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Taylor & The PuffsBand Members:
One listen to the Puffs’ CDs or live show proves that they are anything but light and fluffy, and certainly not prosaic either. If bluesy rock n’roll infused into solid dirty pop songs is your particular drug of choice, then Taylor and the Puffs are homegrown black-tar heroin.
Hollingsworth, who cut his chops playing mercenary guitar for such local bands as Verbena, Cutgrass, Flair, and The Dexateens, truly shines in the role of singer/guitarist for his three-piece outfit, currently fleshed out by drummer Blake Williamson (also of Vesper) and bassist Macey Taylor (younger brother of Azure Ray’s Maria Taylor).
Hollingsworth’s songs are refreshingly original, matching endearingly dissonant guitar breaks with pure pop melody that never sounds trite thanks to both his unique vocal style (think J. Mascis of Dinosaur, Jr.) and sheer volume level.
Taylor and the Puffs already have two releases available: 2003’s You Know that Summer’s Comin’, and the recently released tape EP On White Out.
With the exception of a very few guest musicians on one or two tracks, each of these releases features only Hollingsworth, a cheap drum machine, and a simple Tascam Portastudio. That Hollingsworth was able to make these songs rock with all the fervor of a live band, and with the limitations of cheap equipment at that, is nothing short of amazing.
On “Shoot Me Shoot Me Heaven” from On White Out, he channels Low-era Bowie, while the title track from You Know That Summer’s Comin’ uses a pitch-shifter guitar pedal to invoke images of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in a way that is completely cool. Both tracks are extremely catchy without being simple or trite, which is perhaps the hardest songwriting trick to master.
Songs like “Take the Money” off of Summer’s Comin’, and On White Out’s “When I Get Around,” are ready-made rock singles that would stand admirably alongside whatever New York band is being trumpeted at the moment.
The strength of Hollingsworth’s guitar alone makes the Puffs stand out. It’s not uncommon to hear Jimi Hendrix comparisons while Hollingsworth blisters through a solo on stage. But the guitar doesn’t dominate the songs, and neither is it masturbatory.
Photo by Wes Frazer
You Know That Summers Comin