Thank you Darlin

By Geo Gomez 

gomezgeo@grinnell.edu

Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, Those Darlins are a rock band comprised of two women, Jesse and Nykki Darlin, and drummer Linwood Regensburg. Their Southern influence and personal determination grant the band a headstrong approach to songwriting and performance. With these strong roots, the band’s music has grown into a rock ’n’ rollin’ tornado of artistic expression, and it’s picking up speed.

Contributed.

On their first album, Those Darlins doled out solid pop rock songs. The influence from lovable pop classics of bands like The Beatles is crystal clear in the melodies of “Red Light Love,” which starts with a full-speed-ahead rhythm backed by tight riffs and Jesse Darlin’s vocals like a GPS guide to fun. The song would be right at home either on the radio or in the middle of a head-banging crowd and this kind of versatility extends not only to their appeal but their style too.

Later on in the album, Rockabilly goodies like “Mama’s Heart,” a praise song in which Jesse Darlin sings about her love for her mom, would have your grandma tapping her foot to its sweet harmonies.

“Don’t break my mama’s heart. Don’t make my mama cry. When you break my mama’s heart, you’re also breakin’ mine.”

The vocals and humble guitar strumming recall country music to express an honest desire to protect your mother. Songs like these, about something as real and relatable as loving your mama, let the integrity of the band shine.

“For the both of us, me and Nykki, our moms refused to give up through thick and thin, and didn’t compromise on what other people think they should do. It’s really inspiring,” Jesse Darlin said.

This inspiration set the stage for the band’s fearless ventures into new sounds. Screws Get Loose, their second album, has a grittier sound and delves into rock ’n’ roll as we know it: songs that get young people headbanging and screaming lyrics. But it also explores heavier themes than the first. The sound is different, but the band sticks to their guns and headed where their music takes them.

“When you play songs and you want to come across as being real, you have to write whatever song pops into your head,” Regensburg said.

The title track of the album narrates the desire for independence when things feel suffocating, but also the anxiety of being alone. The song begins with a wail that demands for the song to be heard and sets the tone for its confessional, “here I am” lyrics. The chorus has Jesse Darlin wailing out,

“Can’t blame me for what I choose, whoa-a-a-a, screws get loose. Can’t change me after all these years, whoa-a-a-a, screws get loose!”

Early on, the song is easy flowing like a deserted highway, but halfway through punches into a cacophony of guitar pickin’ and triangle tinkling. When the shredding reaches its peak, the riffs shake themselves clear to reassemble themselves into as a crisp reprise reminiscent of the band’s headstrong personality.

This cohesive banger works as a therapy for Jesse Darlin, turning personal anxiety and stress into rock ’n’ roll.

“Music really does help people and move people, and that’s important to me, even if I have to tell them how bad or weird I’m feeling,” Jesse Darlin said.

This kind of connection to the audience is what makes Those Darlins especially renowned for their live performances, where the group can really let loose. In live shows, Jesse and Nykki Darlin writhe on the floor while wailing on their instruments, and Jesse Darlin’s got a knack for cooling down the crowd—spraying them with whiskey.

“Performing isn’t a feeling that you can get from everyday life. It’s irreplaceable,” Jesse Darlin said.

Initially, Those Darlins sounded like a band you could only find in Nashville, probably alongside cowboy boots and rounds of whiskey. But as they’ve explored garage rock and surf-rock music, Those Darlins have come into their own as a band best left unshackled by the definitions of categories, and better defined by the all-mighty momentum of rock ’n’ roll.

At the end of the day, this is a band that knows how to rock. Catch them at Gardner this Friday, November 2 to get down Nashville-style. Those Darlins will be opening for Heavy Cream, starting at 9:00 p.m.

“We’ll make your wildest dreams come true!” Regensburg said.