Swing sextet the DewDroppers might have an old-timey sound, but the band members are hesitant to saddle themselves with any kind of throwback label.

Swing sextet the DewDroppers might have an old-timey sound, but the band members are hesitant to saddle themselves with any kind of throwback label.

"When we were first conceiving the band I was thinking of something far more traditional, like Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, which does all the music for 'Boardwalk Empire.'" They're amazing, but they play the music like it was played in the 1920s. They don't break the rules," said singer/guitarist Joe Gilliland, who joins his DewDropper bandmates for a concert celebrating the release of their full-length self-titled debut at the Garden Theater on Saturday, June 6. "We definitely went in the opposite direction where we don't have any of those limitations. If you ask [singer/keyboardist] Sharon [Udoh] what kind of music we play she'll tell you we're a punk band. And she'll absolutely mean it."

In concert, the band members live up to this proclamation, throwing themselves into the music with gospel fervor rather than handling the material with white-glove delicacy - an infectious spirit that typically bleeds into the audience.

"People don't just stand in the front [row] - not that there's anything wrong with that," Gilliland said. "It's a party."

This feel-good vibe drives the band's new full-length, which is built on infectious rhythms that swing, parry and soft-step even in those rare moments when Gilliland & Co. sing about being stuck in a quagmire. Throughout, the crew hews to classic lyrical themes, belting out flirtatious, fluttering lines about new love and befuddled verses borne of untrustworthy companions.

"For me, that's the sort of songwriting I'm drawn to," Gilliland said. "I'm not going to mention my cell phone in a song. To me that would just ruin the vibe. Timeless [songwriting] is kind of the goal."

Gilliland and Udoh first conceived the DewDroppers as a guitar/piano duo in 2010, though the sound and musical scope has grown in congress with its ranks, incorporating elements of swing, jazz, ragtime, Motown soul and more. It also helps that Gilliland, with a healthy push from the notoriously outgoing Udoh, has finally learned to loosen up a little.

"Sharon is always - and I can only speak for myself, but I think it applies to everyone - but I feel like she's always pushing me, like in a good way," Gilliland said. "Obviously she's the queen of letting loose, and that's something I struggle with. But I have learned to be more uninhibited from being around Sharon, and that's important to what we do [because] we let all this other stuff in and let it taint this otherwise traditional music. We play it louder and we play it harder than people typically do."

Stephanie Ewen photo