus ain’t no use. Alcohol is Medicine Water and Daddy seems like he’s a little more amorous than he should be.
These two make this genre seem easy and alluring, although there are a few too many lazy tracks in the middle that have me craving some hooch to liven it all up, but the album ends in a flourish and has me craving more woodsy, mountain action.
File under: Damn them gun control laws
Jumping from one review to the next, it is hard not to make connections between the albums.
So, slipping this album out of the record stack and returning ‘Grease’ to its sleeve, I am predisposed to hear this LP as a retro effort.
I suspect that would have been the case irrespective. We jump forward from the cheesy early ’50s of slicked back hair and burgeoning sexual freedom, to the anything goes, lava-lamped, strobe-lit haze of the late 1960s.
The Greenhornes are a garage band with all the trimmings. They recreate the world where psychedelia meets British invasion, and nail the sound and vibe perfectly.
Put in an Australian context, these guys sound like a hybrid of Even, You Am I and Radio Birdman. So, it’s pretty tidy stuff and well worth throwing a stylus on.
The opener Satisfy My Mind is a pounding power-pop treat. The highlight involves a guest vocalist however. Holly Golightly pops in to deliver a perfect cameo on There is an End. It would serve as a perfect montage companion in some trippy ‘happening’:
File under: Cool phono
Posted in G, On Vinyl
Tagged album, album review, CD review, Even, Greenhornes, Holly Golightly, music, music review, Radio Birdman, You Am I