It’s been an eventful and tumultuous eight years since Nikki Kvarnes, Jessi Wariner and Kelley Anderson met at the Southern Girls Rock & Roll Camp in Tennessee and channeled their mutual love of American music, both traditional and unconventional, into the acclaimed Garageabilly twangfest of Those Darlins.
After christening their band, the three musicians cemented their bond by each adopting the surname Darlin (a la The Ramones), and began blazing new trails through the Alt Country wilderness.
Those Darlins’ 2008 debut single, “Wild One,” on the band’s own Oh Wow Dang label, garnered great reviews and sparked the radar of indie talent scout (and dude from The Black Keys) Dan Auerbach, who invited them to open the tour for his solo debut, Keep It Hid. The following year, Those Darlins released their much anticipated eponymous debut album, which was hailed as a fantastic hybrid of Country, Rockabilly and Garage Rock and scored the band a pants-load of opening opportunities for the likes of Dr. Dog, JEFF the Brotherhood and the King Khan & BBQ Show, not to mention placement of “Red Light Love” in a nationally televised Kia commercial.
After securing longtime touring drummer Linwood Regensburg as an official participating band partner, Those Darlins churned out the incendiary Screws Get Loose, which found the quartet hewing closer to the Garage Rock end of its sonic spectrum. In early 2012, the band announced the departure of Anderson for other musical pursuits — notably her new band, Grand Strand — which put an end to the band’s glorious three-part vocal harmonies; she was replaced by bassist Adrian Barrera.
Those Darlins’ third official album, the slightly more mannered but classically brilliant Blur the Line, was extremely well received, although the album’s promotion stirred some hometown controversy. The band’s banner of the album’s cover art — featuring the band members’ naked torsos and legs — hung (well?) in front of Grimey’s Music in downtown Nashville, twisted the knickers of the religious right and Fox News in one mildly lascivious swipe.
Those Darlins have already premiered the new song “Why Can’t I” this year, signaling the fact that they may be in the initial phases of a new album as they push on with their Jam in the Van Tour. Their set at Bunbury last summer threatened to out-scorch the sun that beat down on the Amphitheater stage; imagine what they’ll do in the cool of the evening on Fountain Square, when they play a free show as part of the MidPoint Indie Summer concert series.
THOSE DARLINS with THE HARLEQUINS, THE FRANKL PROJECT and THOSE CROSSTOWN RIVALS play Fountain Square Friday, June 20 at 7 p.m. More info here.