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Wednesday, July 11, 2007 04:36 am

Junior Varsity changes direction

Native sons are out with second release from Victory Records

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Untitled Document For the Junior Varsity, home usually means the highway, but to write their new album, Cinematographic, the rock band hit the brakes. Earlier this year, the hard-touring quintet hunkered down in a Springfield house to
craft their second release for Victory Records, an album the band chose to steer in a new direction.
“The record just came out. I really haven’t heard any words of negativity, except one bad review on a Web site, but all the fans, longtime fans, seem to really love it,” Nick Dodson, keyboard player, says during a brief stop home from touring.
Released on June 19, the album marks a smooth transition to a more mature sound with a focus on vocals. The band members each had a hand in the writing process, and living together for the duration seemed the best fit. “If the group has an idea at 2 or 3 in the morning, we can go to the basement and hash it out,” Dodson says.
The Junior Varsity, comprising Dodson, Andy Wildrick, Chris Birch, Sergio Coronado, and Asa Dawson, takes the stage for a CD-release show at the Capital City Bar & Grill before setting off on the road July 22 with Trustkill Records band Hopesfall. The group just ended a tour with indie band Thunderbirds Are Now! two weeks ago, but their downtime includes one festival and a few regional shows. The band’s “tour, tour, tour” ethic is a large part of its success, but, Dodson says, “I really feel that the music industry is 85 percent luck.”
From small shows in the suburbs to an opening slot at famous Chicago club, the Metro, Dodson says that since the band’s inception, in 2002, opportunities have presented themselves. With just one release, from British Records, under their belts, the Junior Varsity caught the eye of Chicago’s Victory Records, a successful independent label boasting a roster of 50 bands and such successful alums as Bad Brains and the Smoking Popes.
“It was pretty crazy, and we worked pretty hard at it,” Dodson says.

The Junior Varsity plays a CD-release show for Cinematographic at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 14, at the Capital City Bar & Grill (3149 S. Dirksen, 217-529-8580). The Graduate and Fayette open. Tickets cost $8. Cinematographic may be found anywhere CDs are sold.

Contact Marissa Monson at mmonson@illinoistimes.com.
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