Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tennessee's finest introduce cowgirlpunk

Artist: Those Darlins
Title: Self-titles LP/CD
Label: Thirty Tigers
Release date: June 2009

Murfreesboro, Tennessee's Those Darlins, who will be in town tomorrow night for a show at The Earl, were overlooked by this blog and others when it came time for folks to put together their Best of 2009 lists.

The band features three ladies who first met at a Rock 'n Roll Camp For Girls singing and strumming, a guy drummer, and influences ranging from powerpop to the Bakersfield sound.

"Red Light Love" opens the album with an absolute gem. On first listen, "I've got a red light love, hoping every day/ he don't green light go, go, go, go away", should make you say out loud, "Now that's a pop hook!" Well, at least that's how I reacted listening to this on the way home from their November gig with G.G. King and King Khan and BBQ Show. By the third or fourth listen, this one should be your favorite Southern-fried pop tune.

Remember how there were bands 20-some-odd years ago in California who played cowpunk? Well, Those Darlins introduce something fresher and more exciting, cowgirlpunk, with the rest of this album. Tales about drinking, mama, tin-roofed shacks, and other very country topics told as well as Dolly Parton would tell them are on this album, as are the very punk concepts of personal politics ("Wild One") and finding humor in our own sometimes nonsensical lives ("The Whole Damn Thing", which is about drunkenly eating a whole chicken that had been in the frige for God knows how long).

The album also has covers by the Carter Family ("Cannonball Blues" and "Who's That Knocking at My Window") and Uncle Dave Mason ("Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy"), showing the girls' appreciation for the region's bluegrass and Appalacian music traditions.

This band will make you appreciate country music, possibly for the first time, while serving enough punk and pop sensibilities to keep you from thinking you've raided your parents' record collection.

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