We've encountered J. Robbins before, with Jawbox and Office of Future Plans. Channels is yet another of his post-Jawbox projects, and occupies a very similar space. What all of his bands, from Jawbox on, share is a similar focus on the same fundamentals: tightly wound songs, melodic choruses, fantastic drumming, and a certain essential artiness. Personally, I love it, and a new album from him is always a treat.
Strange Ways, "Lisa Brown Eyes"
A third-wave ska band, more or less indistinguishable from plenty of others. I'd forgotten this album existed, frankly.
Son Volt, "Too Early"
After Uncle Tupelo ended in acrimony, Jay Farrar assembled a new band and made Trace, a record that is more like Uncle Tupelo than anything else in either his or Jeff Tweedy's discography. As I think Son Volt is at their best when doing country, this is one of my favorite albums from him.
Girl Talk, "Summer Smoke"
Girl Talk, the alias of Gregg Gillis, started as an electronic project working with samples but also heavily with noise. After a couple of albums, he released Night Ripper, which doubled down on the samples by leaning heavily on mashing up recognizable songs together into a blurry kaleidoscope of pop, without the distracting noise. And it was a revelation, one of the most purely joyous albums I have. This track is a good example, but it's best listened to as a whole album.
Less Than Jake, "St. James Hotel"
This is a pretty early song form them, from the compilation Losers, Kings, And Things We Don't Understand, which collected a bunch of early singles and compilation tracks. As with most compilations, it's pretty uneven, but there are some great songs on it, and if you turn into a fan of the band, it's worth getting.