The Last Days of Last Days

Wishing for the days, When I first wore this suit…

Five years is a pretty long time for a disposable guy writing in a disposable medium. How did I make it this far? It’s probably due to all of the friends I made, cool discussions I had and neat new shit I was hearing. Kept me going. And I don’t think I ran out of steam. If you look at the last six months, I’ve been pretty prolific. Nope, I just ran out of time.

Plus, let’s face it. Eventually I would start running out of steam and the site would start to decline. I would rather bow out on the top of my game. To put it another way, I think I have passed the Damaged – My War – Slip It In stage. I wanna exit before I am in the Who’s Got the 10 1/2? Stage. Definitely don’t wanna become Tom Troccolis Dog.

If there is one thing I have learned in this brutal life punctuated by moments of musical transcendence, its live fast, die young. Maybe not me personally but certainly Last Days. Of course in blog years Last Days is pretty damn old. So I just contradicted myself. It’s writing like this dear readers, that you are going to miss.

Speaking of readers, I can’t really thank you peeps enough. I’m on Facebook…friend me, will ya? I would also love to pick up writing gigs on the fly (other blogs, magazines, greeting cards, ransom notes). I would also love to continue putting together the Last Days podcasts. Probably should talk to my old buddy Kopper about that. You can always reach me at as well.

I’ll be keeping the site live for the foreseeable future. I may however, start removing music files when the bill comes due next year. So if you want anything on here, now is the time. The articles, posts, commentary, pictures will all stay up as an online archive for as long as the Dark Lords of the Interwebs allow.

It’s been an amazing run…

Joe Stumble

Posted in Uncategorized | 36 Comments

Real Enemy – Live with the Enemy (Cleveland 1983)

A food store somewhere in the endless endlessness of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

There probably hasn’t been a cooler discovery for me personally on Last Days than finding out about the existence of Real Enemy, a hardcore band from Pittsburgh, PA with future Gearhead Mike LaVella on vocals. Sure, there was the Didjits demo, and definitely the Novak material and Cipher but Real Enemy stuck a definite chord for me. Being from the Midwestern part of the US myself, I saw a little bit of my old scene in Real Enemy, a band that had they existed in Los Angeles or DC back in the heyday of hardcore (and we all know what those dates were), would have been HUGE.

Real Enemy prove the fact that what you heard as hardcore wasn’t all that was happening. That there were hundreds of really good bands you hadn’t heard. It wasn’t because they only released a limited edition 7inch of 100 and the guitar player’s estranged girlfriend destroyed all but two copies. It was because they didn’t release anything at all.

What people like Steven Blush (and Joe Stumble) are doing is not really teaching you the history of hardcore but instead they are telling you their history of hardcore. The real history of hardcore is in the experiences and memories of everyone who participated in it. Real Enemy is a classic example of that.

Did JFA play with every single band of the 1980s?
Posted in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, hardcore | 2 Comments

LDoMoE Podcast #26 – 17/03/2012 Stumblemix

Shit this is a great podcast. The theme of this podcast is definitely ROCK. I don’t know if there is something in the air or what but a lot of the stuff I have been sent lately just flat-out ROCKS and I am all the happier for it. The first set of this podcast has a decidedly garage rock feel to it, starting off with the sassy sounds of Sassy!!, Lynda Mandolyn of Inside Out, Fabulous Disaster, Lickitty Clit, Loomer, Piston, and other shit I can’t recall is behind Sassy!! and it flows perfectly into the even better Two Tears who manage to remind me of classic garage punk and art-punk simultaneously. Something few bands are able to do.

This is followed by the great Texas band The Lash Outs with a song off of their great new upcoming album. Then I mixed in a little sugar with the bitters by way of the San Francisco band the Wrong Words. This is followed by the amazing new garage rock duo White Mystery from Chicago, IL. Have you heard White Mystery? You really should. Then you should listen to The Hussy from Wisconsin. Cos they are equally as awesome and have a new album out.

As I am want to do sometimes, I switch gears after the first set of garage rockin’ ramalama and kick off the next set with some art-punk by way of Hunters. I follow that with the melancholy sounds of Ugly Winner. Then maybe some old school Teen Beat style avant pop by way of The Dogs. This is followed by the sadly defunct Kiwi band The Postures with the great drone Bushwalker.

Billy Saw A Pear. Did you know that? And the guys in Bug Chaser outta Saint Louis, MO documented it for posterity. The craziest thing is after he got finished eating that pear he got a drunken phone call from The Hal Dolls outta Louisville Kentucky who told them all about their great new album on Noise Pollution. The Disappears were Not Nothing impressed with this information and chimed in by sending over Trent Fox and the Tenants who do not Mess Around.

John Blaze was not impressed with all these goings ons and decided to retire to the living room where he composed Pretty Redhead on his piano and then he hopped in his car and headed down to Athens, OH to see Wheels on Fire play their great song Black Wave. Unfortunately on his way there he got stuck behind a bunch of Slow Trucks and was drained dry upon arrival. That’s cool though because while sitting in a bar on Court Street, a pretty redhead walked in and the circle was completed.

Nothing will stop this narrative nonsense quicker than a couple of hardcore songs and Birth AD and A.N.S. have provided them. Straighten up and get your shit together yo! OK, Stirling Says I don’t need to do that just yet. Let’s listen to some hazier guitar post-HC instead. I don’t know if you remember my old friend Boris but she has changed since last time I saw her. I remember years ago when I met him he was probably the gnarliest of the drone doom metal bands. Now they seem to be doing some pretty ethereal stuff? Looks like they are releasing two new albums in May. So buckle yourselves in for that. By the way, has there ever been a more beautiful woman in the entire history of metal than Wata, the guitar player in Boris? I think not.

I follow the brilliance of Boris with the post-punk stylings of We Are Hex. The podcast ends with I Thought You Were Someone I Knew by Jail Weddings which is either gonna annoy the shit out of you or you are gonna like it. Don’t worry, I can’t decide either. It’s OK though, we’ll always have our time in Athens to remember…..

LDoMoE Podcast #26 – 17/03/2012 Stumblemix

Sassy!!! Wild Summer
Two Tears Eat People
The Lash Outs Life In Bed
The Wrong Words Summer’s Gone
White Mystery Power Glove
The Hussy Baby Child

Hunters Deadbeat
Ugly Winner Other Things
The Dogs A Decent Warning
The Postures Bushwalker
Bug Chaser Billy saw a pear
Hal Dolls Drunk Phone Blues
Disappears Not Nothing
Trent Fox & The Tenants Mess Around

John Blaze Pretty Redhead
Wheels On Fire Black Wave
Slow Trucks Drained Dry
Birth AD Failed State
A.N.S. The Quest Lives On
Stirling Says Tatianna
Boris Hope
We Are Hex We Are The Goer
Jail Weddings I Thought You Were Someone I Knew

Posted in podcasts | 6 Comments

Bernthøler – Japanese Garden

Bernthøler – Japanese Garden // The Other (Putovski Records) 1982. Bernthøler is definitely not something I would have liked when I was a kid. I would have thought they were boring. Luckily I didn’t hear them back then. Recently I bought a compilation of all of their music entitled Merry Lines in the Sky on emusic and discovered them for the first time. Their most famous song is a track called My Suitor and is very European in the sense that it has no real connection to any US rock-n-roll tradition. The band were from Belgium and were named after a Virna Lindt song so this is no real surprise. My Suitor and the the next track on the record, Pardon Up Here is just singer Drita Kotaji and a Cello. Pardon Up Here is even better. Completely amazing pair of songs. The rest of the record is the same style but with additional instrumentation. Sort of a chamber new wave pop band that you could envision playing in cafes and tube stations. The Japanese Garden single is Bernthøler’s first single and establishes their sound quite well. Both sides of the single sound mysterious with Japanese Garden being a more surreal and lush mystery and The Other incorporating some Spy-Music elements. I think liking Bernthøler is somewhat reliant on how much one likes Drita’s strongly Albanian accented vocals. I think they are just perfect and complement the enclosed European sounds of Bernthøler perfectly. Perfect 3 AM music. With a cigarette and a glass of wine.

Posted in Belgium, New Wave | 3 Comments

The Hated – The Best Pice of Shit

The Hated – The Best Pice of Shit (Self Released Demo Cassette) 1985. Buckle yourselves in because what you are about to listen to here is both one of the most obscure and also possibly the greatest Emo release of them all. What? Yes, I said, “Emo”. Wait, sit down…don’t walk away. C’mon, give it a shot. Look, I understand that Emo as we know it may be the most heinous crime ever committed to punk rock, well besides the American Idiot Broadway Show, that is. But in its earliest inception there were some great bands like Swiz, Dag Nasty, Rites of Spring, Moss Icon, Ignition, Ruin, Marginal Man, Gray Matter and a little band you might have heard of called Fugazi? OK cool, so I have your attention again. Good. Well, The Hated were also an early Emo band. In fact, they were one of the very earliest, having formed in 1985 in Annapolis, Maryland. They had loose connections to the DC scene but were relatively separate from the whole Revolution Summer thingamabob. They started off as a hardcore band but very rapidly started getting all mushy and introspective as Emo bands were want to do. This demo is their first official recording besides some tracks on a local tape compilation and it captures the band at the moment they were transforming from Hardcore to Emo. The songs are generally all hyper-fast but also very melodic. In some ways it reminds me of what Soul Asylum were doing on their classic Made To Be Broken LP and that is a helluva comparison considering that said Soul Asylum album was one of the high points of the 80s. After this, The Hated released a 7inch which was weakly produced and then released another great demo tape with superior and rawer versions of the same songs. The releases are both called No More We Cry. How fuckin’ EMO is that? The demo version is the way to go there. It’s really good and makes a great companion to this demo. Anything after the second demo goes from being Emo-good to being Emo-bad real quick. And the last thing the world needs right now is more bad Emo. But this first demo? It is pretty amazing stuff and highly recommended for anyone who has an interest in what was happening right after hardcore.

Emo Kids have been known to shit themselves at the mere sight of this flyer.
Posted in DC, hardcore | 9 Comments

Steve Miro and the Eyes – Up and About / Smiling in Reverse

Steve Miro and The Eyes – Up and About // Smiling in Reverse (Object Music) 1978. Hot on the heels of The Yachts, Steve Miro was one of the founders of Object Records, a very cool Manchester independent label that released some very cool stuff in the late 1970s / early 1980s. The most well-known band on the label were the almost unclassifiable and gender-bending Spherical Objects, whose founder Steve Scrivener (Solomar) was another co-founder of Object Music and had played in early punk bands with Mr Miro who also recorded an experimental album as the Noyes Brothers with Scrivener. Confused yet? How about this…Topping this all off, Steve Miro was also a key driver of the Manchester Music Collective. OK, that’s enough background. How about the tunes? This early single by Steve Miro and his backing band The Eyes, showcases his style quite well, which musically is very similar to The Yachts with its farfisa driven garage rock. However, where Yachts singer John (J.J.) Campbel traded in ironically detached witticisms, Miro prefers a more honest while abstract approach to lyrics. Although sounding nothing like Graham Parker vocally, his music often reminds me of Parker. The lyrics have that same mature bite to them. Also like Graham Parker, Steve Miro was quite prolific, releasing three records and a string of singles during his short career. Unlike Graham Parker, few (outside of Manchester) have even heard of Steve Miro and that’s a shame because there is a lot of great stuff on his albums. If you like this single, may I suggest hunting down his first album Rude Intrusions. You won’t be disappointed.

Posted in New Wave, UK | Leave a comment

Yachts – Look Back in Love (Not in Anger)

Yachts – Look Back in Love (Not in Anger) // I Can’t Stay Long (Radar Records) 1978. Ah, The Yachts. One of those dapper British bands of the late 1970′s that gets overlooked a lot nowadays. Which is kind of sad really when you consider that both Yachts albums, 1979′s S.O.S. and 1980′s Without Radar are great. S.O.S. in fact, is a bonafide new wave classic and both songs from this 7inch are from that album. Probably the most famous song by the Yachts is Suffice To Say from 1977, which I believe was a minor hit for the band in the UK and later appeared on the Stiff Box Set, where I was introduced to the band. Suffice to Say sets the template for the band, at least on their first album. It is a farfisa driven tune with incredibly self-important and sarcastic lyrics delivered in the most wry way imaginable by singer John (J.J.) Campbel. Later songs seemed to follow that format with Look Back in Love (Not in Anger) being a really good example. By their second album The Yachts had started to expand their sound but in the process became a bit more generic. The first one is really the one to own as this 7inch will indicate. It’s all very humorous and tongue in cheek. The Yachts were similar to The Monochrome Set, although they never scaled that bands’ epic heights.

Posted in New Wave, UK | 3 Comments

Sacred Order – Crankin’ On A Straight Edge

Sacred Order – Crankin’ On A Straight Edge (Beer Hill) 1982. Another great hardcore band from the Mid-West that came up when I did my podcasts; Hardcore Podcast # 3 to be exact. Sacred Order, were one of those bands that were on a lot of comps but never released anything on their own (not true! they had a record on Mystic!). All of the tracks on this tape are pretty awesome with the exception of Icky Bitch which is one of those stupid misogynist hardcore rants. Not that I am trying to be the PC Police or anything, I just think the song is kinda dumb. Bongs on the other hand, about a guy thinking about getting stoned and fucking and then deciding “maybe later”, is probably almost as misogynist but is really brilliant. Sacred Order was one of those bands that Maximum Rock-n-Roll decried as being unacceptable for us hardcore kids to listen to. In issue number 3, Tim Yohannon reviewed this very tape as “sexist, homophobic macho goon-squad bullshit better left to the rockers and metal crowd”. Man, that stuff with MRR used to drive me crazy and I think today really reveals the fact that MRR had a clear agenda for hardcore and if you didn’t fit it, you were gonna get ostracized. The funny thing is, how many hardcore kids actually started flirting with right wing ideologies because MRR were such douchebags about this sort of thing? Could MRR have been one of the forces that pushed hardcore to the right in the 1980s? Anyway, enough of that. Enjoy some Sacred Order. We’ve all got a right after all, to be poor and radical…

Posted in Wisconsin, hardcore | 11 Comments

The Comix – Touche Pas Mon Sexe

Comix – Touche Pas Mon Sexe // Top Model (Virgin Records) 1982. A great slice of syrupy French synth goodness. Touche Pas Mon Sexe was on the classic BIPPP Compilation that I raved about back in March of 2008. All of the touchstones of good French synth-pop are on display in this track; the crisp and minimal synth lines, the driving beat, the overt sexuality of the title (as well as the squealing and giggling at the end) and the kitschy vocals. It is really a classic of its kind, up there with Roman/Photo by Ruth or the first Taxi Girl EP. The B-Side Top Model, unfortunately does not live up to the A-Side but it is still pretty entertaining. It is more nuanced and less catchy, the beat isn’t as pronounced and driving. French bands like The Comix were at their best when they kept it really minimal and poppy. The Comix went on to fill up a whole album with minimal, poppy synth tunes before calling it a day. They were definitely not a band you want to listen to if you want angst. Instead, like Eli and Jacno, their minimalism and melodicism were disposable. This becomes their strength. All great pop-art is both disposable and transcendent.

Posted in France, New Wave, Synth | Leave a comment

Plasticland – Euphoric Trapdoor Shoes

Plasticland -Euphoric Trapdoor Shoes // Rat-Tail Comb (Scadilac) 1983. Chris over at the great Psychedelicatessenn said it best when he mentioned that the A-Side (or is it the B-Side?) of this single is “like a commercial for shoes that will BLOW YOUR MIND”. He’s right too. There are many different types of shoes for many different types of situations but Euphoric Trapdoor Shoes are some genuine good news or at least that is the pitch vocalist/guitarist/organist/lyricist Glenn Rehse is throwing at you. And like a lot of Plasticland songs, Euphoric Trapdoor Shoes presents you with a pop-art product that is guaranteed to open your mind up to new dimensions of lysergic experience and sound. Try getting that from a pair of Sperry’s. Doc Martens just agitate. Now once you have sufficiently accomplished nirvana in your new shoes, flip this little platter over and count every strand of hair on your head with your Rat-Tail Comb; an equally amazing song by an amazing band that sadly got absolutely nowheresville in the 1980s. Now, I’ll be a poseur and admit that I first heard them on the great Enigma Variations comp released back in 1985 and due to the picture of the band and the lysergic sounds contained within the grooves, I assumed that the band were part of the LA Paisley Underground scene that was winding down in LA with bands like The Bangles, The Rain Parade and The Three O’Clock. I was wrong. Plasticland were from Wisconsin. Milwaukee, to be exact. In fact, their origins dated all the way back to 1980, including a brief moment when Brian Ritchie of the Violent Femmes was in the band. So they were not latecomers in any sense but instead they were geographically disadvantaged. Plasticland really hit their stride in 1983 with this single and two subsequent full-length releases that capture the essence of the Paisley Underground moment better than just about anything else I can think of. Plasticland added an element of punk rock attitude to their psychedelia by way of both Rehse’s snyde vocal delivery and the great compressed yet distorted guitar sound they managed to get on their releases. So yeah, the greatest Paisley Underground band of the 1980′s was not from California but instead Wisconsin. Consider your mind blown twice.

Posted in Midwest, Wisconsin | 8 Comments