Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr - at SingleBarrelDetroit's Phonotropic Phest

(interview with Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr)


It is no longer about cruising in, fashionably late, to catch three songs of the headliner while you stand in the back. The Crofoot (in Pontiac), since last year's Phono-Phest, has been, on almost a bi-or-tri-monthly basis, redefining “events” by exploding the concept into an all-night campout parade of band, after dance, after drink, after art, after band after band after…phew…

Phonofest 2 - is brought to us by SingleBarrelDetroit, an online artist community created by filmmakers Jared Goth and Andy Martin, acting as proponent for Detroit’s local music and film scenes, while also documenting the beauty of the city itself, by featuring local, live, impromptu performances filmed in different locations.

This year’s line up includes: The Friendly Foes (indie/punk-meets-indie/pop); The Great Fiction (stately, swooning, cinematic pop); Millions of Brazilians (guitar-heavy power trio, shreds and sincerity, reckless abandon) Will Sessions (soul, hip/hop and staggering funk revivalism); Aran Ruth (avant-garde folk and psychedelia, haunting, hypnotic); Charlene Kaye & Her Heroes (pretty baroque pop – with a video featured on SingleBarrelDetroit.com).

Upstairs in the Pike Room – you’ll find the Oscillating Fan Club (surfy, propulsive, classic pop) with Friends of Dennis Wilson (psychedelic shoegazin’) supporting the CD release of Oblisk (profiled below/above).

Meanwhile, epic dream-pop/space rock outfit Manna and Quail debut as a two-piece, while hyper-eclectic reggae/punk/psyche/folk-rockers Prussia return from a 3 month tour. Also notable, Zoos of Berlin are celebrating a new album.

DJs include Sicari, Spin Champion, Dwntm, and Sucker DJs Tom Matich/Mikel O.D. Local masterpiece-makers Silent Giants have a poster retrospective, and art by Daniel DeMaggio, Derek and Candace O’Leary. The Factory and Single Barrel Detroit also have video presentations.

Also on the list is a new project featuring The Great Fiction’s Daniel Zott and The Silent Year’s Josh Epstein—self proclaimed middle ground of folk and hip/hop, the duo performs as Dale Earnhart Jr. Jr. (pictured) - tribal-atmospheric-pop, with electronic swells and danceable beats. The band performs in Nascar outfits, with equipment sprawled on an ironing board and a nearby labtop rockin the rhythms.

“I had heard (Zott)’s stuff and was a huge fan,” said Epstein. Both prolific writers, Epstein eventually called Zott up and offered an avenue to galvanize their respective extra songs. “There’s definitely better band names out there, but nothing’s been meticulous about this. In general, we just wanted to do something people could dance to.”

Indeed, it's danceable - but after two experimental-introductory shows, what's shining through is the power of their harmonies (the true engine of this aerodynamic electro-pop). It's not far-fetched that the warm swell of their melding voices would not only recalls Beach Boys, but also warrant a fine cover of "God Only Knows."

"I think we, surprisingly, have quite similar tastes," said Epstein. "Danny's stuff, a lot of instances, it's very moody and pretty and stripped down, and he's got a really nice way of creating space in his arrangements. I really like that. But, at the same time, he loves hip/hop and he loves making beats."

"I like to describe it as hip hop meets folk, both of us have distinctive styles but at the same time we tried to have there be a cohesinon among everything."

The vocals coo and sigh, the melodies are wavy, soothing, lightly swelling, the beats keep things moving (and basically shakeable) but never overpower.

The duo have demos ready and are currently writing and recording. A release is undoubtedly on the horizon, however undetermined. "We're both excited about the idea of just making things that, hopefully, for people to enjoy. That's pretty much the extent of our goals for (DEJJ)."

And I would hate to use the cliche of 'Summer Jams' but... see for yourself, 7/31.

all photos: Phreddy Wischusen
1 South Saginaw - Pontiac

(For Zoos of Berlin & Oblisk - this weekend's big soiree also acts as CD Release shows...(sort of, we're pretty sure Zoos' debut Taxis is just about ready to go, while Oblisk's Weather Patterns will be available)
(more interviews soon!)

1 comment:

poker rakeback said...

I think Dale Jr. is the most overrated sports figure. The man has never even contended for a championship, and once again he didnt even make the chase. He is covered solely on the basis of who his father is.