|“When me and the boys in Bad Religion were teenagers coming up in the LA hardcore scene, The Last were like the big kids on the block. We looked up to them because they were already out there doing the things we hoped to do, playing the cool underground shows and parties we aspired to. They were cool and they were trailblazers.” –Brett Gurewitz, Bad Religion, 2020
Sometimes great bands have a rough go of it.
Consider THE LAST, the influential Los Angeles band who rose to the top of the city’s music scene—with bands like The Go-Go’s opening for them–and released their critically acclaimed album L.A. Explosion! in 1979 on Bomp Records. But rather than build on that momentum, which included shows with X and Black Flag, THE LAST–Joe Nolte (Guitar, Vocals), Vitus Mataré (Keyboards, Flute, Vocals), Joe’s two brothers, Mike Nolte (Harmony Vocals) and David Nolte (Bass) and John Frank (Drums)–recorded a follow-up album that was doomed and shelved by the band. Now, the never-before-released, thought-to-be-lost-to-history album, LOOK AGAIN, will finally be available 40 years after it was originally recorded. The newly remastered 14-track album will be issued November 20 via House Arrest/Fat Possum Records on CD, LP plus limited edition 7″, and all digital formats. The band has shared the album’s first single “Lies.”
Here’s the album pre-order link.
“We have for the first time unearthed the album that Look Again was meant to be,” says Joe Nolte. With their trademark organ chasing the trebly guitars, LOOK AGAIN is brimming with their dizzying brew of pop, punk, surf, garage, folk rock and psychedelia. Add in their gloriously off-kilter pop melodies/harmonies and restless lyrics about being young, vulnerable, and messed up, and you have a classic album that has been gloriously rescued by technology and tender loving care.
In 1980, THE LAST recorded the album on their own to control the process as much as possible, but what they came out of the studio with was completely sonically wrong, receiving zero offers from record companies (interestingly, the original copy of the album has been going for over $800 on Discogs). So how exactly did THE LAST bring LOOK AGAIN back to life?
As Vitus Mataré explains: “Those same master tapes have been carefully baked and transferred by John Strother at Penguin Recording in Los Angeles. Jonny Bell at Jazzcats Studio in Long Beach worked with the damaged files to restore the signals and performances that Joe and I knew were somewhere on those reels. There are no new overdubs and zero digital trickery. Guitar and organ tracks were sent to the same model amplifiers Joe and I used live back in the day and re-recorded. These are the original performances given a proper mix.”
For THE LAST, there is a happy ending with LOOK AGAIN. “We are unlikely to become Teen Idols anytime soon,” says Joe, “but we can at least vindicate our heritage somewhat.”
The track listing for the CD is below. Note: The vinyl LP contains the originally intended tracklist (1-12 below). For a limited time, there is an LP bundle (500 units) that comes with a bonus 7″ containing two non-LP tracks: “Weekend Girl” and “Fade to Black” available via The Last’s Bandcamp.
Here’s the track listing for LOOK AGAIN:
2) That’s Just Life
4) Snake In The Grass
5) Should I Say A Word
1) Everyone’s A Holiday
2) Subway Song
3) Everybody Had It With You
4) Jungle Book
5) The Other Side
6) Look Again
Bonus 7″ tracks:
A: Weekend Girl
B: Fade To Black
*Digital album includes the 2 bonus tracks featured at the end of original album sequence.