Last week Elizabeth (of the Philthy staff) and I attended Those Darlins’ gig at Johnny Brenda’s.  About mid way through their set of the most beautifully sleazy garage country on the planet (or maybe the most beautifully sleazy “anything” on the planet) I asked her who she thought was the hottest Darlin.

“That’s a good question,” she replied.

“My vote’s for Nikki because she seems like she would be the [f]ilthiest.”

Totally…”

Those Darlins are Jessi, Kelley, and Nikki Darlin (and Linwood Regensburg).  Those Darlins are essentially the New York Dolls as loose farm girls.  Those Darlins are a John Waters movie waiting to happen.  Those Darlins are the most exciting thing happening in music this year.

The last time the band was in town they performed a day-night double-header at Kung Fu Necktie.  The latter set ended with the girls storming the audience.  It looked like a hoedown at the 100 Club.  It was one of the city’s musical highlights of 2010 (I actually missed a wedding in West Virginia to be at that gig, but I’m pretty sure spectators at each event got a similar show.)

At their latest Philthy appearance, the girls showcased their new album, Screws Get Loose (which dropped March 29th), a more mature and dynamic take on their sleazy Southern punk.  With the girl group rhythms and hooks of songs like “Be Your Bro” and “Tina Said,” this evening was less reminiscent of a hoedown and more reminiscent of a schizophrenic sock hop.  Their set also included their first ever psychedelic number, “Mystic Mind” (Is it possible that in another life these girls performed this song in a Herschell Gordon Lewis movie, because I swear I remember seeing it?) and “Waste Away,” the band’s most sincere number ever and a possible contemporary take on Townes Van Zandt’s “No Place to Fall.”

I will admit that I did miss the band’s younger, raunchier selves (which was largely absent from the setlist) a bit.  They did pull out “Red Light Love,” and “Night Jogger,” but there was no “The Whole Damn Thing,” “Snaggle Tooth Mama,” or “Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy.”  However, I assure you that the girls are still a long way from “proper.”  Before the almost Proustian “Fatty Needs a Fix,” Jessi proclaimed, tongue-in-cheek, “This is a song about fat people… and how we hate them.”

*Photos by Elizabeth