The band Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. had a solid imprint on the psyche of indie pop, from their critically lauded 2010 EPs Horsepower and My Love Is Easy, which got the Detroit group signed to Warner Brothers, all the way through their two LPs, It’s A Corporate World and The Speed of Things. Their peppy, positive electro pop rock won over fans almost immediately, including their namesake NASCAR driver, who promised to let them continue the use of his moniker.
So why change the name of the band for their third full length, the self titled JR JR, out September 25?
“Mostly it was because of the confusion it caused,” admits half of the duo, Daniel Zott. “People would drive from all over to meet the actual Dale Earnhardt Jr., and it would just be us instead.”
He and fellow JR JR member Joshua Epstein go on to say that it became like having an additional band member—often, it was the main thing anyone wanted to talk about when they did interviews. What was supposed to be a freeing thing—a name that could mean anything, and thus didn’t include preconceived notions about their sound—was instead becoming a distraction as the band grew in popularity. Now, with their highly anticipated third album slated for release, they’re excited to be able to focus solely on the music.
“When we first started we were both in other bands, this was just for fun,” Zott laughs incredulously. “We never expected it to become what it has.”
What JR JR have become is the rare band that music journalists and bloggers and fans can all agree are damned good, possessing both the intangible cool of credibility and the pop chops that get your feet moving and head bobbing.
This track, “In The Middle,” heard here for the first time, is the perfect example: up-tempo, atmospheric, and with the sort of lyrics that you can sing along to and feel as much or as little as you want while the rest of your body is dancing its face off. Listen below, and preorder the new album by clicking here.