In reality, she is a pop singer in the truest sense. An idiosyncratic guitarist and a prolific songwriter--she's put out 11 records since 1995--her strength is the same as that of any great pop singer, from Leslie Gore to Joey Ramone: She delivers love songs with devastating smarts. Those love songs range from her own to beat-up versions of Ike Turner ("Your Love is Mine") and Lee Hazlewood ("Sand") standards and Thee Headcoatees' extremely charming "Come Into My Mouth."
I had to get liquored up before the last time I saw her play; I was sick with anticipation. She played in a vacant storefront to about twice as many people as any fire marshal would tolerate. (The smoky bar has been done.) Live, her brand of punk romanticism is unassuming at first--she's a very plain woman with little stage presence. Walking home afterward, I was struck by how effortlessly the whole show had gone. I am not the kind who gets mushy about pop music, but Holly Golightly hits me in the gut.