Jawbox Credit: Katherine Davis

It’s a cliche to describe rock as “angular,” but it’s shorter than saying “influenced by a handful of important D.C. posthardcore bands, including Jawbox.” Formed in 1989 by vocalist and guitarist J. Robbins, bassist Kim Colletta, and drummer Adam Wade, Jawbox finessed the anthemic sound of D.C. punk into their own idiosyncratic style, which was both rhythmically adventurous and sweetly melodic. Jawbox soon recruited second guitarist and vocalist Bill Barbot, then reached their final form in 1992 after the departure of Wade, who joined art punks Shudder to Think and was replaced by Zach Barocas. In 1993, Jawbox signed to Atlantic and became one of two bands ever to leave the unimpeachably independent label Dischord for a major (the other being Shudder to Think). The move was controversial among Jawbox’s anticorporate fans and peers, but despite the intrascene tensions the band stirred up, Jawbox produced two of their best albums with Atlantic (coreleased by DeSoto, the indie label Coletta has run since 1991). The 1994 release For Your Own Special Sweetheart is their masterpiece, and it contains their best-known song, “Savory”—which they played at their first gig since breaking up in 1997, a one-off reunion in 2009 on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Jawbox’s self-titled 1996 swan song didn’t get quite as much recognition, but I’ve got a soft spot for it, especially the nervy “Won’t Come Off,” where Robbins and Barbot show off their rich vocal harmonies. Jawbox are closing out a 12-date reunion jaunt with two shows at Metro, though their fans are still so devoted that the tour could’ve kept going for months. The deliberate brevity of this trip suggests that the time to catch the band is now.   v