Did a Current NASCAR Great Really Put Out the Best Album of 2011?

The answer is an obvious hell no. However, a new band hailing from Detroit, Michigan just may have done so. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. made a big splash with “It’s a Corporate World” and this guy has got to proclaim that it’s absolutely fantastic from start to finish. Now, I must admit that this here supposed music aficionado did not listen to a ton of new music in 2011. Consumed with talk radio by day and live performances by night there simply didn’t seem to be enough time in the schedule to check out all of the hidden gems put out in the calendar year. But, I’d be willing to go all in that there can’t be much out there that tops these twelve tracks laid down by Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott.

As for a little back story on the duo, they actually contacted the real Dale Earnhardt Jr. in advance to forming their shtick to make sure he was down with them using his name. It turns out the driver was cool with it all and is said to even enjoy their music. Who wouldn’t? Then from there they evidently put the pedal to the metal and went full steam ahead creating their debut EP appropriately titled Horse Power. The aforementioned full length follow-up is a thing of beauty starting right out of the gate with the track “Morning Thought”. The band describes their music as electronic-pop but it really feels so much more than that. At initial listen you may get a bit of a Flaming Lips sort of vibe and if that doesn’t suit your ears well then you should probably just wave the white flag from the start.

Having watched a couple of their live performances on the net, it’s apparent that these guys can make some serious music but also have a helluva sense of humor as they often play in full-on, flame retardant NASCAR suits, which surely must be hot as hell given some of the smaller club venues they blazed through this past year. The second song entitled “Nothing But Our Love” starts off with a very peaceful guitar rift and then kicks in with a slow-jam type of drum pattern and their soothing vocals with lyrics that are astonishingly dark and heartbreaking. This is followed by “Skeletons” and “An Ugly Person On A Movie Screen” and from there the rest is oh so fluid. The highlight has to be “Simple Girl” with it’s heavenly whistling, xylophone, acoustic guitar, and gorgeously harmonious vocals. The video for this one is also a must see and highly clever. This whole album really gives you that sense of wanting to be outside, relaxing by a pool somewhere, cocktail in hand, and not having a care in the world. If there was only one complaint I have it’s that it clocks in at just 37 minutes long. But as they say, all good things must come to an end. Fortunately there’s that thing called the repeat button where you can press it and instantly feel nothing but their love all over again.

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