J. Robbins solo album
[Photo by Janet Morgan]

J. Robbins is most known for his collaborations with Jawbox, Burning Airlines, Channels and Office Of Future Plans. He began performing as a solo artist in 2010, releasing tracks through Bandcamp, but never releasing a full-length album until now.

The singer-songwriter announced that he’ll drop his first LP next month titled Un-becoming.

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The record was produced within the span of a few years between other projects and demos.

Un-becoming was written and recorded in brief, intense bursts of activity between 2015 [to] 2018 as my most recent band, Office Of Future Plans, were winding to a close. OOFP had been born in 2011, from demos for an earlier solo project, but, the thing is, I like bands. The social unit of a band, the creation of a new entity, with its own aura, its own intrigue, out of a collective effort. Those things are very appealing to me.”

The process was gradual as Robbins had other obligations to fulfill.

“The process was really slow, owing to limited time as much as anything else, and I wanted to be able to accommodate that without feeling like I was wasting anyone else’s time or keeping anyone on the hook,” he shares. “All those considerations led me to embrace the idea of a solo record. I knew I could record the songs here at my studio, where I felt at home, but only a day here, a day there, whenever I wasn’t booked to work on other people’s recordings.”  

The album wasn’t something the artist had always intended on doing. In fact, the notion seemed strange to him.

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“As someone who has always been in collaborative bands, even if I was the main writer or arranger, the idea of making a ‘J. Robbins record’ made me uncomfortable,” he says. “Of course, once all the members of OOFP were working with the material, a collaborative band dynamic naturally emerged, and whatever we were doing together, it didn’t feel right to call it a solo project.

“However, as OOFP went on, though it seemed less and less appropriate for me to dictate to the group, writing by jamming wasn’t really clicking either,” Robbins continues. “We had a lot of jams, but no new songs. Concurrently, I started playing more solo shows and started trying to write songs that would hold up independently of how they were arranged.”

As for the album itself, according to Robbins, it’s unlike anything he’s done before.

“These songs ended up feeling much more direct than anything I had ever written before, and I was really excited about them,” he explains. “They also didn’t feel like OOFP to me.”

Accompanying the album announcement, Robbins also released the first single off the LP, “Soldier On,” which can be heard below.

Un-becoming will be released May 31 and is available for preorder via Dischord Records and Bandcamp. The tracklist can be seen below.

Un-becoming tracklist:
  1. “Anodyne”
  2. “Abandoned Mansions”
  3. “Your Majesty”
  4. “Our Own Devices”
  5. “Un-becoming”
  6. “Kintsugi”
  7. “Radical Love”
  8. “Skeleton Coast”
  9. “Soldier On”
  10. “Citizen”
  11. “Firelight”
  12. “Stella Vista”