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Dischord Records

Un​-​Becoming

by J. Robbins

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midnight_lands
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midnight_lands The master of hard hitting and thoughtful "jangular" hard rock! Favorite track: Skeleton Coast.
Zachary Johnson
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Zachary Johnson J's compossions and production are always pleasing to my ear. The tones on this record are so perfect and the layers of sound just make it really interesting and fun to listen to and pick out the little pieces! So good so glad he's still making music. Favorite track: Un-Becoming.
Stephen Reeder
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Stephen Reeder J. Robbins has really crafted some of his best songs on this album. This album is a rocker, and although we're not likely to get a new Jawbox album any time soon, Un-becoming is one of J.'s finest efforts to date.
Kudos to his backing band, Brooks Harlan, Gordon Withers, and PETE MOFFETT! It's great to hear J. and Pete make music together. Pete's the bomb. Favorite track: Abandoned Mansions.
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1.
Anodyne 02:48
He drinks tears from the eyes of the true believers They cling hard to the side of the one who threw ‘em their last line Divine light of his ego warms their numb minds Where is my Anodyne, anodyne Desperation wine Anodyne, anodyne Are you sick with a lack of imagination? The gatekeepers get paid selling you what you already own Dive, willingly blind, into the best lie You can buy Anodyne anodyne Desperation wine Anodyne anodyne To liberate you from your mind Anodyne anodyne Free-est enterprise Anodyne anodyne First comes the crisis to blow your doors wide Your savior’s a salesman who steps right inside Quoting you prices To keep hope alive He leads to you a ledge And leaves you with no goodbye Anodyne anodyne Desperation wine Anodyne anodyne To liberate me from my mind Anodyne anodyne Free-est enterprise Anodyne anodyne
2.
No, the years really haven’t been kind Central booking at sunrise In the red at the edge of your eyes Let it blur as you drive by Grand abandoned mansions from a better time Rotting out from the inside If you dig, what d’you think you would find It’s a tomb, not a gold mine It’s the creche of the creatures who climb Over each other’s bent spines Giants in the earth and bullets in the sky Little castles in their never-ending lines Rotting out from the inside If you dig what d’you think you would find “Resignedly beneath the sky The melancholy waters lie And from the towers in the town Death looks gigantically down” -( E.A. Poe) Giants in the earth and bullets in the sky Grand abandoned mansions from a better time Bars and churches in their never-ending lines Rotting out from the inside
3.
Your Majesty 03:32
The rise and fall of sanity From your chapel ceiling To the floor below A masterpiece of vanity The paint is peeling Its a real shit show But I wish you well From the cell Where I’m serving at the pleasure of your majesty This lonely chamber of bone Here inside, tired eyes see you Supine on your scaffold, scratching out the scene Where Jesus goes it alone Sycophants recalibrate Your diagnosis: Accident prone And rubberneckers celebrate Your graduation To the twilight zone But I wish you well In the cell Where your madness is the measure of your majesty This lonely chamber of bone Here inside, tired eyes see you Supine on your scaffold, scratching out the scene Where Jesus goes it alone Forgetting final notice to the trinity It was always a one-man show A feedback loop, programmed forever to receive No code except your own And I wish that I could feel a bit more sympathy Or empathy, I don’t know But then self-preservation gets the best of me ‘Cause I know you know At the end of the show We’re all going to go it alone
4.
I was talking to you Morning light filled the room You were listening too, then it came: the change A living darkness that bloomed Incarnate fear, the shape of ruin Conjured up to consume every sign of day I was left to my own devices And I lost my way Paralyzed by the kind of crisis No one else could make Read the maps of our scars One by one, we won’t get far Never smile at the dark history that leaves Complementary wounds Tired blood needs new How the madness of two comes to be When we’re left to our own devices Will we lose our way Tender traps, quiet crises Crystalline displays Cold chemistry flows inside you Becomes what you are Algorithms well describe you Become what you are And your devices, quiet beside you Become what you are Conquer you and divide you Become what you are Break the seal and burn with ardor Become what you are Or wait to die inside your armor Become what you are When we’re left to our own devices And we lose our way Paralyzed by the kind of crises No one else could make We’re all left to our own devices And we lose our way Tender traps, quiet crises Crystalline displays
5.
Un-Becoming 03:22
Calling to all contestants, sleeping on your feet This game’s got you beat Dancing in circles, days into weeks The time machine is running, burning money money money Aren’t you dying to take it for a ride You're surely not the first to want to throw it in reverse Destination: 1929 Get your guns, run to greet the gilded age Un-becoming, we peel the layers away To brittle bones, decades of decay Then we trade The mirror for the masquerade No bread, just vicious circuses, to overload your circuits til you miss what’s right before your eyes All the medication in this karaoke nation couldn’t make you see the other side 21 guns to greet the gilded age Un-becoming, we peel the layers away To brittle bones, decades of decay Then we trade Getting sane for getting paid The mirror for the masquerade When all of your buried corpses finally start to speak They tell you the Earth inherits the meek 21 guns to greet the gilded age Un-becoming, we peel the layers away To brittle bones, decades of decay Then we trade Getting sane for getting paid The mirror for the masquerade
6.
Kintsugi 02:31
7.
Radical Love 02:28
The world that you closed your eyes in? At daybreak it turned upside down The new normal hangs over you like a shroud And shared assumptions just confound you Future ruins surround you You need an extraordinary love When you’ve had more than enough Of whatever damage was done Believe in radical love Spinning around and around and there’s nothing to cushion your fall The script in your hand tells you nothing at all Old habits and sentiment won’t save you From the poison they gave you Only an extraordinary love
8.
The sky is too bright and the world’s too wide But the view’s simplified from a hunting blind Defending the great divides You’ll die at your post God’s in the rising tide On your skeleton coast Burn the boats Daydream an empire’s endless rise Where demons are named, then they’re sacrificed The cult of the last goodbye Collectively alone Cold waters rise, divide This archipelago Dead island of your calcifying soul Bit by a bitter vision of control Who told you there was nowhere else to go? Sheltering with your ghosts In some leviathan’s bones Bleaching in the sun You're afraid of your shadow I think you must know There is a world outside your head You are not dreaming, you’re not yet dead Defending the great divides You’ll die at your post God’s in the rising tide On your skeleton coast The cult of the last goodbye Collectively alone Watching the water rise
9.
The rich embrace their destiny, the poor are stuck with fate All your life’s the coming true of fictions you create In the trenches of the little wars that subdivide your days Soldier on Soldier on Life is long Soldier on Your solitude is solid gold, you’re owned, you’re on your own Your blood is in their chalice, (they) build a palace on your bones Sing on through the struggle to your still unbroken soul: Soldier on Soldier on Life is long Soldier on One more tomorrow Heart in armor, anodized Real joy, true sorrow While they conquer and divide Freezing in the shadows of the fascists and the fakes Shocks to beat you down again, how much awe can you take But hammer into anvil, it’s the hammer that will break Soldier on Soldier on Life is long Soldier on
10.
Citizen 03:41
You hit the jackpot, if all you wanted was to have all the answers True or false, curse or a gift? That easy certainty seduces and enchants us Now we’re in the grifter’s grip You’ve seen my papers, isn’t everything in order? Am I in no position to resist? For some transcendence is the burning of the borders; Some think playing with their shit Is the pinnacle of wit Unlearn the Internationale We’re citizens of nowhere now And empathy merits you a blank stare When you’re a citizen of nowhere Born on the wrong side of the drawbridge, and it’s locked up tight, alright? Should I keep hoping for the best? Or for the Masque of the Red Death? Unlearn the Internationale We’re citizens of nowhere now Burn your ID, now take a bow We’re citizens of nowhere now And when they meet you with that blank stare You know you’re a citizen of nowhere Disconnected and left to rot - O Theresa, maybe, maybe not I dreamed that I was born again as a corporation Fuck The Future, LLC I got full benefits with my reincarnation Oh I never felt so free Unlearn the Internationale We’re citizens of nowhere now Remit remains to neutral ground We’re citizens of nowhere now
11.
Firelight 02:02
When the nights grow long Where money’s always been the only law A chill gets in your bones, you feel so alone Exiled into the forbidden zone You need firelight To beat back the night And nothing burns as brightly as a flag Set alight By firelight It’s red when you let the fresh air in Like blood that runs blue beneath white skin Get the kerosene We’ll warm our hands, we’ll make a festive scene Orange, black and green, for all it means It’s just a curtain ‘round a crime scene So what is it you Pledge allegiance to You want the gift, or just the wrapping? And all your misplaced pride Is a consolation prize I think you’d better throw it on the fire We need the light Firelight Is red when you let the fresh air in Like blood that runs blue beneath white skin And fire will always need feeding Not promises no one is keeping
12.
Stella Vista 05:18
Sleepless and endless night Are you living alone Or with an unholy host Of epigenetic ghosts? Staggering down the hall As they change the shape of the walls Go only where allowed Here in your haunted house Take the spiral ladder down Til you’re lost or found Or just start over again In the haze of the civil twilight In roles we’ll re-write to the end But that’s no way to live your life Echoing over you Never fading to black Inexplicable appetites Ancestral parasites Bait you and gently bite With their wrong and right Price of their paradise A glimpse, can you get it back History’s not in the ground It’s in your bloodstream, flowing round Bleeds through like sound on sound Or just start over again In the haze of the civil twilight In roles we’ll re-write to the end But that’s no way to live your life Can you see the end of never never again? Fall back into the fold Can you see the end of never never again? You were born for the role Internal External Eternal Returning Keeps turning And turning Or just start over again In the haze of the civil twilight In roles we’ll re-write to the end But that’s no way to live your life

about

J. Robbins has been the guitarist/singer and primary songwriter (or pushiest collaborator) in several bands since the early ’90s, including Jawbox, Burning Airlines, Channels, and Office of Future Plans. For the bulk of that time, he has also been active as a recording engineer/producer, working with musicians from around the world at his Baltimore-based studio, The Magpie Cage.

J. started performing as a solo artist around 2010, making occasional low-key releases on Bandcamp and contributing to two benefit compilations that were released on Germany’s Arctic Rodeo Records.

Un-Becoming -- which came together in short bursts of activity spread out over the long stretch between 2016 and 2019 -- is his first full-length solo record. On 11 of the LP’s 12 songs, J. is joined by former Burning Airlines drummer Peter Moffett, Brooks Harlan on bass, and Gordon Withers on cello and guitar.

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released May 31, 2019

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J. Robbins Baltimore, Maryland

J. Robbins has been the singer/guitarist and principal songwriter in several DC-and-Baltimore-area post-punk rock bands since the late 1980s, most notably Jawbox, Burning Airlines, and Channels. He is also owner and operator of the Magpie Cage recording studio in Baltimore MD. ... more

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