by the partae


“brief and triumphant … it’s a big, sticky, fuzzy alt-rock song with a drum-machine beat and a tough-sounding hardcore bassline.” – Stereogum on “Are You Sure?”

Russin delivers full-throated testaments to the struggles of living through each day without curling up into the fetal position on the ground. It’s stirring, and addictive, and unadorned—catchy Beatles-punk anthems at their finest.” – The A.V. Club

“This one’s a lot more atmospheric and subdued than the two previous singles, which were closer to Title Fight’s loud, driving sound, but it’s still unmistakably the work of Ned Russin and a very compelling song.” – BrooklynVegan on “Life Is Not A Lesson”

Glitterer has released its sophomore album Life Is Not A Lesson today; a collection of deceptively upbeat, synth-infused introspective rock music, listen to it HERE.

Washington, D.C. resident and northeastern Pennsylvania native Ned Russin co-fronted Title Fight for many years before the band suspended operations and Russin became Glitterer. He initially self-released two EP’s that were odd, charming, clever, eloquent, and highly proficient records, hand-made in the spartan bedroom-pop mode: some programmed drums and keyboards with an electric bass and a voice. The songs were about the trap of self-awareness and the impossible dream of self-negation; and despite their being, combined, all of about 18 minutes long, they left long-lasting impressions, stuck themselves in peoples’ heads and stayed put.

His debut album was released in the summer of 2019, a faintly remembered and much-romanticised period during which musicians were criss-crossing the world, performing live and in the flesh for crowds well in excess of five people. We all know what has happened since: across-the-board erasure of every single presupposition and condition-to-be-taken-for-granted. A sudden and comprehensive blanking of the slate. A whole new world and a whole new metaphysical terrain. And into this new context of no context comes Life Is Not A Lesson.

With roomier drums and more electric-guitars-per-square-inch than ever, Life is Not a Lesson has a way of evoking an alternate-universe version of Guided By Voices, one with a hardcore-punk background. And if there was, perhaps, an indirect or “meta” aspect to the pop appeal of Glitterer’s older records, there’s essentially none of that here: this is Glitterer’s most insistently and proudly accessible work.

Lyrically, as with the prior catalogue, many of the songs on the new record are short, dialectical considerations of the countless daily miniature panic attacks that attend the rigorously examined life. Take, as a prime example, the epistemological riddle “Are You Sure? (“Feel it in my spine / Certainty is mine / Are you sure?”), whose arrangement combines the tension-building properties of GBV’s “Hot Freaks” with the tension-resolving blast of something like “Gouge Away” (that’s the song, not the band). Life is Not a Lesson proves to be a rigorous reckoning with the life of the mind at a time when there’s not much life outside the mind.

“The major theme in Life Is Not A Lesson is desire,” Russin explains. “ “Are You Sure?” is a song about certainty. My younger self was fascinated with and comfortable in assurances. I felt very sure I had the answers to a lot of questions. What am I doing with my life? What do I like? Who am I? My current self not so much. This song addresses the desires to find these answers while admittedly contradicting itself in the face of their questions, unsure if they’re even important to answer in the first place.


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