November 28, 2006


After several trips around the world (sometimes with the Stone Temple Pilots) and movements from label to label (sometimes big and sometimes small), band to band (sometimes Jawbox and sometimes Burning Airlines) and now in holy matrimony, J. Robbins has finally returned to Dischord Records. Channels, which also includes Janet Morgan (Robbins’ wife) and Derek Zentek (previously of Kerosene 454), have released their first album, Waiting for the Next End of the World, on the veteran DC label. 

Back at the time of Robbins’ departure from Dischord, Robbins’ former band Jawbox were a part of the post-Nirvana wave of next-big-thing artists. Like label-mates Shudder to Think, the band was given the opportunity to play music full time with the muscle of a major label (Atlantic Records), and so the story goes…. At the height of their musical powers, on For Your Own Special Sweetheart, the band offered their take on a single, “Savory,” which even included an MTV video that you might have been able to catch on 120 Minutes, but never quite made it into the “Buzz Bin.”

Enter Channels. Over a decade later and a world removed, the new band stays true to signature Robbins. Longtime fans will recognize strong reverberations of his previous work in Jawbox and Burning Airlines: a tightly wound rhythm section is countered by angulated guitar work, though Robbins’ distinctive vocals are now balanced by Morgan, who quite capably shares vocal duties.

The grand irony of this indie homecoming of course that this is probably Robbins at his most accessible. The lyrics are less cryptic (there’s love and media commentary) and the songs more melodic (can you say harmonies?) than previous efforts, but despite a fairly straightforward song writing approach (for Robbins) and occasional acoustic guitars, the industry machine of 2006 will likely sit this one out.

So add them to the growing roster of excellent active Dischord bands, and meet the Channels.

Listen: Disconnection Day and Chivaree from Open, available on DeSoto Records; and $99.99 from Waiting For the Next End of the World, available on Dischord Records.

2 Responses to “Channels”

  1. Scooby Says:

    great musicianship!

  2. I got to really appreciate the work done!!!!! keep it up.

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