In Rotation: Last False Hope: "Dig Nails Deep"

Phil Collins - November 7, 2013

Dig Nails Deep

Last False Hope's debut full-length album has to be one of the most hotly anticipated releases in Chicago punk this year. The crusty folk punks have been on the scene since 2010 but the band's members have been in the music world for much longer. Together as Last False Hope, they have blazed a quick path to high profile shows and collaborations with esteemed colleagues in the punk world. Scott "Stza" Sturgeon (Choking Victim/Leftover Crack/Star Fucking Hipsters) performed on "Drag Me to Hell," a standout track on Last False Hope's first EP, "The Shape of Bluegrass to Come." Now, on their debut full-length, "Dig Nails Deep," Jorge Herrera (The Casualties) performs on "Tear It Out" and Shooter Jennings performs on "My Marybeth" and "Methlehem" (in addition to producing the album). I saw Last False Hope in their early days opening for Star Fucking Hipsters at Reggies. In September, they played a set at Riot Fest in Humboldt Park.

Their sound has been immediate and energizing since their formation. The 10 songs on "Dig Nails Deep" build on that sense of urgency. The band continues to explore the deep possibilities afforded to them by a lineup of talented musicians handling an arsenal of instruments that gets them tossed into several genres. The group consists of Jahshie P on vocals and mandolin, Shawn Connors on guitar and vocals, Dave Wiegers on guitar and vocals, Colleen Mary on violin, Ian Watson on stand up bass, Stevie Lee on drums and Brendan Franklin on the lap steel guitar. This set of songs exhibits an expanding texture of the auditory fabric. "Goddamn You," "Methlehem" and "Guilty, Until Proven Innocent" all progress into fierce breakdowns. This is an album full of tunes that will get the kids in the crowd slamming in the pit. It is a thrill to hear Jorge Herrera of The Casualties trade vocals with Jahshie P on "Tear It Out." It would be great to see an on stage collaboration when these bands play a show together later this month at Reggies.

After listening to this album several times, the guitar work really stands out. Acoustic guitar solos pop up a few times on "Dig Nails Deep," whereas they were not really a thing on "The State of Bluegrass to Come." This is a tangible example of the evolution of the band's sound through the last few years. "Methlehem," the album's seven-and-a-half minute closer, builds a winding structure, takes it down into a bouncing dialtone-like beat and then thrashes everything left standing. Last False Hope is only going to keep getting bigger with songs like this.

"Dig Nails Deep" is out on November 19. Preorder the album from Solitary Records now. Last False Hope plays their album release party on November 16 at Reggies Rock Club with The Unseen, Brickwall Vultures and When Flying Feels Like Falling. They play at Reggies Rock Club again on November 27 with The Casualties, Negative Approach and Wartorn. Check out their video for "Drinking You Goodbye" below.