Northstar - Is This Thing Loaded? (Cover Artwork)


Northstar: Is This Thing Loaded?Is This Thing Loaded? (2002)
Triple Crown Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: BandAidEmilyBandAidEmily
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Just around the time I became bored to tears with my entire CD collection, Fred and the fabulous people at Triple Crown Records come to my rescue with the debut LP from one of the industry's most hard working, genuinely talented bands. Northstar, a four piece outfit hailing from the dirty-dirt.
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Just around the time I became bored to tears with my entire CD collection, Fred and the fabulous people at Triple Crown Records come to my rescue with the debut LP from one of the industry's most hard working, genuinely talented bands.

Northstar, a four piece outfit hailing from the dirty-dirty south (Hunstville, Alabama), have made a name for themselves in the indie rock community the DIY way. With the help of years of touring the national club scene alongside such bands as Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Further Seems Forever, and The Stryder, releasing a 400-selling, self-produced demo, and garnering what seems to be a never-ending supply of good word of mouth, Northstar's hype is exploding. I had heard about this band through the boys of Taking Back Sunday (who shamelessly, yet effectively, promote Northstar if ever given the chance), so naturally I had to hear this record.

The first track, "My Ricochet," gives you a quick-yet-vague introduction to the band's sound - a slick mix of classic rock, layered singing/screaming vocals, loud guitars, and catchy, ear-friendly melodies. Almost immediately the lead singer's voice reminded me of Third Eye Blind-front man Stephen Jenkins'. Passionate and precise, he wonderfully carries each song through each soft transition, and then proceeds to drive you straight into the chorus at full force, never loosening his grip on your attention, and never once straying off key.

The title track - with its humable melody, and sing along-style lyrics - almost sets the tone for the entire record. Although, to me, the stand out track (a.k.a.: "The song that made me get off my ass and dance around in my underwear") would have to be "Broken Parachute." Ladies and gentlemen, this song has it all. I'm a huge fan of well-written, original, NOT TYPICAL lyrics. This song has them, along with insanely loud/forceful guitars, soft breaks, smooth bass lines, and a few sporadic "la da da"'s. There's even a drum solo! What more could a girl ask for?!

There isn't one classified slow song on the record. The guitars remain loud throughout; but refrain from becoming relentless, thanks to the help of smart song arrangement posing as a buffer between the hard and soft sections. Sweet, to the point, never redundant, and always fun; in my opinion, this is precisely how a rock'n'roll record should sound.


People who liked this also liked:
Northstar - PollyannaBrand New - Deja EntenduJawbreaker - Dear YouJets to Brazil - Four Cornered NightFace to Face - Don't Turn AwayNo Motiv - And the Sadness PrevailsSleater-Kinney - The WoodsThe Blood Brothers - Burn Piano Island, BurnAnd You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Source Tags and CodesPolar Bear Club - The Redder, The Better

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
xmystax (May 24, 2008)

northstar forever always

thejewvolta (December 22, 2005)

damn son
this hasnt left regular rotation on my cd player since I bought it

Anonymous (August 30, 2005)

This cd kicked some major tail! The lead singer's voice is awesome and oh so addicting. the lyrics and the ryhthm of every song is just so catchy and poppy but punkish enough to bot be considered mainstream pop, which is great. The way this band just bangs on their instruments is cool, you can tell there is just soooo much emotion and creativity behind each song. One of my favorite songs being the first track "rigged and ready". It starts out so slow then all of a sudden goes straight into an offbeat drumming and the lazy vocals kick in, then the punk part kicks in with the guitars grinding on. Speaking of the drumming, I don't get what most people are complaining about. The drums are as they should be, just right for the sound of the band. Basically, I would say this album is great. I would definitely suggest giving it a listen or two.......... or a lot more, depending how much free time you have.

Anonymous (May 28, 2004)

My cuz showed me this band a couple weeks ago and I still listen to it all the time. Usually cds get boring after listening and listening to them, not all of them. I think Northstar is a very tallented band and I hope to hear more from them.

Anonymous (March 31, 2004)

Northstar is hot shit. I founf this cd whilelooking in the cover ov a taking back sunday cd. TBS said they were greatso i boguht it and now i jsut cant take it out of my cdplayer.

Anonymous (February 4, 2004)

I love this record.

Anonymous (October 12, 2003)

saw these guys with rufio.. they put on a really good show so i went out and bought the cd. i like it.. taking back sunday knows what theyre promoting. the score is for northstar and tbs.

Anonymous (July 10, 2003)

A friend told me to check Northstar out, and when I downloaded their songs, I wasn't too impressed. However, I was able to see them July 6th. When they came on, it was hard to believe that these four guys were making such great music. Their playing style just grabbed me and for the 30 or 40 minutes that they were on, I was amazed. They are so much better live than they are on their CD. Being able to see them live totally made me a fan. If you get the chance, I highly suggest you go see them.

degenerate (February 5, 2003)

this is a strange cd, its 40 mins long but some how seems to last half the time. i reckon it speeds up time as it plays.

insinceredave (February 5, 2003)

I dont know how to justify a FOUR minute punk song.

-insincere dave

plowro (January 23, 2003)

I dont care if you like country music, metal, rap, or polka...Whatever. If you like music and appreciate true talent, buy this cd. Northstar is one of the most talented bands in the country....No matter what the genre. Gaddamnit, you dont understand!

Anonymous (October 28, 2002)

ok, i've heard this band is pretty good, haven't heard the stuff myself. let me just say, living in Pensacola, FL, that not many bands make it out of the dirty south besides South FL (Whippersnapper from Atlanta is one, I must be forgetting several), and good for these guys for beating the odds. it's only a record on Triple Crown, but that's something.

Anonymous (October 25, 2002)

Thrice, are you fucking kidding? those guys who dance around in shants on stage. I'm sorry but that shouldn't be in the genre of music.
Top gun, I never said you couldn't put emotion on tape. I said that it was hard to completely determine. How do you know he doesn't play with emotion? You've never seen him play... Just cause he isn't the greatest drummer doesn't mean he doesn't put his heart and soul into what's on the record. You would never know that TBS jump around like a bunch of idiots just by listening to the record....

Anonymous (October 25, 2002)

Glen Porter, formely of Alkaline Trio(first dummer) and earlier 88 fingers louie was pretty tight. I loved his style.

Anonymous (October 25, 2002)

Maybe its because of the extreme talent they hold. teppi or whatever his name is plays the guitar like no other. I believe that is why. -Rock

Anonymous (October 24, 2002)

I havent heard the cd so i cant comment on the drumming. I play drums too. Danny Carey from Tool is a crazy ass drummer. Also i give props to Chad from 311, Travis from Blink182, the guy from Meshuggah is crazy ass. But i think the most ignored drummer is the one from the Get Up Kids. Most people dont notice cuz his drumming is sublte but their is some pretty intricate stuff on their. anyway. My opinion. And for the record... I dont like Thrice. I dont get why everybody loves them but damn. It's not original that's for sure. I dont get it. I was them with Coheed and Cambria and Hot Water Music and both of those bands blew thrice outta the water.


CallingLondon (October 24, 2002)

the drumming is pretty terrible. i downloaded the only song i could find on kazaa, and he wasn't even keeping the rhythm up, even missing some beats. i didn't really like the music either. i'm sticking to thrice.

maverick (October 24, 2002)

I do play the drums, yes. I have for over 8 years.

And you don't need to see someone to know if they play with emotion or not. If you can't convey emotion on recording, then what's the point?


Anonymous (October 24, 2002)

Yeah, I know you didn't say a thing about Jeremiah Green, I was simply using him as an example there, top gun. Well then, your opinion is your opinion. I can't take that away from you, but so what if he is not as good as Joe Easley. I'm guessing you play drums... It is a little hard to completely determine that he plays with "no emotion" without seeing them live isn't it????

maverick (October 24, 2002)

Oh please, don't give me the "he's a pretty good drummer for where he's from" bullshit. I've seen plenty of drummers that are amazing that are from the most random podunk places ever.

It boils down to this: either you have rhythm, or you don't. Either you feel the music or you don't. This guy has no style, no rhythm, an no emotion in his playing.

And I never said a single thing about Jeremiah Green's drumming - he honestly doesn't impress me that much.

Will from Breaking Pangaea and the drummer of the Dismemberment Plan both wow me, however.


Anonymous (October 23, 2002)

I think I feel the need to defend this band to the certain amount of credit they deserve. First of all I don't typically listen to this type of music and I certainly don't visit the punky "punknews" website everyday. First off I think the reason the sticker says that Northstar "is the best band" is partly the friendship these guys have, mainly the two lead singers. To which I'm guessing it was the front man from TBS who was quoted saying this. I've seen it firsthand, He really does think these guys are fucking great. Second I think Taking Back Sunday's music is cliche crap, lyrically and musically. Brand New is even worse. As well as all the other bands you might categorize them with. What makes Northstar stand out are Nick's lyrics, that's what sets this band off from everyone else, it's originality.
Someday stays, in my own way
With magic so tragic and still lacking in taste
I know the tables set right, you look beautiful,
…And now you’ve set me up twice…
And so your style is outdated, in search of the perfect
And embarrassingly fatal
Ungodly gorgeous, buried in a chorus
So now ill forever be brutal
And slender
Like a saint, riding upright and riding late
Straight through somewhere, where everything’s so
Unused and unlike you…

This is why I still sleep in the air
My armor plated car ride
That crashed straight into your thighs

You threw up my best skin, cause you never loved it
(I never loved it)

Someday stays, locked in my safe,
While plastic arms carry you away
I know this never happened, we never happened
You never….
“Why do you float way up there? In disguise
In dirty air?”
Why don’t you melt way down here?
With heaven so far and hell so near.
from "my ricochet"
And I'm sorry if the drummer is no Jeremiah green, the indie drum god from modest mouse. Have you ever been to Huntsville AL, It's not exactly a breeding ground for indie talent. It's small and very shity. You wouldn't believe it if I told you a band from this town got on a well known record label. What they've done is amazing, they are really great people if you get a chance to meet them, sorry for ranting.

CallingLondon (October 23, 2002)

i'm guessing it was put on their for humor purposes.

Anonymous (October 23, 2002)

The only thing that bothers me about Northstar is that, on the cover of the CD, there's a little sticker that says "'Northstar is the best band ever!' -Taking Back Sunday" As the reviewer said, shameless.

Anonymous (October 23, 2002)

It was a joke

Anonymous (October 23, 2002)

some of you guys are retards...
1.sounds like third eye blind..hmm..no
dont just read a review and decide.. listen to the album.. its good...

Anonymous (October 23, 2002)

The singer sounds like the guy from TEB? Okay, I'm not checking this out.

Anonymous (October 23, 2002)

dunno about the band, but good review.

Anonymous (October 23, 2002)

Wow, 400 total demos sold? No wonder they are EXPLODING. Thats soooooo many.

Get real.

Anonymous (October 23, 2002)

damn scott your the most negative s.o.b. i have ever read---do you review movies? cause you would fit into that genre much better/people Northstar live is veryyy hot--don't miss them!

Anonymous (October 23, 2002)

My penis is 7 inches long.

Anonymous (October 22, 2002)

say what you want about them, Scott, but i've seen them live and they were very good. I'll be picking up this CD.

kirbypuckett (October 22, 2002)

Your entire CD collection musn't be very big or interesting at that...No offense to your musical taste or anything but if this CD saved it...WHOA!

- Scott
(Back to Hitman 2)

maverick (October 22, 2002)

As much as I love you, Emily, I must disagree with your review. This band sounds boring to me - just another band along the lines of Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, and the like. Only where those bands succeed with enough originality and talent, Northstar seems to run short on both. Most songs on this disc are *way* too long [try justifying a 4 minute pop punk song, I dare you], and from a drummer's perpective, their drummer is downright awful. If these are the drum tracks that made it to the recording, I'd hate to see what the studio demos sounded like.

So yeah, I'd say pass on this band, but that's just me.


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