by Matt Kelchner
“Screws Get Loose seemed more like four people contributed individual songs to make an album, whereas Blur the Line feels like a band that created a piece of music together,” Jessi Zazu, aka Jessi Darlin, tells me, “It’s much more cohesive”. Zazu and her garage rock meets country four piece Those Darlins released Blur the Line, their third full length album, earlier this month. Those Darlins are currently working their way around the country in support of Blur the Line and will make their way to the newly opened Boot and Saddle in South Philadelphia tonight.
There is a new sense of maturity on the album. “There was a lot of care and attention put into this album, from the songwriting to the performance to the production to the album artwork to the promotion of it all,” Zazu tells me. The effort and devotion is clear. Blur the Line shows a band pushing the boundaries and exploring new ground.
Blur the Line was recorded during the Spring of 2013 in the band’s hometown of Nashville. They worked with Roger Moutenot, best known for his work with Yo La Tengo, at his Haptown Studios. In working with Moutenot the band set out to do something new, write and record as a full band.
“During the writing and recording of Screws Get Loose, Nikki had a broken arm and was unable to play or write very much, so I took to doing a lot more solo writing. We didn’t have the capability to play as a full band, so we hadn’t worked out the songs too much in that capacity, and when we recorded it was a free for all on who played what. Lin, Kelley, and I played a mess of different instruments just trying to get things down on tape and make it work,” Zazu explains.
When they went into the studio to begin writing and recording for the new album, they set out to do something different. Zazu tells me, “This time around on Blur the Lines we actually worked as a full band and got the songs to a point where they were more fully formed as a four-piece before we went into the studio. We mostly just stuck to our own instruments and carved out more solid roles for ourselves.”
Another major change for Those Darlins was the departure of Kelley Anderson. Anderson was one of the founding members of the band. In 2012 she left to pursue other musical endeavors. Adrian Barrera, who already was playing with the band out on the road, would end up replacing her.
“We are sexual beings and that is part of who we are. It’s represented in the music as much as any other aspect of ourselves,” Zazu comments as we discuss their eye-catching, clothingless photo of the band on the cover of Blur the Line. Back in July to help announce the new album, Those Darlins unveiled the album cover by displaying on the side of a building in downtown Nashville. Due to the amount of nakedness and lack of clothing, it created quite a stir. I’m not really sure how to specifically point out the ways it is reflected [in the songs], but rock ‘n’ roll is sexy. That’s part of the deal,” she adds.
Come watch Those Darlins get sexy as they play through the fantastic new songs from Blur the Lines tonight at the Boot and Saddle. Located at the Ellsworth Street and South Broad Street in South Philadelphia the Boot and Saddle, an old country bar, was closed for years until R5 Productions and Four Corners Management sought out to bring it back to life. It’s only fitting for one of Nashville’s wildest bands to be playing at the only country bar in the city.