Maybe it’s something to do with the swamps or an antidote to the wholesome sheen of Disney World, but Florida’s underground music scene is thriving with folks about to break through. Count the Darling Sweets among them — a gypsy-inspired, gin-soaked, roots ’n’ rock string band that takes immense pleasure in lulling its listeners with a soft, sugary name and then delivering badass, barn-burning Americana. The quintet features three mandolin players, including Steve Satch, who also handles upright bass, and Adam Sheetz (formerly of Black Weather Shaman) and Irina KGB, both of whom double on guitar. Lead singer Lindsey Sayre, a classically trained vocalist, provides small-scale banjo (a.k.a. “the banjolele”) and accordion, and Kristen Kelly plays tenor guitar and violin. Their music could be used by the devil to dance you home at night, which would be a clever disguise, since one of the band’s first singles is actually called “Devil B. Gone.” It’s a twangy, hypnotic, soulful tune that radiates heat and should find its way into an episode of True Blood by next year.
Sayre’s vocals call to mind 10,000 Maniacs’ Natalie Merchant’s full bodied tones. They get another beautiful showcase on “This Old Past,” a foot-tapping lament that plucks its strings to tug at your heart, making us all the more anxious to hear what the Darling Sweets have planned next.
The Darling Sweets visit Charleston this week as part of a package deal with Florida colleagues Everymen, a bearded folk-punk quintet that recently hosted a CD release party for their debut album, When Water’s Thicker Than Blood. They released the disc on Wayward Parade, an indie label established by Everymen lead singer Captain Bobo, Viva Le Vox frontman Tony Bones, and John Wylie (of Eulogy Recordings). Sheetz and Sayre added extra guitar and vocals to the collection. Look and listen for a Darling Sweets release on the label next month. Be prepared for a rowdy, stomping show this week.