As one of the primary driving creative forces behind both Jawbox and Burning Airlines, J. Robbins played an essential part in carving out what we now recognize as hallmarks of the D.C. punk sound.

Those guitar tones which seemed to impressively buzz and shimmer at the same time; the calculated experiments with both vocal deliveries and song structures, squarely in the alternative rock realm of the era but with its punk undertones, albeit perhaps slightly frayed at the ends, mostly intact.

There was always a certain, somewhat intangible uneasiness underlying the bands of that scene and era, too. Maybe it was an involuntary byproduct of creating aggressive art in the shadow of the United States government (and, it should be said, without real representation in said government). Maybe it was the region’s swampiness seeping in. Whatever it was, the D.C. sound was, and is, one that crosses subgenres with its aesthetic.

Lately, Robbins has spent far more time recording music than performing it—there’s a strong chance he’s recorded several of your favorite modern punk records—which makes this surprise drop of two new songs under his own name a welcome, and unexpected, addition to his vast discography. Where Robbins’ most recent project Office Of Future Plans mostly used more moody, muted tones and sleek, tension-building structure and instrumentation, these songs are bright, inviting and downright anthemic.

J. Robbins has a quick, full-band tour booked as well; those dates are below.

5/4 – Columbus OH, at Big Room Bar with Bicentennial Bear, and FACE
5/5 – Louisville KY, at the New Vintage, with Black God, the Richie White Orchestra, Skull Practitioners, and Shellshag
5/6 – Chicago, at Metro, opening for Bob Mould
5/7 – Pittsburgh PA, at Howlers with Broughtons Rules, Barons, and Cyrus Gold