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Emo rock outfit Northstar formed in 1997 in Huntsville, AL, and underwent so many lineup changes (and some sonic ones) during those early years that they probably should have changed their name when things finally settled down in the early 2000s. Regardless, Northstar played around Alabama and the Southeast for a time before finally deciding it was time to hit the nationwide circuit around 2000. With a strong D.I.Y. work ethic, they booked and promoted several tours themselves, and a self-produced demo (which sold a few hundred copies) helped to further spread their name. Northstar hooked up for tours with like-minded bands such as Brand New, the Stryder, and Taking Back Sunday, becoming especially close friends with the latter band. That friendship in particular didn't hurt as TBS exploded out of the underground and hyped the guys any chance they got (they even declared Northstar "the greatest band in the world" in the liner notes of their 2002 debut, Tell All Your Friends). By the time Northstar inked a deal with New York-based Triple Crown in June 2002, the only remaining original member was drummer Gabe Renfroe. And though the group would endure more bassist changes, the lineup was pretty well solidified by that time with vocalist/guitarist Nick Torres and guitarist Tyler Odom, who became the band's primary songwriters. With bassist Shawn Reagan on board, the band debuted on Triple Crown that October with the well-received Is This Thing Loaded? Their sophomore full-length, the Matt Squire-produced Pollyanna, followed in April 2004, featuring a tighter sound and new bassist Jake Fisher. More people were starting to take notice, but by the year's end, Northstar had gone on hiatus. And though the quartet regrouped by February 2005 to head out on co-headlining dates with Lucero, the reunion was short-lived; Northstar officially called it quits that April. The DVD The Uncomfortable Camera was released posthumously in June, and few months later, Odom and Torres resurfaced with a new project, Cassino. ~ Corey Apar

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