Ned Russin from Title Fight has started writing about the local music scene in the Weekender. Check out his first article here. Ned Russin-The Weekender
“Hello and welcome to the inaugural edition of Breaking Down the Walls.
My name is Ned Russin, and I play in Title Fight, Disengage, Stick Together, Noise Pet, Independence, Wrong, Because, Big Contest, WB Wolfpack, and Special Forces. I also help run Redwood Art Space (this area’s only independent, all-ages venue), release records, have a demo studio, and most recently write this column to bring attention to our local, underground music scene. It seems that the majority of creative things happening in the area are swept under the metaphorical rug, which is why I happily accepted this opportunity to shed some light.
“Breaking Down the Walls” is both literal and figurative. My first motive is to expose people to things that are happening right under their noses – we have bands from this area putting out records and touring the world, all without recognition from their hometown. But I also aim to “break down” misconceptions of punk, hardcore, and every other subgenre that falls beneath them.
I feel that to most people in our area, “punk” is still a prejudiced insult based on outdated notions of a leather, safety pin aesthetic and mindless, self-destructive behavior. I hope that through these efforts my peers and I will no longer be viewed as dumb kids wasting their time playing in garage bands, but rather as true artists and humanitarians. As poets and revolutionaries. As intellects and people brave enough to think and act differently from the status quo.
In October, we (the Wilkes-Barre Hardcore Scene, or WBHC for short) put on a show at the Warrior Run Fire Hall in celebration of Title Fight’s new album, “Floral Green.” The show was great for many reasons, including but not limited to the W-B release of our banner, a new stage, being featured in The Times Leader, new Gypsy t-shirts, and limited record covers. At the show, my friend and Redwood business associate Matt Wren released a compilation of local bands entitled “Stuck in the Valley.” The title in itself is very loaded; I could write a whole article just on that. But, this compilation is a great starting point for us (you and I) to get to know each other.
The burned CD-R is a collection of 21 local bands old and new. The music ranges from avant-garde to metal-influenced hardcore. It’s exciting to realize how many new bands have formed this year, to see new bands like Iron Head and Flowers alongside Tigers Jaw and These Elk Forever, who have been playing locally and nationally for years. As I listen to the recording for the first time, my speakers amplify the diversity. Hearing indie band Halfling and hardcore band Not Til Death back to back illustrates the eclectic array of music that our small area has to offer.
The cherry on top of the cake is seeing the logo from the bygone label Walk All Night gracing the cover. Walk All Night Records operated out of Hunlock Creek in the early 2000s and boasted one of the best lineups at the time, releasing notable hardcore bands like Cold World, Think I Care, and Blacklisted, though it has been inactive since 2005. Their involvement in the project bridges the generational gap and brings on a great sense of nostalgia.
The bands on “Stuck in the Valley” are not bands looking to “make it big;” rather they are writing, recording, and performing music to truly express themselves in meaningful, effective ways. This is the true spirit of our local music scene.
“Stuck in the Valley” can be heard and downloaded at stuckinthevalley.bandcamp.com. Get involved and stay tuned for more information on our local music scene.”