Gentlemen, start your guitars

Indeed not heirs to the NASCAR family, the indie popsters make a pit stop at the Entry tonight.

Mark Brenden

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. with EMA

Where: 7th Street Entry, 701 First Ave. N.

When: June 15, 8 p.m.

Cost: $10-$12

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is nothing that its bandname suggests. Their music is not fast-moving. It is not overly ironic. And the members are indeed not the sons of Nascar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.

To the band, who released its debut LP âÄúItâÄôs a Corporate WorldâÄù last week, thatâÄôs the point. Their pleasant, atmospheric pop would better suit a Sunday drive than a Daytona 500. With such a ridiculous moniker, the duo, comprised of Josh Epstein and Daniel Zott, lets the music speak for itself. And it seems to ask, âÄúWhatâÄôs in a name?âÄù

âÄúMusic today is really compartmentalized and even with band names it seems like itâÄôs getting really easy to label what people are,âÄù Epstein said. âÄúSo I think itâÄôs really interesting to have this name, where people probably think they know what we are. Hopefully people have to pay a little bit more attention to the music.âÄù

Though the duo dresses up in NASCAR garb at live shows and adorns their chests with ironic corporate logos, their music doesnâÄôt pack any insincerity into its electro-pop. Epstein said this paradox reflects the ups and downs that a band endures. Their playful aesthetic just makes them more comfortable âÄúshowing their upsâÄù than a lot of bands, he said.

âÄúI think people really like tortured artists,âÄù he said. âÄúAnd I think we are, but itâÄôs hard to be that 24 hours a day.âÄù

The twosomeâÄôs Detroit origins are paramount to both their music and their personalities. They recently contributed a guest blog to, commenting on the life of a Detroit Lions fan. In addition to citing Motown as a major influence to his musical identity, Epstein said thereâÄôs a unique sense of community in the Motor City.

âÄúBeing downed by the press and everyone in the country so much, thereâÄôs a sense of community that probably comes from being the butt of everyoneâÄôs jokes,âÄù he said.

Like most indie-pop bands these days, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. has garnered a lot of âÄúBeach Boys influenceâÄù tags. Though this comparison can easily become extraneous, it works for Jr. Jr. Their music is marked by harmonic sensibilities and complex chords in easy-to-follow pop songs, with a creeping undertone of weirdness.

âÄúItâÄôs interesting to know that pop doesnâÄôt have to be a bad word. I think thatâÄôs really inspiring,âÄù Epstein said, âÄúthat you can make something that will appeal to a broad market of people and it can still be interesting.âÄù