Darcy Malone & the Tangle
Friday, March 31, 8 p.m.
The Listening Room, 78 St. Francis St., www.thelisteningroommobile.com
Tickets: $20 artist donation
Observers of the New Orleans music scene in recent years have noticed its sounds are changing. Bands such as Sweet Crude and Motel Radio have been showing the nation there’s more than just funk and jazz coming out of the Crescent City. Of all those new sounds, Darcy Malone & the Tangle’s music could be considered particularly unique. This extremely versatile band has twice treated the Azalea City to a visit. Their audience can expect each song to mingle sonic influences ranging from indie rock to Motown soul, enhanced by a charismatic live delivery.
The last time they played The Listening Room, vocalist Darcy Malone says, they were very pleased with both the full room and the positive reception, and are looking forward to giving their Mobile audience another night full of music, dancing and smiles.
“Get ready to have a great time, because we guarantee that we’re going to give it to you,” said an enthusiastic Malone.
Malone couldn’t help but follow a musical path throughout her life. Her father is guitarist/vocalist Dave Malone of legendary New Orleans rock outfit The Radiators. Her mother, Suzy Malone, is a founding member of the harmony trio the Pfister Sisters.
Malone sums up her childhood experience in one word: loud. Her household was always filled with musi, particularly holidays, when instruments were taken in hand and voices filled the air. Even after her parents divorced, Malone still found herself at her parents’ respective gigs, where she soaked in the music.
“Whenever I was with either of them, we weren’t home a lot,” explained Malone. “We were always at their gigs. It was definitely not your average child’s upbringing, but it was a cool one. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
As she grew older, Malone maintained her love for music, but also developed a love for the piano and the dramatic stage. In high school, she was very involved in musical theater, which gave her a way of projecting an abundance of emotion into the songs she was singing. After pursuing theater in college, Malone returned to the Crescent City and began singing with as many people as she could, until she got a helpful push from one of the city’s most eclectic bands.
“I sang a lot with my parents, but I also did a lot of singing with Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes. They’re a great band from New Orleans. They’re my best friends. They actually helped push me out on the stage and told me, ‘You should do this!’”
During this time, Malone met guitarist Christopher Boye. She says the two quickly became friends and began writing and performing together. This friendship evolved into a romance, then a marriage. All the while, the two noticed something very interesting happening in their compositions. Each song mingled Boye’s indie rock background and Malone’s pop and soul background. Even though they drew influences from contrasting backgrounds, the music they created mixed those influences perfectly.
“We’re from totally different scenes of music,” Malone said. “In the end, when we started this the idea came when we played together more. That’s when this tangle of genres really came about. We realized that we were unique in a sense that our backgrounds really were being projected into music that we were making.”
Malone says this musical concept expanded as they began recruiting musicians for their band. New members would bring their respective musical backgrounds in an effort to “tangle” genres in composing songs. Malone says each songwriting session is truly collaborative. One member may bring a lyric or a riff to their practice room at drummer Billy Schell’s house. As they jam the new material, members add their ideas to the measures. Malone says the end result of each potential song can either be “really cool or really terrible.” The “really cool” songs are taken to the next step in their songwriting process, which is the addition of lyrics. Malone may provide the lyrics, or a band member who might have felt a personal connection to a song might take on lyrical duties.
After working up a show, Darcy Malone & the Tangle began shopping their music around New Orleans. Malone will admit those first few shows were “scary and intimidating.” While they were accepted by the local music scene, Malone says the band realized their audiences may sometimes be filled with visitors to the Crescent City who might be expecting to hear funk or jazz. However, the band found they had many musically open-minded people at their shows who enthusiastically accepted their sound. Malone says the band’s shows tend to generate an infectiously fun atmosphere.
“Really, they [the audience] just want to have fun,” Malone said. “If you’re having fun doing the music that you’re playing, then you’re never going to have a bad show. People will love it. We’re lucky that they actually enjoy music.”
Those attending Darcy Malone & the Tangle’s Azalea City show will have a chance to pick up their 2016 debut album “Still Life.” The group recruited Rick Nelson of the Afghan Whigs to produce this first effort. Malone says Nelson’s open-minded consumption of the band’s musical philosophies made for a perfect match. This team expertly captures the raw nature of the band’s versatile sound. Swamp pop, early ‘90s Southern alt. rock, soul and funk all make appearances. While this might sound like a disjointed mashup, the band maintains a sonic foundation that nicely packages the album’s contents.
Malone also says the band is working on an EP at Studio in the Country in Bogalusa, Louisiana, with Ben Mumphrey behind the console. Mumphrey has worked with The Pixies, Anders Osborne, Blue Mountain, Jamie Lynn Spears and others. As they finish this release, Malone says the group will continue to enjoy the positive reception “Still Life” has received from their expanding listening audience.
“We’ve really built our following in places that we’ve never played before,” Malone said. “I think the response is good, and we’ll definitely know a lot more as we go on the road.”