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Jawbox Announces Reunion Tour After A Decade Away

Shane Gardner
Courtesy of the artist

It appears to be required by law that every indie-rock band of the '90s must reunite at some point. So we might as well see the return of a great one, right?

The sleekly powerful D.C. rock band Jawbox released four terrific albums — 1991's Grippe, 1992's Novelty, 1994's For Your Own Special Sweetheart and 1996's Jawbox — before breaking up in 1997. It experienced a familiar trajectory for its time, making its name on a highly respected independent label (in this case Dischord) before signing a major-label deal, grazing the edges of mainstream success (MTV airplay, that sort of thing) and ultimately running out of commercial steam.

Jawbox has reunited once before, for a one-off performance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon in 2009. But we're getting a full-blown nationwide tour in this time, with dates listed below and scattered across June and July. It'll feature Jawbox's best-known lineup, too: singer-guitarist J. Robbins, guitarist Bill Barbot, bassist Kim Coletta and drummer Zach Barocas. All four have kept busy over the years — for example, you can watch Robbins write and record a song with Chris Walla for NPR Music's Project Song series back in 2009 — but it'll be a joy to watch them re-create their Jawbox material together for the first time in ages.

"About every year for the last 10 years or so, we've discussed doing shows," Coletta writes via email. "Everyone has been agreeable towards it, but there is always some 'life' getting in the way. I'm not quite sure what changed this year, but we just pulled the trigger and started practicing last summer.

"We're definitely writing new material, although it's on pause now because we realized that first, we really need to relearn all the old material! But I'm hopeful we'll have a new song or two ready to play live this summer. And then hopefully a release after that, even if the first one is just a 7".

Tour Dates

June 14: Sinclair, Cambridge, MA

June 21: Union Transfer, Philadelphia, PA

June 22: Brooklyn Steel, Brooklyn, NY

June 28: 9:30 Club, Washington, DC

July 9: Showbox at the Market, Seattle, WA

July 10: Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR

July 12: The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA

July 13: The Regent Theater, Los Angeles, CA

July 19: Trees, Dallas, TX

July 20: Mohawk, Austin, TC

July 26: First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN

July 27: Metro, Chicago, IL

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)