Published on April 15th, 2010 | by Nature Humphries0
Those Darlins Heat Oxford
Last year when Those Darlins played at Proud Larrys’, I showed up late and only caught the last three or four songs of their set. They were loud, a little drunk I think, and at one point Nikki Darlin jumped off the stage to provoke the audience. It’s certainly entertaining watching grown women act like circus freaks and Those Darlins deliver in that aspect. I was really blown away by their rowdy performance and immediately snatched up their self-titled debut CD, which I listened to on repeat for at least three months, forced my parents and anyone else within reach to listen, and took to singing “The Whole Damn Thing” to my co-workers (you can listen to it online, just Google it and I guarantee it will get stuck in yer head).
Then, in December they returned to Oxford to play at The Lyric with Lucero and I totally missed it because I had to work. I even spotted them munching on sushi at Two Stick before that show but I was too shy to introduce myself. (Yes, I am actually shy—those who know me may find that hard to believe. F**k it, I got star struck!)
Now, history is doomed to repeat itself, as I will be hustling drinks all day at The Library (come let me make you shots) and more than likely will miss their one o’clock set on the South Stage at the Double Decker Festival on Saturday, April 24. But that doesn’t mean YOU have to miss it. In fact, I urge each and every one of you who enjoy watching hot chicks play great music to be front-and-center. And buy a CD.
As for what they sound like, well, they’ve been described as Country, Pop, Punk, Cow-Punk, Garage, Post-punk, and more, but I don’t like to pick labels. I read one brilliant blogger (from LaundroMatinee.com) refer to them as “equal parts sequins, sweat, Patsy Cline, pop, and punk rock.” He also said that they sound “as if the Carter Family started covering The Ronettes in a garage with the Allman Brothers. It’s whisky-soaked roots rock, served up southern-style.” Basically, it’s three bad ass women and their trusty drummer boy kickin’ out some tasty jams. I don’t know what to call it—I just know that it makes me want to dance and take off my shirt, maybe shoot some whisky and play air guitar.
Those Darlins are: Jessi Darlin on the guitar, Kelley Darlin holdin’ down the bass, Nikki Darlin strummin’ the baritone ukulele, and drummer “Sherriff” Linwood Regensberg. All three Darlins started playing music at an early age, and Kelley is founder of the Southern Girls Rock & Roll Camp in the band’s hometown of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, which is a summer camp for young girls to learn music skills like songwriting and recording.
Those Darlins just finished a tour with Deer Tick, and before that, The Black Lips. They played SXSW the past two years and had a slot at Bonnaroo last summer. They tour relentlessly and will be taking on Australia later this summer. In June, Oh Boy records will release a tribute album to John Prine, featuring artists like My Morning Jacket, The Avett Brothers, and of course Those Darlins, who perform “Let’s Talk Dirty in Hawaiian.”
The band also maintains a fantastically entertaining travel blog, where you can see pictures and read about what life is like for them on the road. They have a pretty gritty style, seem to enjoy drinkin’ and cussin’ and eating burritos. Pretty much the kind of girls I’d like to hang out with. They’re purely wild at heart, as my current favorite song advises: “If you don’t want a wild one, quit hanging ‘round with me / You knew right from the start that’s my personality…”
I’m not really a music writer, and besides, The Village Voice’s Michael D. Ayers put it quite nicely, writing that “all of this celebratory debauchery is done with a rather coy wink: Those Darlins flaunts a subtle yet sophisticated blend of country, rockabilly, and ’60s girl-group pop with the livelihood of a garage band hung up on the Sex Pistols.” He goes on to describe his favorite track, “Snaggletooth Mama,” which is an ode to hickdom with lyrics like “Well I’m a snaggletooth mama don’t own no shoes, I’ve got a tin roof tan / With my cornbread daddy right by my side, we do the best that we can.”
Those Darlins will win you over, no doubt. So make sure you don’t miss their performance at the Double Decker. I might even be able to sneak away from work long enough to shake a tail feather with ‘em.
This article was originally published in The Local Voice #104 – April 15,2010