Ned Russin (Title Fight) discusses the influences on new Glitterer album ‘Life Is Not A Lesson’
Title Fight have been on hiatus for a few years, but co-frontman Ned Russin remains prolific with his Glitterer project, with which he'll release his second proper album Life Is Not A Lesson this Friday (2/26) via ANTI- Records (pre-order). Ned produced the album himself, and his Title Fight bandmate/brother Ben Russin drummed on it, and as you can hear on some of the pre-release singles, this record's a little closer to Title Fight's energetic punk than Glitterer's bedroom/dream pop-inspired 2019 LP Looking Through The Shades, but he's still clearly embracing some softer, non-punk influences as well.
We were curious exactly which influences Ned was channelling on this album, so we asked him and he told us about five songs/records (and one book) that inspired his songwriting this time around. It's an eclectic list, with everything from legends like Brian Eno and The Beatles to a new-ish punky shoegaze band that Title Fight fans definitely need to be listening to. Read on for Ned's list...
INFLUENCES ON GLITTERER'S LIFE IS NOT A LESSON (by Ned Russin)
Built To Spill - "Stab"
The first time I heard this song was in the Transworld Skateboard video I.E. That video came out in 2000 when I was 10 years old. I have no idea how I got that video. Maybe it came free with a subscription to the mag? Maybe I begged my parents to buy it for me? I thought the song was really cool and it stuck with me, especially the line about writing the “words and the music wrong.” And then somehow sometime much later, I re-found the song. I learned that Greg Hunt cut out, like, the first minute and a half of the song for the Transworld video. “Stab” is great because it kind of builds up out of nothing and flows this way and that while still maintaining this momentum that pulls you through. For me, the best part of the song is just how the words fit together at the beginning. It’s really just simple assonance that feels nonchalant. Everything works so together so well though it’s like if one word were changed the whole song would be off.
Hotline TNT - Cool If I Crash 7"
Hotline TNT did this east coast tour that a few of my friends booked shows for, one in DC and one in Boston. That’s how I found out about the band, I was told it was something I would like and they were right. They had just released the Cool If I Crash 7” and were, to my knowledge, coming out east for the first time. It was something that I just instantly liked. It’s simple chord changes with weird tunings and good vocal melodies. I got to see their show in New York at The Glove and they were good. Their van ended breaking down and the rest of the tour got canned, including the shows my friends who introduced me to the band had booked.
Brian Eno - "Baby's On Fire"
I associated Brian Eno with ambient music for a long time. I think that’s fair, probably even the right association. That stuff is really good. But when I got into his earlier records I was really caught off guard. Here were these records with distorted electric guitar and loud drums and stuff. It didn’t sound like big stadium '70s rock that, for the most part, doesn’t do much for me, it sounded like a band. “Baby’s On Fire” is like two chords just over and over again with a crazy guitar solo in the middle. I wanted to recreate the simplicity of this song, just use a few chords as the backdrop of vocal melodies.
Olivia Neutron John - "March"
Olivia Neutron John’s self-titled 12” was one of my favorite records of 2019. I like bass, it’s the only real instrument I play, and so I don’t only enjoy the album because it’s bass driven but it certainly helps. This is another lesson in simplicity. “March” and the album kind of answer the question how can one person make a fully realized band. It doesn’t have to be this big show, it can be something much more straightforward.
The Beatles - "No Reply"
There’s nothing interesting or unique about including the Beatles as an influence. It’s just kind of a given that they’re good and important. I remember my parents listening to early Beatles’ records when I was a kid and I think I internalized a lot of that. In analyzing my musical subconscious, I think those songs are the basis of my musical foundation. That being said, my parents weren’t Beatles aficionados — I only really remember listening to the red record with them on the stairs — so I’ve had a lot of records to go through as an adult which I’ve enjoyed. “No Reply” is the first song on Beatles For Sale. When I heard this song for the first time I just listened it on repeat for a long time. The major/minor key change between verse and chorus isn’t groundbreaking stuff but it’s just so perfectly done. I listened to this song specifically for when that moment hits, that key change. I realized that the moments in songs that are most important to me are those musical climaxes, usually some subtle musical shift like a relative key change or a hitting of a note that makes the chord sound full and new. For Glitterer, my goal is to get to those moments and then that’s it, song’s over.
Otessa Moshfegh - My Year Of Rest And Relxation
For school, I had to read an excerpt of Otessa Moshfegh’s Eileen. I thought it was good, I liked it, but I didn’t pursue it further. Shortly after that class ended, Moshfegh put out a new book, My Year Of Rest And Relaxation. I was reading an interview with her, some promotional thing, that was like “5 Books You’d Bring To A Desert Island.” I liked her responses because she said she’d bring her friends' books. She discussed Sarah Gerard’s book, who was my professor that actually assigned the Moshfegh reading in the first place, and then mentioned Mark Baumer. Baumer was a guy I knew through a messageboard, a friend of a friend I had never met in real life. He passed away in 2017 when he was walking across the country barefoot to protest climate change. He was struck by a car in Florida. Sadly for me, I’d never read Baumer’s stuff when he was alive. We had a few small exchanges about books, he was actually going to read this late era John Updike book after I posted a review of it but was out of it, but when I found my way to his work I was just dumbfounded. He was an amazing writer. I think about his personal statement to Brown often. So basically anybody that was a friend of Baumer is someone I now consider a friend. After reading that Moshfegh interview, I bought her new book because of that reason. I read My Year Of Rest And Relaxation and it was great. Dark and weird but still hopeful. I don’t take influence from prose writing for lyrics, but I do take influence from feelings and ideas that I come across in reading. And Moshfegh’s work was something that I thought was important and relevant, because it acknowledged a lot of the difficulties of living a modern life but, in my interpretation, came out the other side thinking it was still worth it.
You can check out the book here.
Update (2/26): Life Is Not A Lesson is out now. Stream it:
We also just looked back on Title Fight's 2011 album Shed in our 10-year retrospective on the new wave of post-hardcore.
25 Best Punk & Emo Albums of the 2010s
See albums 100-26 here.