J. Robbins has played in some of my favorite bands over the years (Jawbox, Burning Airlines, Channels), and worked with still more as a producer (Braid, Shiner, The Dismemberment Plan, et al).
NPR recently stuck Robbins in the same room as Chris Walla from Death Cab for Cutie, and gave them two days to write and record a song. The result is worth hearing. You can listen for yourself here.
Robbins should have sung lead. His voice is easier on the ear, and at the same time far more expressive than Walla’s nondescript tenor. But the music is good. The main riff is catchy. The rhythm section is sparse yet tight, and provides the perfect staccato contrast to Walla’s legato, almost trance-like guitar lines. Robbins and Walla combine for some lush vocal harmonies where appropriate. And drummer Darren Zentek (Robbins’ Channels bandmate) shows once again that he is master of the 16th note — just listen to the ghost notes he lays into his snare drum.
And for someone like me who used to put quite a bit of time into writing music and playing in bands, it brings back some good memories of what practice was like.