Jessi, Kelley and Nikki Darlin have covered some rather impressive ground in the four years theyve been active as Those Darlins, from jamming retro country tunes on the front porch of a shack they once shared, to premiering a video for their own twang-punk number on Spin.com earlier this month. [Photo credit: Veta & Theo.]
The Murfreesboro, Tenn. musicians/friends started playing together casually, writing songs as a trio on guitar, bass and baritone ukulele, gigging around Nashville, and doing the odd mini-tour. But we put them together for fun, Jessi told me in a phone interview last week. We always wanted to record music, but really, just to have it recorded, not to sell or anything.
This cavalier attitude might have persisted indefinitely had the threesome not met current manager John Turner. He was the one who really encouraged us, and told us we could probably do this professionally.
Jessi said they had their Whoa, were actually a band moment when they began recording their first album in 2008. Producer Jeff Curtin and various fill-ins worked drum duty until the trio drafted drummer roommate Linwood Regensburg, who was an official full-time member by the time the bands self-titled debut dropped in 2009. That album served as an introduction to the hard-partying Southern belles who make up the bands core, their unruly behavior summed up in the snotty single, Wild One: If you can't handle crazy, then go ahead and leave / if you don't want a wild one, don't hang around with me."
Those Darlins hit the road in support of the album, honing their live chops and gaining the sort of confidence that comes with playing night after night for audiences ranging in appreciation from some to none. Along the way, they earned high praise from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork.com, and The New York Times, supported acts OK Go, Dan Auerbach and Langhorne Slim, among others, and made a few very memorable SXSW appearances.
Curtin was re-enlisted to produce their sophomore LP, Screws Get Loose, a mix of big beat garage pop, revved-up country punk, psyche-stoner drone and retro surf rock twang, the three Darlins vocal harmonies evoking the feel of 60s-era all-girl pop groups but carrying the drawling sneer and raw ferocity of modern rawker chicks. [Video after the jump.]