It's a Corporate World by JR JR on Apple Music

12 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s debut album entices the ear with its bubbly melodies and tickles the mind with its clever mix of electronic beats, floating harmonies and organic instrumentation. Joshua Epstein (from the Silent Years) and Daniel Zott concocted these beguiling tracks in a Detroit-area basement studio, lending them a playful homemade feel. A Beach Boys influence is evident in the interweaving of gauzy and abrasive textures on “Morning Thought” and “When I Open My Eyes,” while the old-fashioned tunefulness of “Simple Girl” recalls White Album-era Beatles. Epstein and Zott offer valentines (“Nothing But Our Love”), tweak modern ethics (the title tune) and contemplate God’s mysterious ways (“The Fisherman”) with the same starry-eyed, slightly wistful air. In a timely move, they give Gil Scott-Heron’s anti-nuclear protest song “We Almost Lost Detroit” a bracing techno-funk treatment. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. approach their music with a puckish spirit, but also radiate a sincerity that makes their first album a charming affair.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s debut album entices the ear with its bubbly melodies and tickles the mind with its clever mix of electronic beats, floating harmonies and organic instrumentation. Joshua Epstein (from the Silent Years) and Daniel Zott concocted these beguiling tracks in a Detroit-area basement studio, lending them a playful homemade feel. A Beach Boys influence is evident in the interweaving of gauzy and abrasive textures on “Morning Thought” and “When I Open My Eyes,” while the old-fashioned tunefulness of “Simple Girl” recalls White Album-era Beatles. Epstein and Zott offer valentines (“Nothing But Our Love”), tweak modern ethics (the title tune) and contemplate God’s mysterious ways (“The Fisherman”) with the same starry-eyed, slightly wistful air. In a timely move, they give Gil Scott-Heron’s anti-nuclear protest song “We Almost Lost Detroit” a bracing techno-funk treatment. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. approach their music with a puckish spirit, but also radiate a sincerity that makes their first album a charming affair.

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About JR JR

With an ear for Brian Wilson-esque harmony, JR JR swirl indie pop, folk, and electronic elements into one breezy package. Originally named Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. with typical irreverence, the duo of Joshua Epstein (also of the Silent Years) and Daniel Zott came together in Detroit in 2009. Working out of a basement studio, the pair worked to create a sound that was danceable without sacrificing anything in the songwriting department, merging intricate and airy melodies with solid programmed beats and synth atmospherics.

Their hard work bore fruit in 2010 when they released their debut EP, Horse Power, on Quite Scientific, quickly followed by the EP My Love Is Easy: Remixes Pt. 1. That same year, the pair was also tapped to do a remix of Moby's "Wait for Me." The resulting buzz from their early releases led to a record deal with Warner Bros., who released their Record Store Day-exclusive EP titled We Almost Lost Detroit in spring 2011. The duo's full-length debut, It's a Corporate World, followed that summer. In 2013, they returned with an EP, Patterns, before releasing their sophomore full-length, The Speed of Things, later that year.

In 2015, even though they had the blessing of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. himself, to avoid ongoing confusion by fans and seekers of the race car driver, Epstein and Zott decided to change the band's name to simply JR JR. Their first LP under the shortened handle and their third with Warner Bros., the endearing JR JR was released that September. ~ Gregory Heaney & Marcy Donelson

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