by John Tarpley
That sprawling, frustrating terrain we call the "blogosphere" has been abuzz for months praising the lush harmonies and crunching synths of Detroit's Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Like an electro-fixated Beach Boys, the duo produce opulent, experimental indie pop from a labyrinth of pedals, drum machines and other disparate bedroom gadgetry. The guys' shtick of suiting up in full-body NASCAR driver uniforms (one plugging Lysol; the other Cheerios) and decking out their stage in the stars and bars would be a bit grating in less-talented hands, but their intricate pop is strong enough to upstage any unsolicited goofiness. Come to think of it, you may just leave loving the damn suit; the angle certainly grew on me, for one. Bottom line: There are too many Internet buzz acts not worth the hype, but these guys are endearing, accessible, clever and maybe one of the few real deals. The jury's still out on the name, though. Also playing: fellow hype band from Athens, Ga., Reptar, who returns to town with a whole mess of heady, hyperactive party jams.
Check this out: "Vocal Chords" (live at KEXP studios)