The three girls that comprise Those Darlins are natives of South Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia, respectively, but they consider their home base to be Murfreesboro, Tenn., where they originally met at the first-ever Southern Girls Rock & Roll Camp. They recorded their debut album in New York City with the same guy who produced Vampire Weekend’s first LP.
So, from that description, you can probably detect something of a contradiction in genres.
But before I delve into the band’s sound, I should probably provide a bit of a personal backstory.
The first time I heard of Those Darlins was in January when I received a Facebook invite from a radio station in Charlottesville, Va., that was sponsoring a show of theirs. Obviously, I would not be attending said show, but considering my love of the station, I locked away the band’s name in the back of my mind.
Fast forward to early March, and I’m preparing for a trip to St. Louis to hang out with friends and watch some college basketball. I didn’t feel like going to games the first night I was in town, so I looked up concerts in the local alt-weekly. One of the editor’s picks was for a Those Darlins show.
So, I figured, why not? I downloaded their debut album and listened to it four times during the drive to The Lou.
I wasn’t totally sure what to expect when I started listening to the self-titled album, but from the opening lines of “Red Light Love”, I was hooked. (Sidenote: I know I’ve heard that song somewhere before, but I have no idea where)
The band can’t really be pegged into one clear genre. It describes itself as country/punk/pop. The initial description I recorded on my cell phone during the drive was: “Those Darlins are like a mix between Dixie Chicks and Vivian Girls. Their music is something of a modern country-honky-tonk hybrid, but it’s infused with an indie-punk ethos.”
Eloquent, I know.
Here are some of the labels I gave their various songs after listening to the album recently for a fifth or sixth time: “garage rock”, “country”, “very country”, “garage/country”, “Appalachia country”, “honky-tonk”, “honky-tonk that comes from an Old West saloon” and “indie-punk country”.
So, I was clearly intrigued my their music, but after seeing them live, I was blown away. Most of that country vibe was replaced with a punk rock/riot grrl edge that I just fell in love with.
As a band, they’ve been getting solid reviews from some of the top tastemakers in music journalism, but they still don’t even have a Wikipedia page.
They do, however, have a MySpace page and official website where you can hear for yourself what they sound like. Their best, most widely accessible song is probably “Red Light Love”, but here is my personal favorite …