Review: J. Robbins/Her Head's on Fire, Split (New Granada, 2021)

I received a couple of emails over the past two weeks announcing this surprisingly excellent split 7". Perhaps it really shouldn't be that surprising, as at this point J. Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines, etc.) is quite a legendary musician/engineer; while Her Head's on Fire is fronted by "Sid Jagger" (a.k.a. Joseph Grillo from Garrison, etc.)—fun facts that were certainly enough to command my attention. It's just that—if I'm being totally honest—when dealing with figures most known for top-shelf activity 20+ years ago, it's unfairly simple to expect "less" at a certain point in time. This split, however, is a cold, hard reminder that stubborn old fucks like me need to cut the shit and refuse to underestimate greatness: both compositions 100% deliver in full.

J.'s "Uncle John" immediately kicks off with angular surges of post-hardcore perfection, complete with winding atmospheric melodies over driving bass and superbly accented percussion. Even the most discerning Jawbox diehards should approve. Absolutely awesome.

Her Head's on Fire delivers a similar stylistic aesthetic as far as general attempts to place the tune within a particular genre are concerned, though more emotional and spacious in tone—utilizing subtle repetition across just six lines of lyrics to carry across the point. I'm not trying to compare "Certain As" to the decidedly underrated Garrison per se, but again, if you were a fan of that outlet—and you should be—this composition will not disappoint.

I haven't seen a physical copy yet, but they're slated to start shipping next week. The 7"s are limited to 300 copies and feature eye-catching artwork by Gameface's Jeff Caudill.

Robbins and Grillo both boast discographies that span far wider corners than I've taken the time to explore over the years, so I'm eventually going to need to remedy that situation. It's obvious from these new cuts that there must be more great music featuring each that I've been missing out on for quite some time...

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