By Sam Hardy
If you didn’t see Detroit-based indie pop outfit Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. open for Atlas Genius at the Neptune Theater a year ago, then you weren’t on the dance floor. (You know that feeling you get when you realize the opener was better than the ensuing acts? Let’s just say everyone in the room felt it; we sobered up when frontmen Josh Epstein and Danny Zott shuffled off the stage following their too-brief set.)
You’ll get another chance to bear witness tomorrow night, when they play alongside Madi Diaz and Miniature Tigers at the Tractor (Doors at 8pm) as part of their Fall US tour. Don’t miss it
The outfit’s most recent LP, The Speed of Things, bulged from the inside with ideas, ranging from synth-oriented dance pop, to love-lorn bedroom tunes, to foot-stomping, 60’s relics like “War Zone.” If they didn’t tear a page from Brian Wilson then they may have accidentally tore off the front half of the book (not the back half!). That’s meant as a compliment: though there’s some Pet Sounds mugging here, Epstein and Zott paint with enough horns and electronic production that their sound is still distinctly their own.
Do they need to find a more specific sound? Not necessarily. You can’t blame them for wanting to get the room dancing, then catch the audience off-guard with an 80’s rocker (the aptly titled: “We Almost Lost Detroit.”)
The latest single in their catalog, “James Dean“, is their personal take on the R&B slow jam, with silly lyrics that R-Kelly wouldn’t blush crooning: “Suitcase, half-unpacked. The internet won’t ever love you back.”
Well, they’re wrong about that last part.