Some time ago I was sitting on a bus with a token playlist of songs that had influenced my life in some way or another. Being somewhat refreshed, I started thinking of all the times that these songs had become significant and thought, wouldn’t it be an excellent idea to delve into other people’s ‘Life Record Boxes’. Luckily people have been wonderful and we have an incredible series continuing.
Today is the turn of Scott Longmuir from The Last Battle. You can find more about their music here: www.lastbattle.co.uk
Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back In Town
Whenever my parents went on long car journey’s to visit relatives, my Dad would hit us with Phil Lynott and the boys. I’d be in the back throwing up. Not because of the guitar solo’s, just because I’d eaten too many egg sandwiches. This song was always my favourite. I can still see my Dad bombing from Edinburgh to Laurencekirk, leather driving gloves on, mirror tinted aviators and a fag hanging out of his mouth.
Jackson 5 – I Want You Back
I was a huge Michael Jackson fan when I was little. I was about 9 years old when I won a trolley dash competition in the local HMV to grab as much jacko shit as possible in like 3 minutes. I think I destroyed half the store in the process. For some reason I came out with a lot of cassettes but no CD’s. Most of them were Jackson 5 stuff. ‘I Want You Back’ is a pop classic. It’s upbeat, but at the centre of it is this real heartbreak, and what a voice for a wee kid! It’s ridiculous! Michael Jackson on The Dangerous Tour was the first ever gig I went to. It blew my tiny mind.
Oasis – Columbia (white label demo)
I get a ribbing now from various friends in bands about my fondness for Oasis when I was younger, but I cannot run away from the fact that when I first heard them, specifically this song, like countless others (here comes a cliché) it made me pick up a guitar and try and write my own songs. It was direct and simple, and my own form of punk in a way. It was also responsible for opening me up to other music I hadn’t heard at the time like Neil Young, T Rex, Bob Dylan, Sex Pistols, Jesus & Mary Chain and Teenage Fanclub. I really hated what Oasis stood for after a couple of albums, what they became, and all the dick heads that they attracted after Wonderwall, which I still think is an awful song, but for a short time, before the tabloid soap opera’s, before anyone deemed them arrogant yobs, they were just a simple indie band, and the first one I got into who actually turned me onto loads of different artists.
Idlewild – I Am A Message
Whilst at Art college I joined a jangly indie group who rehearsed every Sunday night after this ridiculously noisy, fuzz laden band.
After months of wondering who they were and some of us unashamedly bitching about how bad we thought they sounded, we eventually discovered that these unassuming chaps who shuffled out of the practise room every Sunday night, heads down, were called Idlewild.
A year later they were signed to a major and their debut album ‘Hope Is Important’ became my everything. It was – and still is – a landmark album in my life. ‘I Am A Message’ reminds me of great, care free times, and how fucking stupid and ignorant I could be when I was younger.
Spiritualized – Broken Heart
I was head over heels in love with someone in my late teens. We both felt the same way about each other, but she couldn’t be me with as her parents had deemed me highly inappropriate, and they did everything in their power to stop it. I’m not sure this was the best song to listen to at the time, but it encapsulated how I felt, and it also kick started my love for strings in songs.
Teenage Fanclub – ‘Neil Jung’
I discovered ‘Grand Prix’ a few years after it came out as I was caught up in a britpop tidal wave in 1995 when it was released. Around this point I’d started discovering more Scottish bands. ‘Neil Jung’ struck a chord for me, particularly the line ‘You had a girlfriend who wasn’t good enough for you.’ I’d very selfishly and abruptly ended a 3 year relationship with my girlfriend for someone else, and that line screamed at me ‘YOU’VE BEHAVED LIKE A DICK HEAD’, which I had.
Meursault – ‘A Small Stretch Of Land’
I worked with Neil for a few years at the wonderfully named Burger Parade. We were both at college at the time. I left Burger Parade just as he was starting to gig Meursault as a two-piece. Years later I stumbled back in touch with him again and he gave me ‘Pissing On Bonfires, Kissing With Tongues.’ He told me that the second verse of ‘A Small Stretch Of Land’ was about the tumultuous relationship between myself and my Ex Girlfriend. I remember being quite touched, and even more so when it turned out to be such a great piece of music. A rather awkward moment arose years later when I mentioned to one of the guys in Meursault the story behind the second verse, and a look of absolute astoundment crossed their face: “He said that was about me!!”
Neil Young – Cortez The Killer
Without a doubt my favourite Neil Young song. The first time I ever heard it was about 12 years ago in a bar on Rose Street when Neil from Meursault did a cover of it. At the time I actually thought it was one of his! Afterwards he corrected me and I sought it out. I just love how long it goes on for, especially the intro, and the guitars! Don’t get me started on the guitars! Not so long ago, my girlfriend acquired ‘Zuma’ on vinyl from her Dad’s collection after he passed away. He was big a Neil Young fan and she got left some of his vinyl, which one day we plan on passing down to our kids.
Bright Eyes – First Day Of My Life
I was properly introduced to Bright Eyes when I met my girlfriend Ella. This song, and the whole album was barely off the stereo during that first year of getting to know each other. ‘I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning’ came full circle a few years later, when we had it playing at the birth of our first son. I believe this song was playing when he finally popped out.
Los Campesinos! – You! Me! Dancing!
I lived in London for a while with Ella, and we’d constantly go to gigs, almost every single night of the week. We had no responsibilities and an almost disposable income, so we just immersed ourselves in everything around us. ‘You! Me! Dancing!’ soundtracked it all. This song summed us up. I can’t actually dance a single step to save my life, so the lyrics resounded with me too. The last line of the song encapsulates us both at that time “We’re young, we’re stupid, but we’re happy.”
Monty Python – Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life
Ella’s Father passed away in 2012. He was such a lovely man, and also had the biggest vinyl collection I’d ever seen, which he left to his daughters. He encouraged and supported what I was doing with The Last Battle. He helped us out a lot. He was always asking to hear our new songs right up until his death.
His funeral was like no other I’ve ever seen: No one was to wear any black sombre colours, and there was to be lots of music played throughout. It was a celebration. His was taken in this bright colourful coffin and driven to the crematorium in a white VW Campervan with ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’ blasting out. I’ll never forget that day or him.
Matson Jones – New York City Can Fuck Off
This song was one of the reasons me and Paul started The Last Battle. We’d been in guitar bands together since we were teenagers, and here were Matson Jones from New York doing the band thing minus guitars but with Cello’s and making it totally work. They were why we had to have a Cellist in our band. They made Cello’s look awesome. Our band used to play this song to death: on the way to gigs, at parties, you name it.
Electrelane – The Greater Times
Electrelane were so under appreciated at the time, and one my favourite all-female bands ever. They went on an indefinite hiatus in 2007 before I ever got to see them. The ‘Greater Times’ is the opening song on their fourth album ‘No Shouts, No Calls’ so it was the first thing I heard by them, before discovering their back catalogue. I recently discovered a full concert of theirs on youtube – it was so fucking good. The world is an upside down place when a band like Haim are successful, but a wildly better band like Electrelane go relatively unknown.
Idlewild – The Bronze Medal
Ok I’m having two Idlewild songs. This is the closing song on ‘100 Broken Windows’ their 2nd album, which was such a massive step up from their debut. This was a different side to them that I really liked, and I love how the guitar sounds in it. It used to crack me up how Roddy Woomble would sing ‘Fire Place’ too. When the album came out I bought it on vinyl and went to a signing of theirs at hmv. In my bumbling teenage self I very uncooly told them about how my old band used to rehearse after them before they were signed. Bless them – they pretended to be interested, but in actual fact were probably too hungover to care or remember!