This summer, a banner mysteriously appeared outside the building that houses Grimey’s, a popular record shop in Nashville. The black-and-white picture featured two nude girls flanked by two nude dudes. Faces were omitted. Limbs were tangled. And while the revelers were clearly standing, they were rotated 90 degrees, adding to the banner’s suggestive nature.
The fuzz-fueled country-poppers in Those Darlins revealed that the image was the cover for their third album, Blur the Line, but the ruckus was already reaching critical mass. The local Fox station posted the image to its Facebook page, receiving more than 200 comments debating whether the picture was “too risque.” The controversy wasn’t surprising.
“I know what Nashville’s like,” confesses Jessi Zazu, the group’s lead singer. “I grew up in the South. I get it. What I thought was cool was there were actually just as many comments defending it as there were against it. That made me feel pretty good. This is a day and age in Nashville where this image can start some controversy, but it’s about 50-50 straight down the line of people who think it’s art and think it’s porn. Discovering that was really awesome.”
The band’s plan was to give its hometown fans an early tease for the new record, and to force each person that viewed it to react to the image honestly. Those Darlins’ music has similar motives. This feisty crew, formed seven years ago in the nearby suburb of Murfreesboro, twists traditions that are oh-so integral to the cultural history of the Music City. Those Darlins deliver broken-down country ballads with snotty sneers. They roar through punk-ish rockers with winking twang. They’re savvy songwriters, and their primary goal is to craft tunes that are intense and honest. But defying Dixie conventions has become a key aspect of the Darlins’ identity.
“It’s really a natural thing that happens,” Zazu offers. “I grew up in the South. I think I’ve just lived my whole life going, ‘Wow, everybody’s so uptight about things.’ It’s funny. You can mess with people so easy. It’s kind of nice to have an atmosphere to rebel against. It gives you some sort of angle. The angle really isn’t to just be rebellious. It’s to point out, ‘Hey, not everything that you guys are preaching here is really making sense to everybody.’ The South has really lightened up a lot. It’s not like it’s that bad all the time. But there are still some invisible Southern lines that people live by.”
Following the 2012 departure of founding member Kelley Anderson, Those Darlins had to reconfigure. Rather than forcing the issue, they took their time to find a new groove, and that approach extends to Blur the Line. Recording for the first time in Nashville, they sound both more eclectic and more relaxed. Flush with fiery country fills, “That Man” is a feminist battle cry masquerading as a teary break-up song: “That man don’t own me / That man don’t want me,” Zazu sings, her curt, Loretta Lynn-ish croon sounding joyous instead of dejected. “Optimist” balances feral fuzz with a buoyant girl-group melody, allowing these sirens to sound sweet even when baring their teeth.
“We spent way more time on this album than we did with the other two,” she explains. “We had a lot of time off. It wasn’t crammed between touring and all that. It was more like, ‘We’ll do the album when we get the songs,’ and not the other way around. We’ve grown up a lot. We have a lot more patience than we used to, and it was just easier to focus than it’s ever been before. We’ve learned a lot about songwriting and recording albums from doing the first two. We just did it the way that we thought we could do it the best.”
Those Darlins play Saturday, Dec. 14, at New Brookland Tavern. New Brookland Tavern is at 122 State St. in West Columbia. Doors open at 8 p.m.; admission is $10. With Music Band, Say Brother. Call 791-4413 or visit newbrooklandtavern.com for more information.
Delicious Downtown Breakfast
Tony’s is open for breakfast every day from 7:30-10:30! Conveniently located on Washington St. right off Main. Stop in for something filling and delicious before work! Follow us for updates on specials.
Not Your Typical Greek Restaurant
Ariana’s in West Columbia serves up delicious all-natural, low carb dishes, as well as homemade bread and baklava. Come try the best salad dressing in town! Location info and hours here.
Make Your Own Beer and Wine!
Come get started on your “liquid hobby” and help us celebrate our 46th year in the Columbia area. Bet Mar Liquid Hobby Shop: 736 St. Andrews Road.
Back to School Tattoo Specials
Magnum Ink is offering 1/2 off all tattoos for students over 18 as well as 2 for $60 on letters or numbers for state employees. 1405 Rushmore Road, Suite B, right off of Broad River.
A two-day outdoor art and crafts show celebrating its 38th year. Being held on September 5 & 6, 2014, Click for details
Happy Hour and Sushi Specials All Week
Red Bowl in Lexington now has great early bird and late night sushi specials 7 days a week, as well as 99-cent kids meals on Saturdays! Click here for special information and hours.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Pool Cleaning-Full and part time available. Must have a clean driving record, be organized and have a professional appearance. Starting Pay is $10.00 per hr, please call for an interview, please bring a copy of your Driving record and a list of all past employers with duration of employment listed as well as telephone numbers for references. Cal 803-865-1200
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Company seeking carpenters, plumbers, masons work is year around with a 40 year old company. Starting pay is $10.00 but experienced individuals will be compensated accordingly. Must have a clean driving record and must bring a copy of your driving record to the interview. Please call 803-865-1200.
Real Estate Spotlight
Mungo Homes. Celebrating 60 years of our family building for your family. mungo.com