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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

March 5, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Quirky electropop from Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. tonight at Neumos | Concert preview

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. plays Neumos Wednesday night.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. plays Neumos Wednesday night.

Don’t let their unfortunate name scare you off.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., a quirky electronic indie pop duo from Detroit, makes music good enough to forgive a dubious choice or two. They’re at Neumos tonight with Oxford electro-popster Chad Valley, who peddles in danceable, syrupy synth hooks.

Chad Valley makes music that will get people moving, but those with a keen ear should appreciate Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. (from here on known as DEJJ to save us all some time) for its deeper bag of tricks. 

Despite being from Detroit, DEJJ’s Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott have mastered a low-key, Southern California dream-pop vibe on the band’s sophomore effort, 2013′s “The Speed of Things.” They trade a certain tameness for refined sensibilities, like on the opening cut, “Beautiful Dream,” which sets the tone with a carefully layered attack that has just enough space in between each little flourish to keep from being overwhelming.

That’s not to say DEJJ can’t put a little edge on their music. The moody “Hiding” slowly builds around a fuzzy bass line and should make for a standout moment live. Epstein and Zott also demonstrate their flair for straight-ahead indie pop throughout “The Speed of Things,” like on the bubbly but somewhat anonymous “Don’t Tell Me,” and “I Can’t Help It,” which turns a familiar hook on its ear by never letting it get really rocking.

DEJJ could fill an entire set with its easy, danceable numbers but they should make time for their more atmospheric songs, like the morose “The Haunting” and “Dark Water,” which winds and propels itself forward with a pleasing energy.

What makes DEJJ so different than the hundreds of other indie bands streaming out of LA and Nashville right now? I’m not sure, but they are pretty darn polished and they also happen to be here tonight. Maybe that’s enough.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. with Chad Valley
8 p.m. Wednesday at Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $15 (206-709-9467 or www.neumos.com)

-Owen R. Smith, on Twitter @inanedetails

Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: chad valley, dale earnhardt jr. jr., Neumos


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