What's in a name? In Darcy Malone & The Tangle's case: everything. "We play a tangle of genres," says Malone, a New Orleans native who is the daughter of Dave Malone, vocalist and guitar player of the legendary band The New Orleans Radiators. "We all have different influences, from pop/rock to New Wave to soul to R&B. We’re a band of equals, and we put every single member's influences into our music—that’s what makes us unique."
With their debut album Still Life set for release on March 25th, Darcy Malone & The Tangle whip up a sound that nods to New Orleans' past while pushing ahead toward something entirely new. It's big, bold music, rooted in pop/rock but filled with influences that stretch the band's reach far beyond the boundaries of a single genre. There are blasts of brass courtesy of Jagon Eldridge, a saxophonist educated in the jazz classics who grew up listening to everything from the sounds of his native New Orleans to punk-rock. There's plenty of rock & roll riffage, too, thanks to a pair of guitarists — Chris Boye and Glenn Newbauer — who manage to weave radio-ready hooks with raw, rough-and-tumble roaring guitar lines. Meanwhile, bassist Craig Toomey and drummer Billy Schell add glue and groove to the band's sound, and Malone's raspy voice gives it an R&B tinge. Together, Darcy Malone & The Tangle don't sound like anybody else; they just sound like themselves.
"This is bigger-than-life music," says Schell. "We grew up here, experiencing New Orleans' resurgence and cutting our teeth on this city's music scene. New Orleans is in our blood, so we definitely have some of that brass element, too. But we're really a rock & roll band, with everyone's influences put into the pot."
Recorded and mixed by Rick Nelson of The Afghan Whigs at Marigny Recording Studios, New Orleans and mastered by Richard Dodd (Tom Petty's Wildflowers, Dixie Chicks' Not Ready to Make Nice), Still Life spins stories about drive and determination. For Malone — who shares songwriting and arrangement duties with her five bandmates — it's a logical extension of the music she's been making for more than a decade with her husband Chris. Still Life is an album by a band, though, and it sounds like it—driven forward by a team of six co-captains rather than a single leader.
"Chris and I were looking for the right people to make music with," says Malone, "and when we found these guys everything came together and made sense. We realized we could stop worrying and focus on the love of playing music together. That's what this record is about. 'Crossing Line' is about getting out of a place where you’re sheltered and scared and deciding you're gonna put yourself out there. 'Be a Man' is about standing up strong. 'Still Life' is about being out in the world and trying so hard to be something you think people want you to be, but breaking free of that and realizing when you're just yourself you're so much more successful. That's the record. We're finally exactly where we should be in our artistic career. We're with the right people, all tangled up."
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