If you though Hooray For Earth was a silly name for a band, then buckle up, buttercup. This week's Your New Favorite Band is none other than Detroit duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. It was easy for the band to gain some early notoriety for their NASCAR-minded name -- one that Little E himself approves. I remember recommending the band to a friend who was attending this past October's CMJ's Music Marathon just because their name was so intriguing. At that point, I had heard Dale Jr.'s Horse Power EP, then the band's sole discography. That particular EP had the band's signature song, "Nothing But Our Love," as well as a pretty intriguing cover of the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds classic "God Only Knows."
For those keeping track, I am choosing to write about a band named after the son of a late NASCAR legend that has recorded a downtempo, electronic cover of a Beach Boys classic. Dale Jr., as goofy and kitschy as they may seem, are as solid a new band that you will hear this year.
They also just so happen to be playing The Rhythm Room this Wednesday, June 1. I have been excited about covering their upcoming show ever since I saw it was announced some months ago. While attending The Dirty Dozen Brass Band show at The Rhythm Room Wednesday night, I noticed that the flyer for the upcoming Dale Jr. show mentioned that the band's debut LP -- It's A Corporate World -- was set to be released 6/7. I said to myself that I need to hear the album before Wednesday night's show. Well, the next morning -- much to my surprise -- that very album leaked on the Internet.
It's A Corporate World is a mixture of any and all of what made Vampire Weekend remotely listenable before that band's sound was run into the ground (and also ruined by their sophomore album) and the indescribable electronic/synth charm of Portland band Starfucker. Jeff Gonick of Paste Magazinedescribes the album best when he says, "[I]t's an album full of songs Lloyd Dobler could have played during his window-call, boom-box confession of love. If he had, there's a good chance that movie might have had a happy ending."
Songs such as "When I Open My Eyes" and "Vocal Chords" are so incredibly charming, it's hard not resist the subtle charms of Dale Jr. "Vocal Chords" is a decidedly jangly little number with a sassy sax-driven chorus while "When I Open My Eyes" features the lament-filled lyrics, "I don't know how / I'm gonna get fired for this / I'm gonna get fired for this." The song's odd lyrical content plays in perfectly with its perky guitars and its backbeat that sounds like it could have come from a Helio Sequence B-side.
All of Corporate World only serves to make me all the more excited for Dale Jr.'s show next week. I will admit that I was bit hesitant about wanting to see the band, as I was not familiar with when exactly their debut album was set to be released. I can safely say, however, that Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. are worth the effort.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. are scheduled to play The Rhythm Room Wednesday, June 1. It's A Corporate World is out 6/7 via Quite Scientific. Please to enjoy the album tracks "Morning Thought" and "Skeletons:"