Warm in the Wake rises from King Lear Jet's crash

When guitar-rock outfit King Lear Jet finally grounded itself for good, it didn't come as a surprise to many passengers. After all, in the fall of 2000, singer-guitarist Christopher Rowell, one of the band's two principal songwriters, had already relocated to Asheville, N.C. Although he returned to Atlanta in 2002 to rally the band, by fall of that year, he felt it was time to turn in his wings. (That year, the band placed a song, "Ammo," in the film Tadpole.)

"The band was kind of stagnating," Rowell says. "We weren't having as much fun as we used to. We had some attention from a couple of different labels, but nothing came to fruition. It got to a point where we were kind of better off to split up and try something different."

For Rowell, that meant sparser, more intimate material. "I wanted to do something that was more three or four instruments, [rather] than 14 guitar tracks on one song," he says.

After moving back to Atlanta, Rowell hooked up with KLJ drummer James Taylor Jr. and keyboardist Daniel Barker and soon found himself with a new band dubbed Warm in the Wake. The new format helped flesh out his gauzier, but still heavily melodic, songs. In 2003, Warm in the Wake released the engaging and atmospheric Port of Quick Returns, but the band was unable to support the album immediately.

"My wife and I had a baby, [which] kind of pushed everything back," Rowell says. "Because of the delay, we've pretty much got a new record ready to go, but we need to get the first one out there. 2004, I think, will be an interesting year."