That Darcy Malone is a singer in a band makes perfect sense. Her father is Dave Malone, the guitarist, singer and songwriter best known for his three-plus decades in the Radiators. Her mother is Dave’s ex-wife Suzy Malone, a founding member of vocal trio the Pfister Sisters.
“I don’t think I could have avoided it if I tried,” Darcy Malone said recently, laughing. “I’ve been around it since I was born. There’s nothing I love more, except for my child and my husband, than playing music and singing. I don’t know that I could have done anything else.”
Her love of music comes through on “Still Life,” the new CD from Darcy Malone & the Tangle. The band celebrates with a CD release party at Tipitina’s on Saturday. DJ Matty opens the show; Raw Oyster Cult, featuring Dave Malone and other former Radiators, closes the night.
Malone family tradition dictates that at least two members of a couple occupy the same band at some point. Back in the day, Dave and Suzy were in Dust Woofie, a precursor of the Radiators. Darcy Malone & the Tangle includes Darcy’s husband, Chris Boye, a singer and guitarist.
They first became friends in 2003, after she joined Boye’s previously all-instrumental rock band as a singer. Writing songs together, she and Boye “became very close, and eventually became romantic and got married.”
Hurricane Katrina interrupted their groove. They landed in Austin, Texas, with their instruments but soon realized Texas wasn’t for them. “Chris and I wanted to play this music we were creating together, and it just wasn’t happening with where we were and who we were with. We realized we had to come back home.”
Back in New Orleans, they assembled the first version of the Tangle and released an album called “Now We’re Awake” in 2012. But the music still wasn’t quite right. So Malone and Boye built a new version of the Tangle.
Saxophonist and keyboardist Jagon Eldridge, a veteran of the ’ 90s band Dang Bruh Y, reappeared on the scene. Billy Schell, the drummer in Darcy’s brother’s defunct guitar-pop band the Boondoggles, wanted to start playing again; Schell brought along a friend, guitarist Glenn Newbauer. They found bassist Craig Toomey on Craigslist.
“All of a sudden, everything really came to life,” Malone said. “I feel like this band really and truly began when this group of people came together in 2014. The vision that we had in our heads was actually happening.”
To signal the fresh start, they needed a fresh name. Over Malone’s objections, they changed the Tangle to Darcy Malone & the Tangle. “As long as there’s an understanding that we are a unit, I don’t care whose name is there. We are a band doing this together. The songs wouldn’t be what they are if it weren’t for every single person in it.”
Their pedigrees are diverse. Malone describes her husband as a “total skate punk” who gravitates toward Dinosaur Jr., Nirvana and Television. Her own tastes tend toward Motown and, especially, New Wave. She’s an avowed fan of The Cold, one of the 1980s New Orleans New Wave scene’s most popular acts. Shades of The Cold are evident in the Tangle.
So, too, are the B-52s, especially when Boye, whose voice recalls that of the B-52s’ Fred Schneider, sings lead. “We’ve heard that we’ve got a B-52s vibe going on, which to me is awesome,” Malone said. “The Tangle is so many different genres put together because we’re all from different backgrounds.”
Malone’s background includes, as a young child, accompanying her mother to Sunday afternoon Pfister Sisters gigs at the Gazebo and Café Sbisa in the French Quarter. She went to Memphis, Tennessee, when the Radiators recorded their “Law of the Fish” album, enjoying the occasional “Home Alone” moment in hotel rooms. The flip side is that “your parents are gone a lot. But it was cool. I got to see and be around a lot of really talented people. I always loved it.”
In Malone’s day job, she makes sure another generation of kids spends time with talented people. She directs the arts-after-hours program at Lusher Charter School, hiring artists, musicians and other creative types.
In a few weeks, she’ll realize a major artistic goal of her own. After roaming the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival since she was a toddler, and occasionally guesting with her dad and other acts, she’ll finally front her own band at the Fair Grounds this year.
“The dream is to be able to sing for a living,” she said. “I love my job at Lusher. If I spend the rest of my life working at Lusher and still getting to sing, that would be wonderful. But there was no other route for me.”
Follow Keith Spera on Twitter, @KeithSpera.