Motor City Madmen

Picking a name for your rock ‘n’ roll band has never been a particularly serious affair -- hence madcap monikers like The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Butthole Surfers, and Death Cab For Cutie.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., however, takes things to a whole new level of zaniness. While it’s perfectly logical to imagine the band providing the soundtrack to a zooming NASCAR race because of its name, the Detroit duo doesn’t sound like they would fit in much on the track. The band’s songs are delicate and dreamy, with nods to the indie-psych of Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective, but far more pop-oriented.

While the band owes more to the melodic harmonies of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys than Southern country crooners, it doesn’t mean the guys are above a little shtick when it suits them. Their video for buzz-building single “Nothing But Our Love” finds them decked out in NASCAR style racing suits -- sponsored by Cheerios and Lysol, respectively – and piloting cardboard cars in a race to the finish.

Wed., June 1, 8 p.m., 2011
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.