Over the course of its first two albums, the Tennessee-based band Those Darlins has embraced the sounds of classic country, ’60s girl groups and grungy garage rock. Singer and guitarist Jessi Darlin says that is only the start.
Those Darlins will play at Sky City on Saturday, July 7. Music starts at 10:30 p.m.
The band, which recently wrapped up sessions on an EP with celebrated producer Scott Litt (R.E.M., Nirvana, Patti Smith) remains, according to Darlin, a work in progress. It is a shape-shifting ensemble with an aesthetic ethic similar to David Bowie, capable of transformation from album to album, she said during a recent telephone interview.
“I think that any artist, any real artist, is bound to evolve,” she said. “I mean, I guess there are people that make one awesome record and that’s fine. But I feel like every time we go into the studio it becomes about understanding, much more, what we are.”
Though the band has garnered critical acclaim for its first two albums, much of its success stems from a reputation for raucous live performances. Darlin said the studio allows them freedom to experiment, but it is on stage where the band functions at its fullest.
“I feel like it is two different things,” she said. “I mean, one day perhaps we’ll do a live album. But right now we really embrace those differences.”
While the band’s music is often compared to classic artists, Darlin said she is careful not to pay too much homage to the Ronettes or Loretta Lynn, both of whom she considers significant influences. The trick with Those Darlins, she said, is to capture some of the feeling those old records convey without becoming dated or a nostalgia act.
“It is true that I have a hard time finding musicians that I really get into the same way I get into those older artists,” she said. “When I get home from tour, those old records are what I listen to. But I don’t want to make those records over and over. The secret, really, is to try not to think about it too much.”
Not thinking about it too much, Darlin said, means there is not much of a roadmap for the band. She said the ethos of making music they feel good about has, thus far, served them well and she can’t imagine straying too far from it. Besides, she said with a laugh, the band has already become more successful than she had ever imagined.
“I have a million moments all the time where I have to be grateful,” she said. “Every day I have moments when the 15-year-old me would freak out.”