There's a bundle of conflicting impulses at work in the winning, swooning pop of Detriot's Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr. The languid guitars and loose-waisted melodies are at odds with the pulse-pounding, engine-revving nature of their namesake and the broken-down, end-times ennui of their home city -- a circumstance that debut It's A Corporate World would seem to make light of, title-wise. Primary songwriters Josh Epstein and Daniel Zott walk a fine line between durable diversions and indelible sonic wallpaper, writing wafer-thin tuns that refuse to let go.
In advance of the band's show at 7th St. Entry tonight, Gimme Noise posed a few questions to Epstein in an email interview.
Gimme Noise: When did you guys first start playing music? How old were you?
Josh Epstein: We both started bands at 13 and started playing shows around Detroit at 15. I went on my first tour at 16, opening for the Promise Ring.
What was the first song you wrote together as a band, and what was that experience like?
The first song we wrote was "Simple Girl" and Daniel and I finished the recording in only a day. We realized after that that we should keep writing songs together.
Detroit has been in the news a lot over the last few years as a sort of symbol of America's industrial decline. In contrast, your music is this languid, flowing pop - a sound one might more easily associate with Hawaii. Are things as rough in Detroit as they're made out to be?
They are definitely rough as Michigan was really just the first state to the party -- if recession is a party. There is also a ton of creativity there and there are many opportunities to create and build new things given that land and space is so cheap. It's definitely not like people there are walking around dejected all the time at all.
If NASCAR asked you to play in the in-field during a race, would you? Are you fans?
We would, definitely. We made a record in our basement with no intention of having it released and that's what is coming out. If people are excited to hear it, we are honored.
Do you know whether the real Dale Jr. is aware of your band? Have you heard from his attorneys?
We heard from Dale and he is a very nice gentleman and is supportive of us. I think that he really is a down-to-earth, genuinely nice guy.
Do you get sick of questions like these, or would you say it goes with the territory of playing with a name like this one?
It comes with the name.
DALE EARNHARDT JR JR plays with EMA tonight, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15, at the 7th ST. ENTRY. 18+. $12. 8 p.m.