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Those Darlins

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Album Review

To get a good sense on what Those Darlins are all about simply listen to "Wild One," the second track on their rip-roaring self-titled debut. The three Darlins girls pretty much sum up their musical personas when they sing that, "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." Even if the song isn't autobiographical, it speaks to the trio's devilish nature. The Tennessee-based band borrows punk's unbridled attitude and transports it to rural mountain music. It's not a new idea. Listening to this disc, you can hear echoes of the Knitters, the Waco Brothers and their ‘90s-era Bloodshot Records brethren (like the Meat Purveyors, Moonshine Willy, and Split Lip Rayfield). However, Those Darlins definitely bring a refreshing spiritedness to their raucous merger of punk and country. On songs like "Wild One," "DUI or Die," "Glass to You," "222," and "Hung Up on Me," they cultivate a bad girl image filled with drinking and partying that fits in with their revved-up punkabilly. It also connects them to the tough chick girls groups of the early ‘60s — a link that also surfaces in their arrangements. A Farfisa-ish organ line pops up in "Hung Up on Me" and an R&B saxophone punctuates "Snaggle Tooth Mama," while "DUI or Die" gives a garage-twang spin to the old "Dead Man's Curve"-style songs. These musical embellishments show that the women have more on their minds than simply bashing out some country punk tunes. They add a number of strong musical touches to flesh out their songs. Countrypolitian strings and horns are embedded into the tough but tender-hearted "Mama Heart" and the trio shows off some inventive vocalizing in "222" and "Cannonball Blues." The latter tune is one of the two A.P. Carter songs on this album (the other being "Who's That Knockin' at My Window?"), with their third cover tune being Uncle Dave Macon's "Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy." It would have been easy for them to play this all for cowpunk laughs — the three women have assumed "Darlin" as their surnames — but these cover choices underscore the fact that the women have a knowledge of, and respect for, country music's past. Smartly balancing raw punkabilly and traditional country with just enough sophistication, Those Darlins have crafted one firecracker of a debut.


Formed: 2006 in Murfreesboro, TN

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

With a sound that falls somewhere between Shonen Knife, the Shangri-Las, and the Carter Family, Murfreesboro, Tennessee-based country-punk outfit Those Darlins have shared the stage with everyone from the Black Keys and Deer Tick to Jon Spencer and Wanda Jackson. Formed in 2006, the band (taking a cue from the Ramones) features Nikki Darlin, Jessi Darlin, Kelley Darlin, and drummer Linwood Regensburg. In 2009, after honing their distinct sound in the Nashville club scene, they released their eponymous...
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Those Darlins, Those Darlins
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