No Help Coming is the fourth full-length release by Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs, and the latest of nearly 30 albums on which the veteran indie icon is featured. But she's quick to dismiss any suggestion that she's refined her approach during her 20 years as a recording artist.
"I'm proud to say that I don't think there's been much development at all, really," she asserts. "I still only know the same chords I did when I was 14, and I still write songs about the same things. But I did get a tuner three years ago, which was monumental."
Indeed, as much as her work has evolved over the years, the London-born, Georgia-based singer/guitarist has maintained a fierce fidelity to the same raw DIY musical principles that first established her as a seminal influence upon multiple generations of garage combos and lo-fi artists. Her current outfit, Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs, is a stripped-down duo that teams her with Texas-bred multi-instrumentalist and longtime collaborator Lawyer Dave, who contributes guitar, drums and backing vocals.
On No Help Coming, Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs continue to make music that's spare and earthy yet unfailingly tuneful, drawing upon gritty blues, country and rockabilly influences while maintaining an unmistakable personal resonance. As Playboy.com commented, "Golightly's songs are so fresh and timeless they could have been recorded yesterday or 40 years ago."
The new 12-song set, recorded in the twosome's adopted home state of Georgia, features such notable originals as "The Rest of Your Life," "You're Under Arrest" "Get Out of My House" and the swaggering title track, which pack as much of a musical and emotional punch as anything they've recorded. No Help Coming also continues Golightly's longstanding tradition of putting her stamp on unexpected cover material, with personalized readings of country legend Bill Anderson's "The Lord Knows We're Drinking," the mysterious Mr. Undertaker's 1955 rhythm-and-blues cult classic "Here Lies My Love," and Wendell Austin's vintage psycho-country epic "L.S.D. Made a Wreck of Me." The last tune features an appropriately impassioned lead vocal by Lawyer Dave.
Born in Kensington, London, in the same hospital that Jimi Hendrix died in, Holly Golightly grew up in a bohemian household, absorbing a musical diet of psychedelic rock and soul. Her performing debut came via her then-boyfriend Bruce Brand, drummer of the legendary Billy Childish-led combo Thee Headcoats. An impromptu guest spot singing with that band led to a long and productive run as a member of Thee Headcoats' sister band, Thee Headcoatees, with whom she recorded TK albums.
In 1995, while still a member of Thee Headcoatees, Holly branched out into a solo career that quickly revealed a both a distinctive songwriting talent and a commanding stage presence. Her solo work also largely traded Thee Headcoatees' three-chord girl-group garage rock for a rootsier approach drawing much of its inspiration from rural American styles. She's been intensely prolific in the years since, releasing 20 solo albums as well as numerous singles and EPs for a variety of labels, including Damaged Goods, Kill Rock Stars, Super Electro and Sympathy for the Record Industry. She's also recorded collaborations with the likes of the White Stripes, Mudhoney, the Greenhornes and Rocket from the Crypt.
In 2007, Holly teamed with Lawyer Dave to form Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs. They purchased a parcel of rural land near Athens, Georgia, where they raise horses, dogs, chickens, geese and goats. Recording and performing as a duo, with Dave playing guitar with his hands and drums with his feet, they developed a loose, twangy sound that's perfectly suited to their lyrical explorations of such quintessentially American themes as whiskey, religion and guns.
Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs' 2007 debut album You Can't Buy a Gun When You're Crying won considerable attention from critics and fans alike. The pair continued to expand their audience with 2008's acclaimed Dirt Don't Hurt, their first release on the Transdreamer label. It was followed by the similarly well-received EP Devil Do and album Medicine County, released in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Now, No Help Coming adds a compelling new chapter to Holly Golightly's massively influential body of work. "I think I'm still doing exactly what I've always done, in that I've managed to keep making music I like," she observes. "Perhaps some people don't stick at it for as long because they didn't really like what they were doing in the first place. I think the trick is to just do what you like, and not aim to use every switch in the studio just because it's there."