Posted by: will | December 11, 2006



Channels “Waiting For The Next End Of The World” (Dischord)

Buy it at Insound!

Any fan of the legendary Jawbox or the equally brilliant Burning Airlines rejoiced when they heard J. Robbins had formed a new group called Channels. However, with the group’s semi-lackluster 2004 debut EP Open, that excitement was somewhat muted. Almost two years have passed and Channels were probably all but forgotten by most casual indie rock fans. However, devoted fans of Robbins’ bands knew that the man was just too damn talented to not make Channels’ debut record a rousing success. And damn it if he proved us all right. Waiting For The Next End Of The World sees Robbins returning to his roots (Dischord released the first Jawbox record way back in 1991) and cementing his brilliant legacy.

“To The New Mandarins” opens the album with some biting political lyrics. It’s quite a different approach from Robbins more obtuse lyrical past. However, it foreshadows much of the subject matter of Waiting For the Next End Of The World. On “The Licensee” and “Hug The Floor” bassist Janet Morgan (Robbins’ wife) makes her most notable appearances on the vocals. Adding the female vocals to Channels is a nice touch that differentiates the band a bit from Robbins’ past efforts. But “Helen Mirren” reminds one of the slower-burning songs on Jawbox’s farewell self-titled album yet sounds perfectly in place here in 2006. The hyper-charged “Chivaree” might possibly be the catchiest song Robbins has ever written. “New Logo” and “Little Empires” continue Robbins political lyrical bent with definitiveness. “Mercury” is an epic album closer that shows a different side to the band’s more busier material. I’d be remiss if I did not mention the impeccable drumming of Darren Zentek who once manned the skins for the highly underrated Kerosene 454. Zentek rivals the wildly creative work of Jawbox drummer Zach Barocas. Zentek adds a whole lot to Channels and is able to thrive on Waiting For The Next End Of The World.

What has always set Robbins’ bands apart is their musical prowess and song arrangement skills. Channels is certainly no different as the band is ridiculously tight and the production of Robbins is, as always, spot on. I guess that is why Robbins is such a respected producer in the indie world producing albums for tons of well-known bands. He just knows how a song is supposed to be put together. Waiting For The Next End Of The World provides twelve different signs of proof to back that up.

RIYL: Gang Of Four, The Pixies, XTC


Channels – The Licensee (mp3)

Channels – Chivaree (mp3)



  1. You know now that I got to listen to “Waiting” I get to see “Open” in a whole new light.

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