Thursday, May 1, 2008

Leatherface - The Last

I've posted up the link to this already, and a few people have taken advantage of it, but I thought this album should get a proper post.

Leatherface are, as I have found, a pretty popular and well-known band in the US - seemingly from doing a lot of touring with the Hot Water Music/Avail axis of hardcore punk. At the moment I'm listening to HWM's version of 'Springtime' from their Till the Wheels Fall Off compilation, and it's got a lot of the heart of the original if it does sound a good deal rougher production-wise. Ironically, as someone living in Dublin on the east coast of Ireland, I came across Leatherface - from Sunderland in northern England - via Hot Water Music from Gainesville, Florida.

If I have my Leatherface chronology right, that Hot Water Music split was the first thing the band released after breaking up with The Last. To tell the truth, I haven't listened to much post-reunion Leatherface, although Horsebox seems pretty good; it's just that their earlier albums are such a good collection that it doesn't seem like a good idea to mess with them. In a way, that's a bit like listening to Fuel for the Hate Game, Forever and Counting and No Division, over and over again (the Leatherface equivalents, in the same order, would be Mush, Minx and The Last - and Finding the Rhythms and Cherry Knowles/Fill Your Boots would be, respectively, the good but not great early albums; and Leatherface/Hot Water Music the shared additional work of greatness).

Apparently, Leatherface broke up when singer and band leader Frankie Stubbs decided that everyone else wasn't working as hard as him. Add in the departure of guitarist Dickie Hammond, without whom seven tracks under the moniker 'Pope' were recorded and then re-included as bonus tracks on the BYO reissue, and you've got a bit of J. Mascis/Lou Barlow Dinosaur Jr. situation. Personal disputes aside, Frankie Norman Warsaw Stubbs is a pretty magnetic frontman for Leatherface. Sweetbabyjaysus just did an excellent post on the amazing Daniel A.I.U. Higgs of Lungfish; basically, Frankie Stubbs performs as the most emotive singer of a hardcore band which isn't recognizably anywhere like an actual emo band. Middle initials aside, and I'm not sure if Stubbs has ever had the consistent facial hair to class him as beardcore, but he sure sounds like he fits in that definition.

I haven't got anywhere near describing The Last in itself, but I wrote something about it here and about the Leatherface sound more generally (in respect of the Leatherface/HWM split) here. If anyone might want to hear that split, holler in the comments and I can re-up it for you.

This is the tracklisting for the first session of recordings on The Last

1. Little White God

2. In My Life

3. Patrick Kills Me

4. Shipyards

5. Daylight Comes

6. Desert Island

7. Winsome, Losesome

8. Ba Ba Ba Ba Boo

Leatherface - The Last (Domino 1994/BYO 2001)

Leatherface at BYO Records

Finally, this is the back cover from the BYO album (tracks 9-16 being the bonus tracks I haven't included in the upload). Dog Disco may be pretty psychedically awful but in terms of mind-bending canine album artwork this one, as we say, takes the biscuit. There's some weird Einsteinian relativity shit going on here...


metaphasia said...

Re-posting the HWM/Leatherface split would be a sweet move!

gabbagabbahey said...

I'll get onto it...

Chris said...

Beardcore. That caused me to laugh out loud. Great blog BTW and Leatherface are truly a great band.

gabbagabbahey said...

Leatherface/Hot Water Music split:

d. said...

Excellent post, Gabba. Leatherface are an excellent punk band that always warm my heart.

Terry said...

Hey Gabba,

Thanks for posting this. It's been hard finding some of the older Leatherface. I love Mush and never tire of it. Fill Your Boots had some good stuff too. Horsebox and Dog Disco have some moments I suppose, but as is common with so many bands, somehow the urgency isn't always there with the newer stuff. I love Stubbs' voice. That and something about the music sets it far above the california melodic punk that this band probably gets lumped in with...was the emo thing around when Leatherface was putting out albums? . On the Mush era stuff Stubbs sounds so earnest and rough you'd think he was singing the that to the nasal monotone of the guy from bad religion or...i'll stop now before i get myself in trouble....anyway, I hadn't even heard of "The Last"...thanks much! by the way, does anyone know the relationship between leatherface and snuff? The winsome losesome track is definitely on a snuff or guns and wankers album, and it's their singer singing it on The Last...

gabbagabbahey said...

hey terry,

despite everyone seeming to know them, I do hear of difficulty getting their albums in the US - people sending requests to cousins in England, that sort of thing; or rather that seems to be how people heard about them in the 90s.

not sure if that was meant to be a rhetorical question, but Mush was first released in 1991; so, same time as the first few Fugazi albums... but I think Leatherface is a case of parallel evolution rather than direct influence. They're a fair bit older than HWM, anyway.

oh god, is Stubb's voice fantastic... I won't deny it's so much better than Greg Graffin's, or Tim Armstrong? :) Definitely a kind of bluesy feel to it.

Have you heard the BYO Leatherface/Hot Water Music split? The download link is there, as well as my original post from a while back. The only thing that rivals Mush and this record, in my opinion.

And finally, re: Snuff, I don't know either. I've never really listened to them... are you sure it's their singer on The Last, and not just Stubbs in an extra gruff voice? I'll listen to it again now. But I just noticed on the cover there that the writing credits for Winsome, Losesome include 'Crighton' which I think is Andy Crighton, who is also was the Leatherface bassist... I also think they were labelmates on Roughneck or Fire; and they're both English!

Terry said...

Hi again, Gabba,

I really don't think it's Stubbs at all signing winsome lose some, and i've definitely got this song somewhere as snuff and i'm pretty sure it's the same guy singing. Yeah, it looks like Andy Crighton was in both bands....and i believe the song "Andy" on the split is about him. I have heard the split and I like it-both bands.

I think Snuff is great. A lot of their songs are misses (and at times entire albums) but some stuff are great diamonds in the rough, and like Leatherface there is something a bit special in there, kind of a sad/happy energy thing that comes out, which is something i've only really found in Leatherface, Snuff, and SNFU. Also worth checking out is Guns n' Wankers which is, for all intents and purposes, Snuff. I can send you the snuff, guns n wankers & snfu if any of it interests you.

gabbagabbahey said...

hey, I just downloaded the Snuff Six to One, Half a Dozen to the Other greatest hits, and it's pretty great!

I guess you're right about that not being Stubbs sing W,L on Last, but I don't think it's the same guy singing it on the Snuff greatest hits either. Maybe it's Andy Crighton singing here? (the back of the CD doesn't list any other vocalists or performers).

I've never really know where to start with Snuff, album-wise, so maybe if you could point me in the right direction? As I'm listening now, I'm really getting that happy/sad Leatherface-esque energy you mention - reminds me a lot of Lance Hahn, too...

Terry said...

Hi Gabba,

I think it's the singer of Snuff & Guns n Wankers (I believe his name is Duncan) singing that track.

I hadn't heard the greatest hits...could be good.

To me, Snuff is divided into their older sound that a lot of their fans seem to love "Reach" and "Snuff Said" being the popular ones. "Flibbidydibbidydob" and "potatoes and melons wholesale" are okay, but I think it's all pretty rough sounding... definitely a prototype for their later sound which took them from being punk sounding, to glossier pop-punk with er...trombones. I like this later sound and I think my favourite albums are Demmamussabebonk and Tweet Tweet My Lovely which are worth getting in addition to the greatest hits (which I'd like to get) as they are strong albums right through. I thought Numb Nuts was awful. The band Guns n' Wankers which is the Snuff singer and snuff sound (no horns) is worth picking up. I haven't heard "Disposable Income" yet.

I've never heard Lance Hahn so I'll have to seek that out as well.

gabbagabbahey said...

Snuff - greatest hits

Lance Hahn/J Church - singles collection Nostalgic for Nothing over at Burning Down Dreams:

that latter one has got some of the best Leatherface/Hot Water Music/Snuff like pop-punk/post-hardcore songs I've ever heard.

Terry said...

Thanks Gabba, mighty conscientious!

I'll create myself a mediafire account and send some stuff your way.


Anonymous said...

The Snuff greatest hits file is password protected. Would be you kind enough to post the password here?


gabbagabbahey said...

sorry, should have put the link in;; password should be ''

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