We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

High as hell and startin’ to smell, Bad Wizard is the latest sound-alike to roll out of Brooklyn, N.Y.,’s genre garage, which has already retooled ’80s synth-fop (Fischerspooner), ’70s Manchester dread (Interpol), and ’60s garage punk (the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). In perhaps the borough’s most audacious play yet, our northern neighbors are now asking us to accept Southern rock. Fortunately, Bad Wizard knows that there’s a big difference between actually playing “Free Bird” when some comedian calls for it between songs and possessing the quiet self-confidence that comes from knowing you could do so if you really wanted. It doesn’t hurt that the Wizards look the part. Lead singer Curtis Brown has the I-dunno-quoi of a small-town Don Juan, from his scrub-brush beard to his dirty jeans, and the rest of the band, with their ripped pants, greasy locks, and ill-advised facial-hair experiments, wouldn’t look out of place hasslin’ customers outside a Stuckey’s. And then there’s the music: On “Needle 2 Groove” and “Black Cherry,” Marc Tanner and Scott Nutt’s rhythm section has a pocket so tight it should sport a chaw-can circle, Eddie Lynch and Tina Gorin’s twin-guitar attack is as hot as fresh asphalt, and Brown’s voice masterfully, and stoopidly, does doughnuts. So how does Bad Wizard’s music differ from Heshermania! at Kings Dominion? Well, for starters, the band writes its own songs, faithful gene splices of greasier touchpoints (Hatchet, Black Oak, .38 Special). Second, Brown’s accent is authentic—like his colleagues, he’s from Georgia and moved to New York only to get famous. Still, there’s something insipid and pat about Bad Wizard’s swamp boogie, an almost German faithfulness-to-influences that makes the group an unnecessary pleasure. It’s the sort of band you’d be thrilled to hoist a domestic to in a bar—but whose lyrics you’d hardly scratch onto your desk in the detention room.—Andrew Beaujon