Regional Justice Center – “KKK Tattoo”

Regional Justice Center is the fast, turbulent, hallucinatorily angry hardcore punk project led by Ian Shelton, resident of Los Angeles and sometime member of Self Defense Family. Regional Justice Center often operate as a sort of collective, but while he’s been at home under quarantine, Shelton has lately been making a whole lot of music on his own. In April, Shelton unveiled a new project, the relatively melodic Militarie Gunn, and released a demo. Last month, he teamed up with Trapped Under Ice/Angel Du$t frontman Justice Tripp for a two-song 7″; Shelton played all the instruments, while Tripp did the vocals. And today, Shelton has released a new Regional Justice ripper that feels like a major work.

On past RJC records like the 2019 EP Institution, Shelton has channeled his fury into short, fast bursts of electric rage. Regional Justice Center tend to fit within the hardcore subgenre known as powerviolence. They play fast and noisy, and they usually cap their songs around the one-minute mark. So it’s notable that “KKK Tattoo,” the new RJC single, is four minutes long. In a genre like powerviolence, that makes it a Godspeed You! Black Emperor-sized epic.

The new RJC track, released today as a standalone 7″ single, is called “KKK Tattoo.” Shelton wrote the song about his biological father, who had a tattoo of a Klansman. In a statement, he says this:

When I was 12 years old, I met my biological father for the first time. I was quick to realize he had a tattoo of a Klansman on his inner bicep. It was cartoony; a stubby little man in ill-fitting robes stumbling with nooses, scythes, and other tools of death. Over the years he was in my life, the closest thing I ever got to an answer about it was that he got it “to scare Mexicans.” I haven’t spoken with him in almost 10 years but I’ve constantly gotten stuck on how easily I could have turned out the same as him. For those of us who are white, dismantling white supremacy isn’t only an external glance; you have to acknowledge first and foremost it could be you.

The song lurches from huge, slow riffage into jackhammer attack and back again. It’s a heavy, heavy song. Listen below.

The self-released “KKK Tattoo” is out now on Closed Casket Activities. All proceeds go to the Bail Project.