Get Up On This with Jensen Karp: Junior Varsity

Junior Varsity Instagram

Get Up On This with Jensen Karp: Junior Varsity

Every Wednesday morning Jensen Karp gets us up on something new

January 22, 2020

Every Wednesday morning Jensen brings our attention to something that we may not know about yet or something we may have overlooked in the past.

Now it's time to "Get Up On This."

Jensen is swinging for the fences on this one because the music industry is a very strange place in 2020. It’s not easy to break into as a new artist, but with so many outlets to release your music, it’s easier than ever to be heard. Artists like Ariana Grande, the Jonas Brothers, and Eminem, get huge exposure by having their music released by a major label. Then, there are artists like Lil Nas X, who turned a Tik Tok video into the longest-running number 1 song of all time. Or, Tyler the Creator who is performing at this weekend’s Grammy’s without a radio single at all, which is unheard of. Or, the juggernaut that is independent artist Chance the Rapper. Although independent music is now bigger than ever, tracks still need something to make them stand out. As a result, this week’s Get Up On This, is the strangest example of these new marketing plans. The band is called Junior Varsity.

Junior Varsity has already shown up on a ton of most anticipated albums for 2020, including Pigeons & Planes - a great website for new music. The only issue is - they haven’t even released a song yet. They have no SoundCloud page, no mixtape, and no EP. They legitimately have NO music released. Nothing. Here’s what we do have - small clips of music that can be heard on their Instagram page, which at the time today’s broadcast, had just under 13,000 followers. However, what they have done is performed full live shows in Los Angeles, New York, and Japan that have created an underground buzz that has the industry pegging them to be the next big thing. This L.A. based music duo is doing the exact opposite of creating a buzz around music releases that can get lost in the shuffle. Instead, they are creating a loyal and devoted fan base for themselves.

In L.A., N.Y. and Japan they get people to come to their shows by playing an entire weekend. They call it the “The F***ing Weekend.” They start on a Friday and they’ll play anywhere, including a garage for only a few hundred people. They depend on word of mouth to get people there, and it’s worked every time. At the end of the weekend, they’ll be playing for up to 2,000 people.

The two artists, Greg Arum and Zack, met in college, but after writing songs for other artists they decided to create their own music and challenge the entire format of how music is released. In March of last year, Greg announced that they had formed a band and since then they’ve decided to build the world around them before the music has even been released. They list Damon Albarn and Gorillaz as a major influence and their music is a reflection of that style of rock/pop/hip-hop.

They seem to post a lot of videos on Instagram that have a bit of a Jackass vibe. It all includes videos of them having fun in the world, fighting, throwing shopping carts and other crazy stuff that goes around them. They also post footage of their shows, where he apparently let a fan shave his head on stage. They have crazy mosh pits with tons of energy documented as well.

Since all we have are snippets of their music, let's listen to as much of it that we have. This one is from their Instagram page, it’s called “Weather.”

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by @ juniorvarsity on

Here’s a snippet from another song called “Home.”

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by @ juniorvarsity on

Critics who have already heard their album are giving it high praise, and saying that these guys are not just hype. In the ever-evolving landscape of alternative music, Junior Varsity is a perfect example of something that fits right into the iPod generation where genres are being mixed, though their main influence seems to be rock. No matter what happens, Junior Varsity is definitely a group, and marketing plan, worth following.