Scott Longmuir, resident of the wider Edinburgh area, has already given us both three-piece Thieves In Suits, and then folk-rock group The Last Battle. The latter’s debut album Heart Of The Land, Soul Of The Sea I was privileged to put out on the label associated with this blog, 17 Seconds Records, in 2010. (My son recently pointed it out -‘That’s the album where you’re thanked, Dad!’)
That was then…and this is now. Scott’s latest musical project is Grand Champ 1990, which sees him working in more of an electronica vein under the name Grand Champ 1990. The first track to do the rounds is entitled ‘Sayonara’ (slightly ironic, as ‘Sayonara’ is Japanese for ‘Goodbye’ not ‘Hello’ but he’s actually a decent bloke, so we’ll let that pass. For now.)
This is taken from an EP, entitled Pressure Points, which will be released on September 21. Also featuring the tracks ‘A Big Love,’ ‘Photocopies,’ ‘Look For Me’ and ‘Lost Boys’ you can pre-order it here. Which would be a nice thing to do, no?
And, by the way, that is actually the man himself, back in his karate days…
It’s been a busy few days. But I’m back tonight with a free Christmas EP given away a couple of years ago by my friends The Last Battle. I never tire of going on about how great a band they are (and I will continue to do so for as long as they continue to release records, I imagine).
I genuinely hold their album Lay Your Burden Down to be one of the best albums released this year, so if you haven’t heard it, get on it!
Long time favourites The Last Battle release the latest single from their stunning sophomore album Lay your Burden Down. It’s the album’s opener ‘None Of That’ which is backed with another version and a cover of Joe Esposito’s ‘You’re The Best’ from The Karate Kid. It’s out tomorrow and you can stream the tracks above and buy it from tomorrow.
There’s also a rather fine video for the song, featuring Scott and Caroline:
The Last Battle/Penny Black/Josie Lawrence – Edinburgh Electric Circus, August 9
Stupidly, I missed the first few minutes of tonight’s gig due to the fact that I decided to DRIVE (through Edinburgh, during the festival? I must need certifying!) and my mood was not improved on arriving to discover that Josie Long had already started her set. However she’s so very funny with her observational comedy and quirky outtakes on life (if there’s any other comedian of either sex who name-check Joanna Newsom on stage can someone email me? Thanks), that even this grumpy git warmed up in no time. Yes, she does stuff about periods and yes you can see the funny side if you’re a bloke.
Penny Black are one of those Edinburgh names that I’ve heard bandied about over the last few years but never caught live. With the exception of the guitarist they all look like conscientious barstaff should be IDing them before serving them alcohol, but this four-piece sound very good indeed. At times they sound like they could be described as being blues-rock (no! WAIT!! COME BACK!!!), at other times they manage to evoke both the moody atmosphere of Mogwai and also the Frabbits/Jetpacks/Twilight Sad axis. The drummer may look like Harry Styles, but make no mistake this lass and three boys sound like they’re going places.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen The Last Battle over the last four years. With the release of their sophomore album Lay Your Burden Down earlier this year, the band have evolved fully from the fine Mark 1 Last Battle into the just as fine but very different Mark 2. While their still-special debut Heart Of The Land Soul Of The Sea was born of a lo-fi indie-folk aesthetic, their new album sees the band exploring and finding great satisfaction with more of a folk-rock feel, and one that’s entirely of their own making. (Actually, scratch that, they have evolved into a kick-arse rock band with folk undertones is what I noted down in the darkness of the gig.)You hear it in the way that older songs like ‘Ruins’ and ‘Nature’s Glorious Rage’ are fully realised in an entirely new light. ‘Lifejackets’ is still presented in a stripped down way (the very first song that lead singer Scott Longmuir ever wrote for the band, fact fans), and that’s actually appropriate.
But it’s not just about the old songs, it’s about the way that the new songs sound just as confident alongside them. Album opener ‘None Of That’ and ‘Perfecting The Art (Of Saying Nothing)’ stand particularly strong tonight. Yet it’s the set’s closer of ‘Wherever Our Feet Take Us’ that sounds like a band taking on the world. Sure I wonder how much of the lyrics are autobiographical ‘You got a tattoo/your father didn’t know…you’re just like your father/stubborn as fuck!’ in this song, and that’s probably between the self-styled Scotty Battle and his family. But if you still haven’t checked out The Last Battle on record or live, you’re doing yourself a grave disservice.
The Last Battle -‘Lay Your Burden Down.’ (Beard Of Truth)
Edinburgh’s The Last Battle, formed from the ashes of Thieves In Suits, managed the impressive feat of releasing their debut album Heart Of the Land, Soul Of The Sea a year to the day since their first gig. It was a stunning album, and the final ‘Soul Of The Sea’ remains one of the most beautiful songs ever to grace this scribe’s ears.
In the intervening years, there have been singles, EPs (check their bandcamp pageand line-up changes, but the thing that remains on their sophomore album is the vision of songwriter Scott Longmuir. The band have gigged with the likes of King Creosote, Withered Hand, Kid Canaveral, Meursault and eagleowl (if these names mean nothing to you, then for shame!). Without wishing to undersell their debut, that was a gorgeous lo-fi folk record; here they’ve worked with an outsider producer and shown that polish needn’t be a bad thing. It’s got the essence of The Last Battle but The Last Battle Version 2.0 shows that they can look to other influences without losing the sense of what it is that they are about.
Thus ‘You & Me’ shows a Vaselines’ influence, while ‘The Crunching’ shows drummer Liam O’Hare drawing on hip-hop influences. Another interim cover was Warren G’s ‘Regulate’ which they pulled off with aplomb, along with their take on Nirvana’s ‘Pennyroyal Tea.’ ‘Perfecting The Art (Of Saying Nothing’ and ‘Wherever Our Feet Take Us’ have already done the rounds as singles, and the end result is an album that is a confident leap on from their debut.
For too many years, Edinburgh has been perceived as playing second fiddle to Glasgow. No longer -and with their sophomore album, The Last Battle lead the charge. And as for a third album, in your own time, guys and girl, in your own time.
Lay Your Burden Down is out on Beard Of Truth on May 5.
It’s been a long time coming – but The Last Battle’s sophomore album Lay Your Burden Down will be released on May 5 through Beard Of Truth.
I’ll write a review next week, but for the meantime you should be aware that there are two launch gigs taking place next week.
The first takes place on May 1 at Glasgow’s THe Roxy 171 with support from solo sets from Meursault and Randolph’s Leap (I’ve championed both these acts on the blog over the years, so if you haven’t been paying attention, now is the time to put this right), The second takes place on May 2 with support from J Wright Presents and Lidh at The Liquid Rooms. It will unquestionably be awesome.
And you can stream the album in its entirety below.
The Last Battle will be releasing their long-awaited sophomore album, Lay Your Burden Down on May 5. I have heard it and it’s excellent.
The tracklisting is as follows:
1. None Of That
2. You & Me
3. Breathe Bones
4. The Crunching
5. Perfecting The Art (Of Saying Nothing)
7. Wherever Our Feet Take Us
8. Spreading Wings, Taking Flight
There are two gig launches taking place, one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh
As of today they have made ‘Breathe Bones’ available to download FOR FREE!
You can pre-order it from their bandcamp or you could ask your local Record shop to stock it… Whatever you do, buy it, and give them the same level of exposure that the likes of bands like Meursault and Withered Hand enjoy…
I posted this last year, but I figured that blog friends The Last Battle deserved another shout out.
This was their free EP that came out last Christmas featuring their very special cover of ‘Stay Another Day’ by East 17 and two of their own songs…
Now, as you’ve probably noticed, 17 Seconds Records is winding down – and The Last Battle are in the process of readying their second album to put out. Read all about their fundraising for putting their awesome sophomore album out here, go and pledge your support!
The Last Battle have done some excellent covers, so when it was announced that they were going to be doing a cover of a Scottish classic on their next single ‘Perfecting The Art (Of Saying Nothing’), which will be released on October 28, it was tempting to wind them up and ask what naff one they might be doing.
It isn’t. At all.
Instead, it’s their own take on The Vaselines’ ‘Son Of A Gun’ which as everyone knows (unless you have no interest in music of the last twenty-five years at all) was covered by Nirvana (Nirvana also covered ‘Molly’s Lips’ and ‘Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam’.
It’s really rather fine, and you can download it for free.
The Last Battle remain one of my favourite bands, and not just because I put out their debut, either!
their second album will be ready when it’s ready, but for now, check out their take on Nirvana’s ‘Pennyroyal Tea.’ Nirvana’s version originally appeared on their third and final studio album, In Utero, which as you have probably noticed, is just celebrating its twentieth anniversary.
Stream and download The Last Battle’s version below: