Back in 2018, multi-instrumentalist Ian Shelton was moved by the incarceration of his younger brother to form a band that would exist as an expression of frustration with the American justice system, the prison-for-profit model, the achingly slow bureaucracy surrounding it and the bow of corruption on top. Regional Justice Center was also a project designed to keep creative and familial ties alive with his locked down brother (*please read the original story/bio below*). RJC’s debut album, World of Inconvenience, was spat out as a speedy hardcore/powerviolence protest record which, unsurprisingly given its compelling back story and counterculture’s ‘love and respect’ – c’mon people, sarcasm – for all forms of authority, gained quick traction. Soon, Shelton, a veteran of outfits like Seattle’s New Gods and Drug Culture, found himself in more familiar territory, putting together a band and touring North America and Europe in support of the release.
It was somewhere along the countless tour miles travelled that Shelton met Trevor Vaughan. The Massachusetts-based Vaughan, also known for his work in The Rival Mob, Breathing Fire, Wolf Whistle, Clear and many more, was a fellow multi-instrumentalist who started Wound Man as a one-man project in 2013. He brought in Justin DeTore for drum duties and together the two amassed an impressive discography over the years.
At some point after their paths crossing, the former one-man-projects decided to join forces for a split 7”, the result of which we’re streaming two tracks from this morning. Shelton, via RJC, offers three songs, one of which features lyrics written by his still-incarcerated brother. The collaborative nature of the record is demonstrated by Vaughan’s vocal guest spot on two RJC tracks, Shelton using riff contributions from James Trejo of City Hunter and Cadaver Dog, the RJC track “To Cope” is actually a cover of Shelton’s old band, Drug Culture that he reworked when he realized how well it fit with the theme and Wound Man’s “Bone” is about taking a more naturalistic approach to consumption inspired by Trevor’s work on an organic farm that’s owned by Brian Simmons of Atomic Action! Records, the label issuing the release!
The release date is officially April 19th, but you can check some of it out here and if you dig, the pre-order link is below.
Preorder Wound Man / Regional Justice Center split:
*Regional Justice Center World of Inconvenience LP bio:
Regional Justice Center is the brainchild of Ian Shelton, but the band’s origins truly lie with Ian’s little brother, Max. In August of 2016, Max was sent to Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, Washington to start what would become a year and a half long sentencing process. As Ian puts it, “He was 18 years old, got caught up in small town drug politics, was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and got himself into a violent situation.” This event would not only change Max’s life, but the lives of his entire family as well.
Ian would frequently visit Max as he awaited sentencing at Maleng, and soon he started to notice patterns of exploitation and apathy. Whether it was in interacting with callous corrections officers and inadequate public defenders, paying $15 for every call to Max (to a phone company in a profit sharing model with the sheriff and prison), or even watching as small town bureaucracy, senseless legal technicalities, and botched witness testimony all led to the state making a harsh example out of his brother—Ian found himself more and more frustrated and disenfranchised with the entire prison system. Ian says, “Prisoner advocacy is pretty voiceless because it’s advocating for people that no one wants to think about anymore, but those people still have rights. And more often than not their families are the ones getting fucked by the system. There are a lot of people involved who are very vulnerable to being taken advantage of.”
On the drives to and from Seattle to Kent, Ian started to form the basis a band that could not only serve as an outlet for his anger over his brother’s situation, but also provide a means of still having Max involved with his music. Regional Justice Center began to take shape. A multi-instrumentalist, Ian played drums, bass, guitar, and provided vocals on the band’s demo. Soon after, Ian began taking RJC’s visceral amalgam of explosive powerviolence speed and crushing hardcore stomp on the road, enlisting a revolving door of talented friends from the Northwest hardcore scene to fill out the lineup and help him realize RJC in the live setting. All the while he kept visiting Max, and Maleng remained a constant source of rage.
As Ian started work on what would become World of Inconvenience, he decided he wanted to take Max’s involvement to a more literal level. He began recording conversations with Max, short snapshots of his brother’s life in Maleng that would become interludes on the record. Shortly before the album’s completion Max would be sentenced to 72 months of incarceration and World of Inconvenience would become more than just another hardcore record, it would be a document of Max’s life course being altered forever. As Ian puts it, “We have the same upbringing but ended up in totally different situations. This world just isn’t set up to allow you to get out of your own way, even when you think you’re free you’re still trapped inside these systems.” The resulting album is a punishing twelve minutes of vicious riffs, feedback squalls, and Ian’s guttural roar lashing out at those unquestioned systems—all with Max’s voice as a haunting presence throughout. World of Inconvenience is an album of true pain and aggression, but at its core there are two siblings, and as Ian says, “I wish it was under different circumstances but I’m proud to finally be on a record with my brother.”