Welcome to Boombox Blitz, an artist spotlight series showcasing overlooked singers, songwriters and musicians who are quietly taking over the world.
Just give it some time, and Darkbird will expose the most unsettling feelings about yourself. The five piece are erratically genius, reveling in the shadowed, burnt corners of humanity and tearing down expectations brick by brick. “There’s a light outside the dark,” lead vocalist Kelly Barnes lurches across crackled, foaming guitar splits. Out of Austin, the self-proclaimed “solid rock band” is comprised of guitarist Brian Cole, bass player Chris Spencer, drummer Ethan Yeager and keyboard player Michael Martinez and yield danceable, stupefying rock music. “Bad Self,” a pearly-eyed, Prince-inspired, unruly masterpiece, gets a sticky, amber-hewn visual. Helmed by John Valley, known for his work with Whiskey Shivers, New Medicine and others, the clip inhabits the thrilling, sweltering sweet spot of the group’s live show, hidden between towering vocals and cutting musicianship.
On the song’s unlikely inspiration, Barnes stated, “I wrote the song as an ode to Prince, because if anybody’s coming with his bad self, it’s him, this weird little guy who took the world by storm. I wouldn’t say I specifically channeled him in this video since I’ve channeled him my whole career, the way he demanded everyone’s attention onstage and how much he gave to the audience. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
If you really wanna get lost in Darkbird, we recommend giving their 2015 EP, I Remember Feeling My Fingers Slip, clashing with polished modernisms and flying “angry fists,” as they muse on opener “Poison Arrows.” Dust off your record player, and get to listening.